With a population of more than one billion people that rely on a major telecom to receive their daily news and entertainment, Africa is the world’s fastest-growing mobile market. Due to limited internet access throughout the continent, mobile phone usage is surging. LA-based startup, StarNews Mobile is aiming to bring new monetization opportunities for content creators and entertainment to roughly 400 million people on the continent.
StarNews Mobile works with pan-African mobile operators including MTN, Orange and Moov to bring top quality content through strong distribution and marketing partnerships.
How exactly does StarNews Mobile work? Depending on the user’s location, the technology intuitively utilizes either SMS or USSD code to make it easy for the user to subscribe. Rather than paying for the data to use the service, StarNews directly bills the user who pays a small daily or weekly fee, micro-billing from their airtime balance. Then, subscribers can opt-in to their favorite celebrities, channels and creators. They receive a daily notification with a link and just have to click to stream the video.
While celebrities and content creators in the Western hemisphere have the ability to monetize their content on platforms like YouTube and Instagram, without the internet, creatives in Africa are unable to make sufficient income from their music and videos.
“We are filling the gap of income generation for content producers in Africa,” stated Guy Kamgaing, founder and CEO of StarNews Mobile. “A lot of these services are not paying creators or the other platforms consume so much data that they are not suitable nor do their revenue models cater to the marketplace.”
With more than two decades of experience working with African telcos, Kamgaing has a clear understanding of what users need. He founded StarNews Mobile to meet the desire for great, affordable content that is accessible to everyone.
First, Kamgaing had to identify the major problem similar platforms were facing: data. Data in the region is expensive and not accessible to all mobile users. This means that content is not able to be consistently provided to all users, making it difficult for local celebrities to expand and monetize their fan-base.
StarNews Mobile solved these issues as they evolved into a more advanced web platform with a large scope of content. Celebrities are able to trust StarNews Mobile to reach their audiences consistently and earn money from their content.
After about two years of carrier integration processes, product development and celebrity talent discovery, StarNews Mobile was able to acquire 60,000 customers in one day with the promotion of Serge Beynaud. This incredible gain was 1% of Moov’s telecom 6,000,000 user base.
StarNews Mobile has recently raised $1.8M in seed funding. Investors include the most prestigious pan-African fund Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) and Santa Monica-based accelerator, Expert Dojo.
Recently, StarNews Mobile has also landed deals and partnered with Sony Music Entertainment in Africa and Universal.
In Summer 2020, StarNews Mobile reached 5 million users and continues to grow as more people recognize the platform as an affordable and reliable entertainment source. StarNews is available in the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo and South Africa and will be launching in Nigeria, Senegal and other countries. These markets present a huge potential for creators, users and brands. By 2022, StarNews Mobile hopes to expand into ten more countries.
First published here: ventsmagazine.com