Afrostream, the video-on-demand service offering exclusively African films and series, announced, on September 13, the shutdown of its services. The company specializing in VOD, long cited as an example for startuppers, makes its sign song after a start in a tornado.
Created in 2015 by the Franco-Cameroonian Tonjé Bakang, Afrostream dreamed not only of African Netflix but also as the main relay in Europe of the products of the African film industry. The start-up had signed agreements with My TF1 VOD and Orange, to name just a few. Its business model and its catalogue, containing more than 2,000 hours of content available on computers, phones and tablets, were not enough to guarantee the survival of a service whose reputation began to assume a global dimension.
“Launching a digital media that required the legal acquisition of film and series rights from major Hollywood studios, American chains and more than 100 African producers seemed to be an impossible mission. The fact that Afrostream could have existed is almost a small miracle in the media industry in Europe and particularly in France, “said the founder of Afrostream in a blogpost.
According to Tonjé Bakang, the survival of Afrostream was threatened by both the insufficient number and cost of the content offered to its subscribers. “For 30 independent series of 2 seasons and 100 independent African or African Nigerian films with subtitles in French, a budget of US$ 2,50,0000 is required for one year of operation. A service like Netflix has nearly 3,000 movies and series but despite this figure, many subscribers find that the choice of content is limited. In order to amortize the annual US$ 2,50,0000, Afrostream needed about 25,000 subscribers, paying a monthly subscription of € 7 without interruption for a year.
In the end, the dream Afrostream has come to shatter on a financial hurdle that nobody would have predicted so much the partnerships and the news of the start-up seemed shining. Meanwhile, platforms such as Iroko TV and Okiki continue their quest for African streaming and VOD markets.