With over 2 million downloads across platforms, Afrinolly is arguably the most downloaded African App. The App lets you watch full length African movies, short films, Movie Trailers and African Music Videos on your Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows and Nokia Smartphones.
In seeking to be Africa’s IMDB, Afrinolly has a long way to go especially In a continent where there are no established or functional structures to appreciate and recognise the arts sector while access and affordability of data is also an issue. The app then becomes useful to only those who can afford bandwidth who once again are the minority in Africa
In the Movies tab one is able to check for movies coming soon, browse movies by region, watch full length movies, check out the award winning movies, watch comedy strips and also Bollywood movies. The movies are categorised by region giving one the option of browsing through movies from across the continent. However only 10 of the 54 plus African countries are listed as having movies with most of them coming from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya. The rest have between one and 4 movies. The countries listed are; Cameroon, Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Afrinolly has now added Bollywood movies and Comedy strips from the likes of AY the Nigerian Comedian to spice it up a little.
The Celebrities Feature shows many of the celebrities who starred in the movies watched. It also embeds a “Celeb Meter” ranking Celebrities. This actually pulls up a profile of any celebrity you select showing the movies they have starred in with an option to contact them via their Social Media channels. Unfortunately most if not all of the celebrities were Nigerian or West African and not necessarily African celebrities
The Music Videos Feature shows you the latest and popular Music Videos with an option to browse by region. But once again, most of the videos were Nigerian (or West African) and when I checked for videos from my region, they were only 11 videos which were actually old and not recent while Videos from Nigeria and South Africa were up to date
Entertainment News Feed:
The app also features an entertainment news feed from some notable bloggers and news sites which are predominantly Nigerian. Also, when I click on article it prompts me to open in browser which I will say again is uncool as one should be able to read the article from within the app without exiting
The app is available across platforms meaning you can download it on any OS whether iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows or Symbian
Anyone around the world can enjoy a host of African content for free as long as they have bandwidth. This is normally a saviour for Africans in the Diaspora who want to keep in touch with Home
The App is simplistic in design and easy to use and navigate
Promoting African content on an African platform is a good initiative
When I clicked to watch a movie or trailer the app redirected me to YouTube which was a bummer. The player should be embedded within the app or else the app just becomes a Youtube Video curator
Most of the movies are Nigerian and when checked for movies from Uganda, I only found one movie which gives me less choice
The share functionality is rendered useless as all the content isn’t played from with the app and one can only share a page within the app
What We Would Like To See
Afrinolly should work out the licensing and revenue sharing issues or whatever else prohibits them from being able to get content from all the African countries.
Play Videos from with the app
More and regular content from around the continent other than Nigerian and West African Content only
Better Social Media integration
In app user reviews and critics
A community feature or Forums hosted on the platform to facilitate Dialogue and unite viewers and filmmakers on the continent
More features like “Movie Lists, What’s in Theatres near you, Showtimes, possible movie ticketing, Top 100 African Movies
Information and stats on African Movies, Filmmakers and the Industry
The option of moderating the Video Size on Youtube so as to save on bandwidth
Afrinolly has taken on a very bold challenge and so far has disproved a lot of myths about African startups. Even though we find the app better suited for Africans in the Diaspora who don’t face the data challenges we face in Africa, with the growing trends and all factors constant, Afrinolly might just change how movies are consumed and distributed in Africa.