The French OTT distribution platform Molotov has taken its first steps into Africa. After a rollout in Ivory Coast at the end of 2020, the service, which is backed by Idinvest and Xavier Niel (Free), is ready to deploy in the rest of French-speaking Africa. For the months to come, ‘Molotov Afrique’ plans to launch in Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo before tackling the remaining African countries in the year 2021.
Dataxis reports that in order to ensure accessibility in its new strategic markets, the streaming App has been optimised for phone usage, adapted to an unstable connection and enhanced to limit data consumption. The service has also incorporated simple payment solutions through telecom operators, allowing customers to subscribe even if they do not have a bank card or a bank account.
Molotov Afrique also integrates local content with agreements signed with national and international media groups including Rotana, Trace Africa, RTI Distribution, Savannah TV, RTS and Africa news. Molotov is seeking to build more partnerships with regional publishers in order to expand its line-up which to date consists of fifteen local linear channels, with catch-up and on-demand content.
All-in-all, Molotov should have the freeway to expand its service since very few competitors are operating streaming platforms in the targeted markets, suggests Dataxis. Indeed, the lack of payment methods, the low quality and the high cost of the internet connection and the small amount of local content available are all problems that limit the development of OTT in the region. However, noteworthy developments are enabling international players to expect promising opportunities. In particular, internet access is growing rapidly and mostly on mobile phones, with an increasing share of 4G connections.
The upward trend observed on the developing digital advertising markets could turn the initiative into a success, which would offset the previous unfortunate OTT platforms launches that took place in the region. In the same context, the premium paid offer of Molotov will have to meet its subscribers base quickly, at the risk of not being able to reach the break even point in sufficient time to sustain its expansion in the region.