French telco group Orange hopes to play a larger role in Africa’s booming markets by funding Afrostream, a video-on-demand service that showcases African, African-American and African-Caribbean films and TV series, Variety reports.
Afrostream’s primary target audience is black viewers, but it aims to showcase content that can cross over to general audiences.
Investment by Orange Digital Ventures, a corporate fund, will allow Afrostream to accelerate development of its service in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and South America, according to PCTech.
Dubbed “the Netflix of Africa” by Ebony, Afrostream is already available in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, (www.afrostream.tv). It offers family programs, cartoons, concerts and documentaries in addition to films and TV series.
Orange wants to take advantage of its presence in African and European countries with large African diaspora populations. In collaborating with the Afrostream start-up, Orange can provide expertise in networks, distribution and payments, PCTech reported.
The Afrostream subscription video on demand service is priced at $8 per month and $70 per year, according to Variety.
“The future of television is mobile,” said Tonjé Bakang, Afrostream CEO. “With this strategic investment from Orange, Afrostream now brings together the best of the mobile Internet and the best of African content.”
“African American movies and series keep punching high numbers but they are seldom distributed overseas, which is an anomaly considering that the community of Africans and Afro descendants represents 1.2 billion people around the world, so our goal is to fill that void,” Bakang added.
“In the next 10 years, smartphones are going to become the first window there,” Bakang said. “Orange is currently the biggest telco operator in Africa and they’re about to launch 4G in the territory so establishing a solid basis and investing in content there is key.”
In addition to funding from Orange, Afrostream has been supported by Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley seed accelerator, PCTech reports. It also received funding from TheFamily, Cross Culture Ventures I L.P. and ACE & Company, according to Variety.
Bakang said he expects to launch Afrostream in the U.K. and English-speaking countries including Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. Brazil is considered a promising market for Afrostream.
The video-on-demand service has bought Tyler Perry’s “For Better or Worse” and Sky Living’s “Venus vs. Mars,” among others.