YouTube Shorts and TikTok go head-to-head over talent and market share in key Sub-Saharan African markets

16 July 2021

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This week YouTube announced that it had rolled out its TikTok “look-a-likee” platform to a 100 new countries globally including three key Sub-Saharan African markets: Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

While YouTube Shorts service is still in beta, the Google-owned video platform said that it will now roll out to “more than 100 countries around the world where YouTube is available.” Viewers had previously been able to watch shorts across 26 countries but only users in a limited number of countries were able to create and edit Shorts using YouTube’s tools. YouTube Shorts offers creators and users the ability to clip from content already available on its platform while also linking back to videos on a main channel.

This follows the classic tech giant playbook where they add new services to stay competitive or in Facebook’s case, buy out threatening competition. On the other side of this ‘everyone wanting to be everything’ world, TikTok has been offer longer videos, up to three minutes and rolling out on smart TV apps including Android TV, Samsung and Fire TV.

Last year TikTok started focusing attention on three of Africa’s biggest markets: Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. It began hiring local talent already on Instagram and YouTube in these three countries. It began working with local partners like Nairobi Garage and the National Film and Video Foundation to provide support to local creators. To get all its ducks in a row, it signed a multi-year licensing deal with the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) and Composers Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO).

The South-African track Jerusalema, a song by DJ and producer Master KG, featuring vocalist Nomcebo was also a global TikTok sensation in 2020, following a choreographed dance routine by Angolan based Fenómenos do Semba dance group.

The #Jerusalema challenge videos have been viewed over 1 billion times and helped the track achieve international recognition and chart success in Europe and the United States.

As always market data is hard to come by but percentage market share information for Nigeria (Source: Statista) and South Africa (Source: WorldWideWorx) is as follows:

Nigeria (Q3, 2020)

YouTube: 81.6%

TikTok: 31.9%

South Africa (July 2021)

YouTube: 92.4%

TikTok: (37.5%)

So if this data is anything to go by, TikTok can get 30-40% market share but YouTube’s big fear – after such a long period of dominance – is that fidgety African millennials will take their time and interest off to the new platform.

In Brief

StarNews Mobile, the leading mobile video network helping content creators, celebrities and brands monetize their content in Africa, today announced its partnership with Culture Genesis, the largest black-owned digital platform with over 15 million fans and 500 million monthly views, to distribute All Def Comedy and Music channels to over 430 million mobile subscribers via Orange and MTN in Africa. Initially, All Def’s “Dad Jokes,” “Great Taste,” “Roast Me” comedy shows and “Arts & Raps” and “Bar Exam” music shows will be shared in Nigeria—the largest mobile user market in Africa with 150 million mobile subscribers—as well as in South Africa with 80 million mobile subscribers. Plans for further expansion will be announced in the coming weeks.

TV5 Monde Africa will broadcast the 2020 Olympic Games in 46 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The channel obtained the rights after reaching an agreement with Infront Sports & Media, which held the rights. The television channel will broadcast the various competitions of the event from 21 July, the date of the launch of the football tournament; the opening ceremony itself will take place on 23 July.

Google has announced the names of 22 media innovators set to receive $2.1 million in funding through the second Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge for Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey. In South Africa, Olduvai Pty., an online-only publisher, developed Scrolla.Africa, a data-light platform that makes news available to millions of people in southern Africa, who would otherwise be unable to afford data costs. The applicants’ innovations addressed issues ranging from audience development to virtual reality storytelling and recipients were able to clearly demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Audiomack has announced a new partnership with Ziiki Media which will give access to artists via Ziiki Media’s platform. This new collaboration will take effect soon and will be available in 54 African countries.

Zimbabwe's Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, has praised the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) for establishing an e-licensing platform. Mutsvangwa, speaking at the launch, said the program comes when the government is pushing ideas that help individuals adapt to the new normal more quickly. Listeners and viewers just need to go to the ZBC websites and pay from the convenience of their homes or offices. It's the safest and most convenient way to stay in compliance with the law and pay for your radio and television license.

Boomplay and Airtel Nigeria have announced a strategic partnership that will offer subscribers access to more affordable streaming via the music streaming platform.General Manager, Boomplay Nigeria, Oladele Kadiri stated “We are very optimistic about the partnership with Airtel, which will enhance music streaming and downloading for our users, through affordable data packages…”

Cote d’Ivoire has just signed a contract with the Trace media group, the Trace Academia platform which will offer Ivorians with training in the fields of entrepreneurship and digital technology.

Patrice Motsepe, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), has stated that the governing body has begun conversations with broadcasters about developing an African Super League, emphasising that Africa will learn from the European Super League's collapse. Even though comparable proposals in Europe were faced with intense opposition from all corners of the industry and beyond, ultimately failing, the African supremo stated in June that CAF would continue through with plans to build a continental super league. At a press conference before the CAF Confederation Cup final between Raja Casablanca and JS Kabylie, Motsepe said, "CAF has several broadcast companies that have said they want to work with the confederation on the Super League." And "have learned a lot from what transpired in Europe."

Known Associates Entertainment, the production company behind "uBettina Wethu," the South African adaptation of the Colombian telenovela "Ugly Betty," has joined forces with RTI, Ivory Coast's public broadcaster, on a science fiction drama series that will be the first co-production for both countries'. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has pre-licensed the series, meant to premiere in 2022. With actors from South Africa and Ivory Coast, "Ambre" will be shot in both countries, with a written script in English and French. "Ambre" is a future action thriller about the "youth's fortitude, optimism, and heroism in harsh times," according to producer Lebone Maema, who co-created the 6 x 60' series with Ivorian writer Binta Dembele. The company's chairman, Joel Phiri, described the relationship with RTI as a "milestone co-production," saying, "They are happy to pioneer co-productions amongst African countries spanning languages and cultures for a global audience."