Nigerian Forest Media’s mobile TV service hits 2 million views in Ghana and Liberia with a focus on lifestyle, comedy and children

For More Details: Download Forest Sport App Here

Forest Media is a new Nigerian live streaming challenger offering a bouquet of strictly “made in Africa” channels. Currently it’s only in Ghana and Liberia but it will soon launch in Nigeria and South Africa and more countries will follow. Last week in  Lagos Russell Southwood spoke to Forest Media’s CEO Izu Osuigwe about why he started the programme and his future plans.

For More Details: Download Forest Sport App Here

The idea for Forest Media came out of Osuigwe’s spotting a gap in distribution at festivals he attended:”The only place you could get certain  content was Alaba (Lagos’ analogue market for DVDs). It was difficult to acquire much content there unless you were a known face”.

He started selling content  to TV stations in Africa and developed a reputation doing it:”I tried to push Nigerian content to other stations. Originally the (picture) quality on TV stations was very poor. I bought from the streets but paid for rights and sold them originals”. Based on the content he sold them, the stations he was selling to  could see a growth in  audiences.

“So I thought, why not enter the channel space? I understand what audiences want and everybody is just doing movies. But culture, lifestyle and fashion is much bigger than movies in Nigeria.  You even see bank managers leave and go into fashion”.

“We’re at a point where a big industry is evolving. People want to express themselves  through what they wear, what  they eat and how they are (things like wellness and crafts). There is no outlet to show these kinds of achievements. So this was the basis for our lifestyle channel, Red Berry. We started talking to producers to shoot fashion shows and cooking shows”.

He also spotted another content gap:”There are also almost no childrens’ TV shows in Africa. All that kind of content is imported. Children want to watch childrens’ content. In Zambia I saw they were selling (childrens’) musicals from Nigeria. The  kids like this. They want to see people who look like them”.

Forest Media wants to be able to have content that is regionally distinct for Southern, East and West Africa. Osuigwe has worked with producers with existing content in those areas, buying TV shows and movies. It also produces some of its own content in-house based on what it thinks is needed in the market. It pioneered comedy skits and is looking for footage of live acts.

For More Details: Download Forest Sport App Here

“We’re pushing a multi channel African themed mobile TV platform: the channels include movies (Haba and Somagold), music  (B24), comedy  (Bliss TV), lifestyle (Red Berry), faith (Cornerstone Praise TV), childrens’ (YTC), soaps and series (D Lounge) and Afropedia Educational.

The service is app based and is on both Andriod and iOS. In Ghana it’s on the three main carriers, MTN, Vodacom and Tigo and it also available in Liberia and Zambia. The channels app features on a screen showing video opportunities with apps from several providers. It signed with MTN Nigeria two weeks ago and it has also signed with a carrier in South Africa and will announce a service there shortly. Last month the cumulative views for Ghana and Liberia reached 2 million.

The service is based on a monthly subscription paid for all channels to the telcos. There are various prices and it is flexibly priced from 3 days to a month. In Nigeria, the pricing will be more complicated as the telecoms regulator NCC has put a cap on what can be charged for VAS services and OTT services of this kind are included within that cap. Osuigwe believes that NCC will soon allow companies like Forest Media to charge commercial prices for the service.

 

It’s also seeking to attract advertising:”We’ve had the lower level brands but the bigger brands are starting to come on board. Promasidor has advertised. We charge brands lower than broadcast TV and we give them more spots”.

It sees its competitors as iROKO, Netflix  and Aforevo but makes  a distinction that he thinks separates Forest Media from them:”For now they are keen on VoD but we are delivering a  channels experience with scheduled programming. So the biggest competitor will be Kwese TV which has channels, the sort of channels you see on DStv. But there’s still nothing like a completely African comedy channel (which we have)”.

For More Details: Download Forest Sport App Here

It also has plans for a satellite channel. Why?:”I want to get to a bigger audience and to do that you have to play in the satellite space. I’m talking to SES who has a huge footprint and they have agreed to work with us”.

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