Nigeria’s VoD platform Dobox turns its attention to Francophone markets

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Nigeria’s digital entertainment platform Dobox has quietly built itself a user base by concentrating on getting a number of things right. According to its CEO, it is now looking at expanding into Francophone Africa. It is probably one of the first Anglophone VoD platforms to make this step. Balancing Act’s Analyst Sylvain Beletre interviewed Dobox’s CEO Gafar Williams about the move.

According to the latest Balancing Act study, there are over 50 music platforms (excluding web radio), and over 100 VoD platforms focused on Africa.

Many of these platforms are only focused on a single country or a small cluster of countries. But at the top end – with larger companies with a multi-country presence – competition is getting fierce. With global platforms like iTunes and YouTube already in the market (and Spotify on the way) these platforms will both have to offer local innovation (in terms of things like payment) and better, deeper local content.
As in the rest of the world, 4G LTE is being implemented in many countries in Africa, and although prices remain high, the speeds and capacity will begin to allow video downloading and streaming. Among the applications 'made in Africa', Dobox is an application to watch videos, listen to music, upload content and more. Gafar Williams’ company has been one of the quiet pioneers of mobile content downloading in Nigeria. His secret? 'telcos partnerships', a robust app and well rehearsed, varied means of payment (paypal, Visa, Mastercard, etc.) and rich local content reflecting closely what users want.

Dobox has indeed established partnerships with most of the major mobile service providers, such as MTN, Etisalat and Airtel, which enabled him to gain clout he would have struggled to achieve alone. "With this competitive advantage, we can now aim for more than 60 million potential customers," claims Williams.

"We worked well in Nigeria and if we continue to grow properly, the time is now for international expansion," says Gafar Williams. "We have received requests from Francophone African countries, and we are preparing to cross borders. We expect 1 million customers at end-2015 and are looking to reach the 2 million quickly, " Williams told me, adding that the company could diversify into the distribution of audio-visual content and linear television channels, both things iROKO TV is also doing. Last month Dobox signed with programme distributor 'Côte Ouest'.

Dobox provides subscribers of mobile operators its solution for downloading access to long and short movies, TV shows, music, radio and other digital content.

The application provides a wide range of on demand entertainment services with for example its magicbox, through which users can enjoy amazing collections of African films via streaming, rental or purchase. Audiovisual content is a fremium offer for the end user.

His trailerbox allows users to watch trailers of films from Africa. They can also see music videos and follow the latest music trends on Musicbox. Stories behind videos, exclusive interviews, and sketches are on Eyebox. On Radiobox they can listen to many radio staions and on Livebox watch several TV channels.

Next week Dobox will launch a new service for operators, an innovation that will be the subject of an article in 'Balancing Act'. Finally, Gafar Williams will be attending Discop Africa 2015 in Johannesburg.

The Dobox application is available on Google Play systems, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows. His version android 2.2 / Google Play updated in March 2015 has raised a rating of 3.9 / 5 with 554 users, and 5/5 for 267 users.

More articles on Dobox.

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