A newly launched local Subscription Video On Demand (SVoD) platform could see the fortunes of local video content producers change for the better.
The platform, Zacu TV, is a web-based video streaming channel that is accessible through subscription, just like popular international video streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus.
Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) is an entertainment programming model where users pay a monthly subscription fee in exchange for instant access to varied video content like movies, TV shows and documentaries.
Presently, the platform streams Rwandan movies, TV series and documentaries, with local movies registering the biggest hits so far.
According to Nelly Wilson Misago, the brains behind Zacu TV, some 100 episodes of Seburikoko, and another 100 for City Maid, two popular local TV series can be accessed on the platform, www.zacutv.com. Also available for streaming is Samantha, another local TV series.
A media personality and the producer of Seburikoko and City Maid, Misago revealed that the idea for Zacu TV came as a result of feedback he received after airing the two series on local TV:
“After producing City Maid and Seburikoko, I had a challenge as people kept asking where they could get those series. You can’t get 300 episodes and put them all on CD. That’s when I thought of a platform that could work just like Netflix.”
“Before, we were posting our movies on Youtube and other social media platforms, and people were enjoying them for free, but now it’s time to think of the producers who produce those movies, so people have to pay a small fee as a way to support them.”
Misago explained that for a start, three packages are being offered: Basic, Standard, and Premium;
“The basic package, or People Pay, goes for $5 (Rwf4,550) per month, and you get another month free. The standard package goes for $20 (Rwf18,200) for six months, while the premium package goes for $30 (Rwf 27,300) and lasts one year.
Payment options include MTN Mobile Money, Visa Card, and Paypal.
Misago described the platform as a “new market” for local video content developers:
“What we do is we buy licenses from the producers of the movies to post them on our platform then we go on the market,’ he explained, adding that at the moment, the biggest subscription base is from the Rwandan diaspora in the US, Canada, and Europe.
“Of course, people in the diaspora are the ones who are familiar with consuming subscription based content, but there are many people in Kigali, Butare and Rubavu who have already subscribed too.”
John Kwezi, a local film producer and president of the Rwanda Film Federation (RFF) described the entry of Zacu TV as a step further in the professionalization of the local film industry:
“It is another avenue for distributing our local film content. This platform will make it easier for our fellow Rwandans in the diaspora to access local content more easily.”
Kwezi is the producer of Umutoma, a popular local film that stars the politician-cum actor Edouard Bamporiki, currently the chairman National Itorero Commission. The film is one of the most sought-after for streaming and download, according to Misago.
In the near future, Misago disclosed, the platform will embark on airing African movies in general as a way of offering more variety to boost their subscription.