LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 AFRICA, TANZANIA: It is essential to focus on quality and a seamless user experience before trying to monetise local content, advised the CEO of Tigo Tanzania, speaking at the ‘Creating opportunities for local digital content’ keynote on day two.
Diego Gutierrez said monetisation will come naturally as “great content gets noticed fast”, adding that it is also necessary to be completely transparent about billing with no hidden fees that will put customers off.
The operator has a platform offering local news, videos and games, available in local language, taking local habits into consideration and promoting local artists.
It has given artists the ability to monetise their content, although music piracy has been a challenge, commented Gutierrez, and also said there are many niches that still need to be explored, such as women, family health and education.
Important milestones for Tigo Tanzania include working directly with Facebook to launch its Kiswahili interface, which the CEO deemed extremely successful as it increased its data usage, and launching smartphones with a Kiswahili interface.
Meanwhile Taha Jiwaji, founder and CEO of Bongo Live, a mobile technology solutions firm, said distribution is always a challenge for content makers.
Everyone wants to go to an operator and use their channels and user base, but his advice is they must first use free medium such as social media to bring their content to scale and gain popularity so they are in a better position to negotiate with operators.
Another option is to embed links into SMS that can be effective in a region like Africa, where there is low mobile internet penetration.
He said dealing with operators can be challenging on a technical and commercial level but believes an online application option would streamline the process and encourage creators to submit their work.
He also pointed out that often creators of local content such as African stories and history may not be tech savvy, in which case it is up to content aggregators to find and convince them to put their content online.