Friday, August 19, 2022

StarNews Mobile: Bridging the Digital Divide to Africa and Beyond | EURexclusive!

StarNewsMobile1
StarNewsMobile

*When it comes to art and creativity in America there are very few mediums that individuals of African descent living in America don’t dominate when simply given a level playing field. 

Indeed, the majority of America’s most popular cultural exports are the creative and intellectual works of Black folk.

However, when it comes to the dissemination of this material abroad, the vast majority of the gatekeepers involved view culture from the perspective of the American mainstream.

Thus, there’s a great deal lost in translation. Realism, sincerity and intent are often causalities of this paradigm that sees white media companies oversee the beaming of Black America imagery and cultural properties across the globe.  

This why what Guy Kamgaing, founder of StarNews Mobile, is doing is so important.

Recently, Kamgaing – along with Cedric Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Culture Genesis – sat down with Lee Bailey of EURweb.com to discuss the innovations that may lead to a renaissance of Black digital content in Africa, while providing a blueprint on how to use the older mobile infrastructure that is still prominent on the continent in a new, innovative manner. 

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StarNews Mobile promoLee Bailey: How did this come about? 

Guy Kamgaing, founder and CEO of Star News Mobile: 

We were trying to figure out a way to monetize digital content as well as providing video content to mobile users on the continent. It’s a very innovative business model, as well as a unique business model.  We’re basically a video distribution platform with a monetization engine.  

I’ve lived in L.A. for about 25 years now, and I realized that the way people consume mobile content outside of America is different. So, I knew video and monetized digital content consumption on the continent was going to be big just because it was big, and whatever is big in American eventually ends up happening in the rest of the world.  

I also understood the challenges that people would have when trying to consume content. The basis of content consumption in America is unlimited data and high-end devices, primarily.   

Guy Kamgaing
Guy Kamgaing

Lee Bailey: What are the logistical challenges of providing digital content on the continent compared to in the United States? 

Guy Kamgaing:  Everybody has an iPhone or high-end Android, and everybody has unlimited access to data. In the rest of the world, especially Africa, data is still very expensive, and most people don’t have smartphones, though smartphone penetration is growing by 100% every year, that’s till only about 10 to 20 percent of the population that has a smartphone. So, those challenges are the reasons why I knew it would take a while for our content consumption to take place.  

Lee Bailey: The issues of outdated infrastructure and access loom large. How did you come up with a way around that mammoth problem? 

Guy Kamgaing:  I’ve figured out a way to shortcut those challenges and create a platform that enabled content consumption in areas where people did not have smartphones and where unlimited data doesn’t exist because it’s still too expensive.  

I did this by making a deal with the local telcoms (Orange and MTN ). They are the AT&T and Verizon of (that) part of the world. I did this by introducing a content consumption and video platform for their users which is affordable and to have that technology work with phones that aren’t necessarily high-end devices.  

Lee Bailey: How has growth been thus far? 

Guy Kamgaing: We started out about four years ago and we’re now in five countries: Ivory Coast, Congo, Nigeria, South Africa and we’re going into Ghana starting next quarter.  We have an active base of 11 million subscribers.  

The model in America is usually a monthly subscription base, while we’ve been able to create a daily subscription base in Africa for anywhere from 3 to 5 to 10 cents per day.  

We made it very simple by providing a link to video in the form of an attachment.   

That’s where the beauty of the deal with telcoms come in because we’re able to deliver a quality video experience without all the buffering. The buffering happens, not because of the handset, but because the network is busy.  

Cedric Rogers
Cedric Rogers

Lee Bailey: So, Cedric, what stake does All Def digital have in all of this? 

Cedric Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Culture Genesis: 

Culture Genesis is a media tech company that’s based in Los Angeles and our focus is to remix digital technology for the culture. Meaning urban, Black and brown audiences. We operate and own All Def Digital, which is a platform that’s primarily for comedy, hip-hop and social justice. We have about 15 million fans that are our audience.  

Lee Bailey: What made you realize Guy’s business model may be the right way to go for Culture Genesis? 

Cedric Rogers: This is a massive opportunity for us because of what he’s been able to accomplish, to create a platform for individual creators as well as publishers like us to be able to bring their content to the continent of Africa.  

This is a way of distributing video and content using the old infrastructure, which is genius. As things continue to evolve perhaps apps will become a thing in Africa, but I doubt it.  People need a way to connect to our consumers or expand to new consumers.  

As I mentioned before, we own and operate All Def Digital, and we have a series of channels. We have All Def Comedy, All Def Music, which is in partnership with Universal Music Group and that includes Def Jam. 

So, that’s kind of our sister brand, and Def Jam has also expanded to Africa.   

For us, it was a great opportunity to kind of follow our sister brand out to the continent by leveraging a platform that Guy and his team have helped build with StarNews.  

This is a great opportunity for us. Culture Genesis has been able to set up partnerships with Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and we are the largest Black publisher on all those platforms. We already have great distribution stateside, and we work directly with brands who want to reach our audience.  

I haven’t seen anything like it, but I feel like it’s really going to open some eyes once we get greater coverage on the continent.  

EURweb has been doing its thing since 1997 and, in many ways, is the progenitor of StarNews Mobile and Culture Genesis’ All Def Digital.

So, we mean it when we say we wish them nothing but the best of success.  For more information on StarNews Mobile just log onto their site. The same for Culture Genesis.  

Until next time, folks. Later! 

Ricardo Hazell
Ricardo Hazell

EurWebWriter is Ricardo A Hazell, who began his career in journalism in 1996 as a Research Intern for the prestigious Editor & Publisher Co. His byline has appeared in The Root, Washington Post and Black Enterprise. He helped define culture within the African Diaspora as Senior Cultural Contributor at The Shadow League. Currently, he is working on the semi-autobiographical novel “Remorse,” Contact him via rick_hazell@yahoo.com.

EurWebWriter
Ricardo A. Hazell began his career in journalism in 1996 as a Research Intern for the prestigious Editor & Publisher Co. His byline has appeared in The Root, Washington Post, Black Enterprise and he helped define culture within the African Diaspora as Senior Cultural Contributor at The Shadow League. Currently working on the semi-autobiographical novel "Remorse".

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