The Nigerian who sells Nollywood content to francophone Africa, turns You Tube views into hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly

18 November 2016

Top Story

Murphy Anawana, Aforevo has one of the biggest You Tube platforms for Nollywood content and spotted a niche for dubbed Nollywood content in francophone Africa. Russell Southwood spoke to him at DISCOP about what he does and his plans for expansion.

Anawana’s business started in Nigeria with channels on You Tube to distribute Nollywood movies and series. But he spotted an opportunity in francophone Africa:”We looked at francophone Africa and saw that there was only Nollywood TV doing Nollywood movies in French so we thought, there’s a niche there”.

“There is a lot of competition in Nigeria and we are all fighting over the same cake. Better to look at other territories that don’t have as many resources. So I thought let’s move into francophone Africa.”

It is distributing FTA across Sub-Saharan Africa on Eutelsat’s 16A satellite:”We approached Eutelsat directly when the Amos satellite went down, and they were able to give us space directly. I also approached DTT platform and they also gave us space.”

The Aforevo offer has two channel components that are dubbed into French: Aforevo Movies, showcasing a wide range of local movies on offer, and Aforevo Music TV, which takes a look behind the scenes of popular musicians. It showcases a wide variety of locally produced music content. Current Nollywood movie content includes Tears of the Moon, Innocent Sin, Love Me Till It Hurts and Rock My World.

It has also dubbed into vernacular languages in some countries. For example, it has offered Swahili dubbed content in Uganda and Lingala in DRC where it has an office:”We have a server in that location and serve the channel from there.” The DRC channels are on TNT’s DTT platform and it is on the EXCAF DTT platform in Senegal:”We’re also talking to other people who are interested in taking the channels.” It also has an office in Cameroon and agents in several other countries including Cote d’Ivoire. The company has 200 staff, 60 of which are in DRC>

Although it’s not been very active with marketing, it has developed a VoD platform for it content for the movie content it distributes:”Once it’s out of the cinemas, we can move it online.”

And is he making money out of the You Tube channels he runs which is where the business started?:”It runs to hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly. We get 100 million views monthly and have over 300 channels. We have a presence in lots of countries. Most African countries have not yet been monetized by You Tube. We are premium partners so we can do the countries that are not covered.”

The majority of its revenues come from outside Nigeria and it claims to be the biggest distributor of Nigerian content in the field:”We are much bigger than iROKO both in terms of quality (of content) and eyeballs.” A fascinating conversation then takes place with a colleague about who are the top three distributors on You Tube for Nigerian content:”It’s us at number 1, Real Nolly at number 2 and iROKO at number 3. But we’re miles apart from both of them. For example, iROKO is doing less than 10 million views a month.”

So how does it find enough content to power all these You Tube channels?:”We have over 10,000 titles in our catalogue with Nollywood (with movies in Hausa and Yoruba), movies from Ghana, movies from DRC and so on. We’ve got movies and TV series from all over but it’s mainly movies.”

“The music content is mainly from Nigerian as it travels well across the continent. Our physical presence allows us to get other music content but it’s about 70% Nigerian music.”

To feed the beast, it has also gone into producing its own movies:”We produce approximately 10-15 movies a year. We’re planning on doubling that and also doing TV series.”

His expansion plans include rolling out specific You Tube channels for more African countries and it is also looking at expanding its dubbing business:”We want to double or triple the business over the next 12 months.”

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