A point that that myself and a few others have made again and again is that streaming is not a good channel for delivery of media in Africa. At least, not yet. Why? Look around you: almost everyone is complaining about poor quality of internet services and the high cost of internet services.
SOLO View and iROKOtv are two video on demand services targeting Africa. Both have shown a fair understanding of the mobile data market and the economic realities of their environments.
Services that offer music and video streaming to people living in Africa are like ostriches sticking their heads in the sand. It is not currently sustainable on a large scale. There are a few people who can afford internet connectivity that is both good and affordable enough to stream on a regular basis. The way to go is to let users download content outright and access them offline.
SOLO already understood this and acted accordingly in December 2014 when they launched their Solo View app. SOLO View allows users download videos to their smartphones. Now, IrokoTv has gone the same route.
IrokoTV has stopped the online streaming of Nollywood videos to Africa and replaced it with downloads via a mobile app. No more buffering. No need to go online every time you want to watch a movie. Beyond that, the download experience is optimised (just as with SOLO), so it is smoother. Bliss! We all know how hard it is to send a text-only tweet at times. Expecting people to stream content on these horrible and expensive internet connections is expecting too much.
We can only hope that other streaming services targeting Africa are taking notes.
Update One (February 2018)
SOLO View introduced hotspot kiosks where their users can download full length movies in minutes. iROKOtv also has introduced hotspot kiosks where their users can download movies without incurring data charges. Further proof that they do understand this market.
Update Two (February 2018)
The download statistics for SOLO View and iROKOtv in Play Store as at February 2018 are 10,000 and 1 million respectively. The difference is huge. But it is important to note that pushing hardware like SOLO is doing introduces another layer of obstacles that iROKOtv does not have to deal with.
It is also important to mention that iROKOtv has spent a lot on marketing, while SOLO has not been so visible. Marketing makes a difference.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.