Digital Content in Africa: MTN Play Côte d’Ivoire is looking for digital content that will play well on mobile phones

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Since July 2013, MTN has been getting its feet wet with content by piloting a VoD services offer - MTN Play - in Cote d’Ivoire. Balancing Act’s associate editor Sylvain Béletre talked to Laurent Duprey, Head of Product & Services Department and Boubakar Sorgho, Manager Consumer Project, at MTN Côte d’Ivoire.

At the end of 2013, Balancing Act launched a market report reviewing all VoD platforms related to Africa (report updated since). MTN Play in Ivory Coast was one of the 52 platforms we listed. Nine out of the 52 are set up by telcos. For African Telecoms service providers, there are at least 10 drivers and benefits for launching VoD as a value-added service and plenty of case studies showing that VoD generates revenues and attracts subscribers, reduces churn rates.

MTN has been clever in its recent strategy, signing deals for content such as videos and music with various content providers. The company also signed with mobile content platform Afrinolly. Afrinolly is a mobile phone app that enables African movies and Entertainment enthusiasts to watch movies, music videos and comedy. Afrinolly is currently the highest downloaded African mobile app with over 3 million downloads across Africa (Oct. 2013). See the video clip interview on this link.

MTN released the ‘MTN Play’ web portal in Ivory Coast as a test market. The portal offer its paid customers access to music, apps, games, wallpapers, ringtones, e-cards, horoscopes, news, free and paid VoD on streaming or for download.  Revenue-wise, music, SMS and ringtones make the bulk of the portal’s revenues. VoD comes after them.

MTN has approached audiovisual content right owners with a revenue share offer. Rights owners get between 30 and 60% revenue share depending on the quality of their content and the traffic they get. Rights owners usually get paid on a quarterly basis. For the time being, revenues represent small amounts but they are recurrent revenues and they should grow up in the future.

« The type of audiovisual content we are interested in varies, but it should be adapted to mobile terminals’ screens. It goes from cartoons, gags, jokes, sports to TV programmes short videos, mostly in French for the time being. » said Boubakar Sorgho, adding that 5,000 visitors per month have been watching videos  so far.

Plans are now to continue building the portal, adding more videos that are attractive for mobile subscribers including of course videos from Africa. At some point, MTN will start to offer similar portals in other countries where the company is present in. MTN has also launched a VoD app in Nigeria.

« We now have the network capacity to support video streaming. Broadband access is not an issue anymore » added Boubakar Sorgho.

MTN Côte d’Ivoire said it wanted rights owners of audiovisual content suited for mobile audiences and smartphones. For further details, please contact Boubakar Sorgho (Boubakar.sorgho(at)



Digital Content Africa: Balancing Act's web TV channel Smart Monkey TV has launched a new e-letter called Digital Content Africa. On a fortnightly basis, it covers online film, music, publishing and services and applications. We have already produced 16 issues and these can be viewed on this link: Essential reading for those in broadcast or film. If you would like to subscribe, just send an email to with Digital Content Africa in the title line.
Here are some examples of past issues below:

Ghanaian online platform Reel African announces the launch of first viewer votes feature film competition with cash prize

Online film, music and TV content in Africa – In search of the elusive business model

Zimbabwe’s TV Yangu offers a social TV platform with original programming

Nigerian VoD content platform Dobox TV offers simultaneous online premiere of cinema releases

Video clip interviews this week: 

Tunde Kelani on his latest film Dazzling Mirage about a family hit by sickle cell anemia

An African Edutainment TV Revolution - Can you mix a message with a good story?

Biyi Bandele talks about his new film Half of a Yellow Sun

Hafiz and Nadeem Juma, AIM Group, discuss digital content in Tanzania

Billy Kahora on writing the script for award-winning film Soul Boy

Tendeka Matatu on his forthcoming film about South Africa's corrupt police chief Jackie Selebie

Ayob Alarbi on a Libyan black TV comedy about the current insecurity in the country

Graham Wallington on WildEarth TV's live streaming of animals in Africa & elsewhere

Nick Wilson on Africa's answer to South Park - My Child: Teenage Mutant Azanians

A Different Nollywood: Andy Kozlov on a Nigerian-Ukrainian co-production, Feathered Dreams

Daniel Effiong on his 3 part film series of great Nigerian historic mysteries

Kunle Afolayan on his latest film October 1

Debra Odutuyo on her latest TV comedy show T Boy and changes in season 2 of Meet The Adebanjos

Nyasha Mboti on ReaGile's plan to build 1300 cinemas in South Africa's townships

Mo Abudu on how she started Ebony Life TV and licensing Desperate Housewives from Walt Disney

Gaurav Singh, Chief Digital Officer, Scan Group on when brands will spend more on digital in Africa

Hans-Christian Mahnke on Namibian film-makers and the state of the country's film industry