What the Safaricom – VuClip Premium Video Partnership means


In October, Safaricom announced a partnership with Indian firm VuClip to offer customers access to premium video content on their mobile devices. For Kshs. 10, Safaricom customers will access 100 videos a day by subscribing to the Premium Video Store, accessible by logging onto http://videos.safaricom.com or by dialing *822#. Popular content in this video store includes gospel music videos, comedy, television shows and movies from local content studios such as Sakata, along with international content such as Hollywood films.

We Spoke to VuClip with regards to the partnership, its value proposition for consumers as well as content acquisition strategies for Africa and specifically Kenya. The partnership with Safaricom marks the firm’s first entry into the African market. The firm sees the African continent’s appetite for video content as hugely untapped and seeks to provide targeted content for these consumers. In the Kenyan market, VuClip is focused on local Kenyan music, comedy, TV shows alongside Hollywood content, which it sees as popular among consumers.

Regarding content, VuClip did not divulge details on its content arrangements with content providers as far as content acquisition, licensing or revenue sharing goes. It however shared findings of a recent study, it conducted in several markets including Kenya, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates where 90% of respondents from Kenya want a single source for regional and international videos and 79% reported that they prefer content in their native language, which will serve as the basis for the content brought to users.

VuClip has partnered with 10 carriers in India, the Middle East and Southeast Asia and now Africa, who include Airtel, Etisalat and others.  VuClip which,  has 7.5 million subscribers  across nine different countries uses the carrier billing model for payment for its content. This is owing to findings of another study that video content consumption contributes 70% of total data consumption on mobile devices. With users acquiring the data from carriers, it presents an opportunity for both parties to earn. So basically, if you want to access the video content offered on the VuClip platform, you pay for it via your carrier and only then will you be able to access it.

Even so, one cannot ignore the power of Over-the-top services such as Whatsapp and Telegram which allow for fast transfer of video content at relatively no cost besides allowing the content to easily go viral. In addition, YouTube is a popular means through which users in the African continent access Video content. Facebook is increasingly becoming a channel through which its 130 million monthly active users in Africa view video content. So why would anyone pay to watch Video? VuClip says it is offering users a single platform for the best premium content. It cites strategic partnerships with more than 250 top studios around the world that allow users to view Hollywood movies TV shows and music videos in 34 different languages across 25 genres. It further states its Dynamic Adaptive Transcoding™ provides an amazing unbuffered viewing experience to consumers across all mobile devices and on any network.Simply, you are paying for the experience, which frankly, I did not quite enjoy.