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CEO Weekends: Kenya’s movie listing service Flix goes mobile-first, launches Android App

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Kenya’s movie listing service, Flix has revamped to focus on mobile and has also launched its Android app in a move to get users to search for and book for movies at their preferred cinema halls on the go.

With 7 cinema halls already listed, the new version is mobile-first platform build in HTML 5 and accessible easily on any smartphone and desktop browser with quick load time and less bandwidth used. The mobile-first version is expected to allow cinema lovers to access movie times first and even book for them online to avoid the physical queues involved.

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Cinema Hall owners can also easily sign up for an account and upload movie title and times on the site which automatically pulls the movie description and actors bio saving them time and money as it needs no technical know-how. They can also use the platform to accept bookings and payments online or use their own page to tell customers of great offers and upcoming releases.

Launched in Kenya in Dec 2010 by EatOut’s Mikul Shah and Uhasibu’s Mike Pedersen as their pastime activity, Flix.co.ke now serves over 500 to 600 users every day and is set to grow day by the day as Cinema halls become popular in Kenya.

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“We launched it as a community project as there was no movie listing service and we had to do it, Pedersen told TechMoran. “It’s a side project for us all and we are not making any money on it.”

“The new version will allow each Cinema Hall to sign up for an account and set up their won profile page with a complete management tool to allow them post or update movies automatically by just logging in listing the movie title, put in the movie time then the system will pull all information about the movie from the internet. There is no content to add,” Pedersen adds.

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Instead of them building their platforms and having IT assistants to run their sites, Flix aims to save movie theatres time and money as it’s faster and straight.

At the moment as Fox, Planet Media, iMax among others are using the service. In Kenya, the movie going culture is growing. Nairobi alone has over 10 cinema halls which have four to five movie sessions each a day. Any cinema hall with a carrying capacity of 300 people can rake in roughly from $2000 to $6,000 and even more on a busy day. Flix is likely looking at having a piece of these revenues.

However, according to Mikul  Shah, “This is a service to Wananchi and we are not on a mission of making money but want to solve a problem we ourselves experienced. It’s a personal problem we are trying to address and have no revenue strategy at the time but to just to solve the need.”

The two have dedicated Flix as a service to Wananchi because everyone keeps getting frustrated overtime looking for up-to-date movie listings. They are marketing it via Twitter, Google Ads, Facebook among others and say to make it user friendly, they are not going to allow ads on the site.

“Ads are simply annoying to users, we are making it free to users to drive growth and market penetration first,” adds Shah.

Now on Google Play, Flix powers Capital Lifestyle movie listings and is in talks for similar deals with Safaricom are undergoing. This is expected to put Flix into the hands of several thousands or millions who opt in to the service. Safaricom has over 19 million mobile subscribers and is the biggest mobile network in subscriber numbers. Flix might be available via USSD or as an SMS alert on subscribers who opt in.

Though such deals will push Flix and help it garner users and maybe play market dominance, it is not the only platform in the market doing this. Familyflix.com an international service also lists movies for the public as well, events listing platform KenyaBuzz, housed in the same building as Flix and available as an Android, Windows and  web app also competes Flix.

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Sam Wakoba
Sam Wakobahttp://techmoran.com
Taking you on tour through Africa's tech and business ecosystem, one story at a time since 2010! Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Sam is the founder and managing director of Moran Media, which runs  TechMoran.com, various other digital platforms and a startup incubation hub for Kenya's youthful entrepreneurs. Drop me a mail at [email protected]

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