Music on the move has Africa upbeat

The prominence of mobile Value Added Services (VAS) and streaming capability across various platforms, using both feature- and smartphones, has operators, networks and SPs across Africa’s digital entertainment market whistling a new tune.


Arun Nagar, CEO, Spice VAS Africa. (Image: File)

They are pleased because of the increase in activity amongst consumers and artists who continue to use mobile handsets to receive and enjoy streamed data, including video and music.

Furthermore, there is an air of expectation lingering because of the fact that Africa has the fastest growing mobile market globally – ideal for the anticipated rise in entertainment and ‘infotainment’.

Management behind mobile services company Spice VAS Africa believe the continent’s mobile industry is set to be “revolutionised”.

Despite the challenges, including low revenues per customer, high levels of churn and 96% of the population on prepaid tariff plans, service providers in this market are positive about the rate of growth and interest.

CEO Arun Nagar believes the continent is “rich with opportunity” for operators to lock in customer loyalty and market share.

The company, which is primarily a white label service provider to networks, has deployed more than 27 platforms across operators in 13 African countries and has more than 3 million active subscribers.

One of the key drivers behind increasing interest in digital entertainment, particularly that of the ‘sticky product’ that is music, is the fact that voice has become the primary bearer for distributing content.

“Africa is predominantly geared for voice and content is the differentiator,” says Nagar.

The company has tapped into the need to combine affordability, access and ease-of-use to successfully bring digital entertainment and ‘infotainment’ to the masses.

“Our business model in Zambia allows users to stream unlimited audio content for one and a half US cents per day,” Nagar says.

Spice VAS Africa officially launched in South Africa towards the end of 2012 and the company plans on expanding its presence across Africa and leverage off success stories already achieved in key regions.

He says the company differentiates itself from competition by the number of record labels signed exclusively with the company, the overall number of artists and the different ways it can deliver that content to the end user.

Music labels including Universal, EMI, Soul Candi, Ghetto Ruff, Vonk Musiek, Real Musik and Select Musiek, are included amongst the company’s signed deals.

Chris Tredger, Online Editor