The TRUE AFRICA 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today.
Tonjé Bakang is the founder of Afrostream, a video-streaming company which is aiming to be the Netflix for African and African-American audiences. They launched in September and the service is currently available in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Senegal and the Côte d’Ivoire. They’ve already got broadcasting rights for more countries. 2,000 people signed up to Afrostream months before its launch, which earned them about US$100,000 in just four weeks. The Cameroonian and French entrepreneur, who helped on film and music video shoots as a teen, tells us about his plans to make films in the future.
Are you hoping to become the middleman between viewers and content producers with Afrostream?
No. Afrostream’s model cancels the need for a middleman. I’m an outsider. We broadcast content that attracts audiences. In the long run, Afrostream would develop into a studio. It’s the most logical follow-up to our enterprise. Once our team grows and we’ve harnessed enough data about our audience, we want to be able to offer and cater content that our viewers want. Our magazine is still under construction but it is just a matter of time and buying rights. What we promise is the best of Afro-content. Our aim is to serve our audience, so we’re not setting any barriers or limitations.
How have Africans reacted to Afrostream?
The three countries we heard the most from were Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Nigeria. The Senegalese audience is hungry for Senegalese content. I was surprised to have such positive response from Nigeria since they already have a strong market. But I guess the public appreciate the values of Afrostream. Unlike other platforms what we have to offer isn’t an African perspective but an Afro-global perspective.
Who is your African of the year?
I would say Arthur Zang, I’m really impressed by him. He is trying to revolutionise medicine. He has got so many obstacles working against him: government, the cost of tech… you name it! He is striving and succeeding in a context that is very difficult. He is my African of the year: working hard to save lives whilst having a hard time getting funds.
Follow Afrostream on Twitter @afrostream
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