How NextSpeel is changing the linearity of TV with Online Nigerian TV series

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NextSpeel is an online service that currently streams Nigeria TV series and Soap Operas for free. Currently, they’re looking at adding TV series from other African countries as soon as possible. Videos can currently only be watched on PCs and Tablets as they work on mobile development.

The African Movie and TV has seen explosive growth spearheaded by the Nigeria’s Nollywood. In fact,  film making in Nigeria alone employs about a million people, split equally between production and distribution, making it the country’s biggest employer after agriculture, according to the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB). The industry has sales of $200m-300m a year.

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Nollywood’s appeal has reached far beyond Nigeria: its films are watched all over Africa, and beyond. In South Africa MultiChoice, a satellite-television business, offers a channel devoted to Nigerian films  and now NextSpeel has an online streaming service for them. Currently the media company has 10 series running and over 100 videos and when we asked whether the company produces its own TV series, we were told that they simply buy Licenses of the episodes of the TV Series from producers.

So how do they make money?  According to Larry Oti; “We currently generate revenue through ads and we’ll eventually move to a subscription model with premium features”.

Already Nigerian Movies/series are available as DVDs and broadcasted on various TV stations across the continent! Most the content is accessed through gigantic traditional TV sets that sit in our living rooms at specific times of the day. So what’s NextSpeel doing differently? According to Larry Oti, Founder of NextSpeel;

Nigeria and Africa at large have shown a seriously potential for video and the demand for local content is growing. The entertainment industry in general is getting huge and Africa is in sync. The gaps are closing and boundaries are being eroded so there is a gradual emergence of a very big market, Africa. We have also moved from the days of sitting in front of a TV constantly so we are simply taking TV to everyone that needs it. All we are saying is: You don’t have to follow schedules anymore, Watch these videos anytime.

NextSpeel’s product is a fusion of entertainment and modern Technology that provides the viewers convenience of consuming content on various devices, at their own time as Larry explains; “For me, there is passion. I’m bringing entertainment and Tech together and it’s fun for me. It’s a high growth – high risk business and i love the speed and the idea of managing the risks involved”.

Obviously, the main challenge with any multimedia internet streaming company in Africa is one — Bandwidth! Slow and costly internet speeds constraints at this point simply can’t make online streaming service compete with mainstream broadcasting companies in terms of the consumer experience and costs. To circumvent this monstrous challenge, Larry had this to say;

As for data speeds and costs, our service buffers a version of the video being played that suits the watcher’s Internet speed.

The same approach is what YouTube is using for those users with slow internet speeds. It’s not the ultimate solution to the problem, but for now its the “pain killer” pill before ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and governments sort out this bandwidth problem once and for all. Until then though, traditional means of video content distribution most of which only support  linear programming  through terrestrial (mostly analogue broadcasting) and satellite like DSTV will still dominate the the entertainment and TV industry in Africa for quite a while!