A few years ago, most people probably got the majority of their media content from either a tape, VCR, VCD and more recently DVD. Increasingly though, most people receive news and information through video, audio, picture and text sent via social sites or instant messaging apps. Today, video has become more popular and easier to share especially with the advent of YouTube, increased connectivity and better access to broadband. Many users now get the bulk of their content streamed directly to their devices from the cloud.
The connected living room has taken shape and commercial content creators are embracing digital media in a big way. TV stations are already streaming content 24-hours on social media sites. The challenge then has moved from quality commercial content streamed to your TV, smartphone or computer to deciphering what service is the best for your needs.
(TOP: Santos Okottah, founder and CEO, Eziki: Photo:Facebook)
Santos Okottah, founder and CEO of Eziki, the pioneer online Kenyan video streaming company says, “Video on demand is the next big thing in Kenya. Already, the demand is high as more and more organizations realize the power that video offers to interact with their customers, and in real time. More small and medium sized companies are using the service to convert business and communicate to the aspirations of their customers and more so online fans. Media houses are also cognizant of the fact that to remain relevant and break news as it happens, they have to be where the news actually is – which is online. Viral video is without a doubt the best way to do this.”
Santos has been in the video streaming business for five years now. He started off hosting and streaming local audio music for downloads for some of the top producers in Kenya including Calif Records and numerous gospel artists. As the demand for online music service grew and video became popular, he expanded the business to accommodate video streaming. Initially, the service was only available to PC users on YouTube and a large number of people were not able to access the music videos as they mostly watched them on music shows on the free to air stations.
As internet penetration begun to grow in Kenya, Santos saw an opportunity in 2011 to expand his company Eziki to forefront of video-on-demand, a service which still remains largely untapped and mostly dominated by foreign companies. Since inception, Santos has designed and programmed his own streaming software and trained his technicians on how to use it. He has continually adopted it to fit into modern day platforms and can be used on individual company sites and on social media sites such as Facebook live.
His innovation and expertise has earned him partnerships with leading local media houses, events and award ceremonies. His recent portfolio consists of streaming for the state broadcaster KBC top live features such as the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2015 which was headlined by former US President Barrack Obama, the World Trade Organization (WTO) 2016, Rio 2016 Olympics and State House Summit 2016.
Santos has also provided live streaming for the 2015 AITEC Africa’s Broadcast Film and Music Africa Summit, Young Entrepreneurs Expo 2016, 2016 UN Women regional sharefair on gender and resilience under the UN entity for gender equality and empowerment of women, Kenya Fashion Awards 2016, OLX SOMA Awards 2016 and 2016 Edition of Blankets and Wine that was simultaneously live streamed in Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda.
“I foresee a scenario not too many years from today where companies will choose to make major announcements such as annual reports, product launches and media briefings using online streaming services. The convenience for both the messenger and receiver of the message is unmatched. Eziki for example, can loop the streams on the company website or Facebook page meaning that meetings such as media briefings do not have to be timed as the media can catch up with the news whenever they have the time,” adds Santos.
Over the top (OTT) streaming services are already making an entry into the Kenyan market and are upsetting the traditional pay TV model that has existed in Kenya for close to 20 years. As broadband and internet penetration is expected to grow further in the next 5 years upwards from the existing 37.7 million internet users in Kenya, online streaming services such as Eziki may in future also give news networks a run for their money.
Already the digital switch has provided more local stations a platform such as that provided by Eziki to reach millions of people. Santos already hosts 24-hour local free-to-air radio and TV channels including Lolwe TV, Aviation TV, KBC, Coro FM, Iftin Radio, Radio Taifa, General Service (KBC) radio, Radio Mambo, Magharibi TV among others on the Eziki platform.
“As advertising revenues move online, more and more companies will begin to see the need for video streaming. Video streams can be branded and dedicated to specific organizations while at the same time can be shared widely across various platforms through a link, especially via instant messaging apps. The return on ad spend is more as you get more eyeballs to see your advertising. The opportunity for advertisers remains largely untapped. Live video streaming was once a novelty – now streaming linear TV and live events is becoming the norm. Sooner rather than later, real time streaming will overtake traditional Pay TV in popularity,” says Santos.