This week we published Mass Market Media with StarNews Mobile's Guy Kamgaing.
Prior to my conversation with Guy, I think I would have been skeptical about micropayments for microcontent, when we live in a world of abundant free content on global platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, etc.
But I was using the wrong mental model. See, the aforementioned apps are data guzzlers, so even if free, their usage costs (way) more in data than does the cost of microcontent on StarNews.
StarNews is a case study in targeting the mass-market with the right product, the right price, and the right distribution method.
Listen to the full episode here.
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Towards the end of my conversation with Guy, he said this,
I would like the world to understand Africa better... When you’re in America, images of Africa always been the same for the past a hundred years... I’d like to change the narrative. That’s really what I want to see happen, be able to say, 'Okay, well now we’re really able to help people live off of their creativity and their talent, because they’ll be able to make money from it.' So, it could really be cool.
With business models that allow creators to more readily monetize and make a living off of what they produce, the prospects are quite exciting.
We wrote about NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in TFN #41, and in particular, their role in creating more democratized access to a global market. It's worth revisiting in light of this week's recent news - of the acquisition of Jay-Z's music streaming platform TIDAL by Jack Dorsey's Square.
The focus is on helping artists monetize -
It comes down to a simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work. New ideas are found at the intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. Making the economy work for artists is similar to what Square has done for sellers.— jack⚡️ (@jack) March 4, 2021
It's not hard to draw a line between this and NFTs, and we're already seeing the opportunity for artists - last week, 3LAU, an American DJ and producer, sold an NFT collection for $11.6 million via an online auction.
The trends in this direction - towards democratization and accessibility - will, I think (and hope!), mean opportunity for African creators, as well.
culture-based products == mainstream— ‘Nubi Kay’ (@NubiKay) March 4, 2021
A Vaccine for Malaria?
Amidst all the talk about fintech, crypto, fundraises, and so on... the truly most important and impactful news for the continent from a technology perspective is that scientists have invented and applied for a patent for an RNA-based vaccine for malaria, building off of the research and invention for the COVID-19 vaccine (and there are likewise mRNA vaccines in the works for HIV, flu, cancer and more).
COVID has been awful, but change happens at moments of high motivation. And I'm hopeful that, in many aspects - health, flexible work, digital commerce, etc. - life will be better than it was before once we reach herd immunity.
OPay's Market Share in Nigeria
This week it was reported that OPay's market share in Nigeria is up to 70%, and they have processed around $2 million in gross transaction value last December, according to TechCabal (with caveats that these figures aren't entirely verifiable).
There's still an open question about whether the blitzscaling approach, that which OPay employs, works in a country like Nigeria.
OPay had quite infamously raised a lot of money to tackle the superapp play, and then last year shut down their ride hailing services, allegedly due to COVID-induced adverse market conditions.
But we must remember that OPay is playing a different game than your average fintech. They are partly owned by Opera, whose browser is #2 in market share in Nigeria. That distribution advantage is significant, and is tremendously beneficial from a unit economics perspective even with OPay shutting down ancillary revenue streams like ride hailing services.
Perhaps OPay's reported volumes and market share are an indication that their experiments and recently restrained approaches are working.
Thanks for reading,
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