Launched in June 2013, NextSpeel is bringing to everyone for the first time in a consistent manner, full episodes of TV drama series and Soap Operas from Nigeria and eventually Africa.
Speel means Play in Afrikaans so you can say Next-Play or Play-Next if the former doesn’t sit well with you.
The platform was founded by Larry Oti, a Project Management graduate.
TechMoran caught up with Oti and this is what he told us.
What inspired you to launch it?
I’ve worked on it on and off since 2011. Ok, the idea came in then and I tried my hands on other variations of it. Proper work started on it in 2012 and during this period the reception for video in Africa grew. It was obvious it was time to get our brainchild out there and 2013 saw the birth of NextSpeel.
Why video on demand when there are several businesses to do?
For me the question would be ‘Why not video on demand’? Nigeria and Africa at large have shown a seriously potential for video and the demand for local content is growing. The entertainment industry in general is getting huge and Africa is in sync. The gaps are closing and boundaries are being eroded so there is a gradual emergance of a very big market, Africa. We have also moved from the days of sitting in front of a TV constantly so we are simply taking TV to everyone that needs it. All we are saying is: You don’t have to follow schedules anymore, Watch these videos anytime.
For me, there is passion. I’m bringing entertainment and Tech together and it’s fun for me. It’s a high growth – high risk business and i love the speed and the idea of managing the risks involved.
How many videos/ all content do you have?
We have more that 10 different series with hundreds of episodes cumulative. We are always in talks with content producers and production outfits to license more video content.
What is your business model?
Freemium Model – A mix of free offerings supported by advertising, and Subscription. In the coming months we would charge a subscription for access to premium episodes and series but we would like to keep a part of our video library free to give a hint of the value we offer and act as a gateway to the paid version. Currently, we are 100% free because we are trying to build a loyal user base and content library. We are supporting with advertising for now although we think we can tweak the ad generating game a little.
How do artists benefit?
Artist don’t benefit directly from us. We deal with producers directly as they own the rights to the videos. We license our videos legally and that how producers are able to make money from this channel. Artists could be said to benefit indirectly as more exposure is given across certain boundaries especially to actors that are confined to the small screen.
How different are you from the competition?
Apart from the tech side to it, innovative features and developments on the platform itself, our major differentiator would be our content. Nigeria and Africa is seeing massive focus on video lately but the internet market has been saturated with movies particularly coming from Nigeria. It’s now everywhere including free video sharing sites. Our content niche is TV from series and soap operas to maybe reality and talk shows. That would be the major differentiating factor.
What are your future plans?
We are trying to focus on a number of things right now like building our video library and making the website seamless. Trying to make it accessible on all platforms including mobile is also top priority for us. After that, we would be releasing other vertical products and infuse African TV and film into a social context. Yes, I just had to say that.
Are you launching in other parts of Africa, or out of Africa soon?
We have plans to expand to other parts of Africa really soon. Currently, we already have series from other countries outside Nigeria. We would be making a full entry into a couple of African countries in the coming months. Africa is ready for video and we are bringing it to them.
Lessons you have learned in building our company?
There are lots of lessons to learn. Some we would obviously learnt the hard way but for now, its just being about getting to make plans and getting timings right. We learn also to improvise quickly when things get out of place. It’s a startup and there are lots of scope creeps along the way. There are obviously lots of challenges and as always, we are trying to keep up.
What else/other company have you done that is successful?
If you are asking about a major product release, maybe none. I have launched a couple of tech products though. There was a movie database for Africa, that’s coming back. I co-founded a school management software company but left and worked as an independent technology contractor which included writing code and recruiting for a while. NextSpeel was something I dreamt up and worked on for a long time that just had to jump out of my machine.