StarNews Mobile aims to become Africa’s leading mobile video and news network for Sport, music, food, entertainment, religion and so much more. The CEO Guy Kamgaing shares more details with us in an exclusive interview with TechBullion.
Guy Kamgaing, great to speak with you. Please tell us about yourself and what inspired you to create StarNews Mobile?
Hi! I am Guy Kamgaing, founder and CEO of StarNews Mobile. I am an entrepreneur from Cameroon now living in Santa Monica. I have 20 years of experience in the mobile telecom and media industry primarily within the African market.
I was inspired to develop StarNews Mobile when I realized there was a real need and desire for affordable entertainment content in Africa. I found it necessary to highlight local African celebrities’ rich and original content and allow creators to monetize their fan-bases which has been particularly challenging for artists to accomplish during the pandemic. With StarNews Mobile, we are filling the gap of income generation for content producers in Africa while offering fans with exceptional content.
While the African mobile market is now one of the fastest growing in the world, a large majority of African consumers do not have access to relevant video content due to costly mobile data plans and a lack in services tailored to local markets. Additionally, a lot of services are not paying creators or the other platforms consume so much data that they aren’t suitable nor do their revenue models cater to the marketplace. We knew that the competition was present and worked to create a different product, innovative and accessible to everyone. I was also able to leverage my experience within the local African mobile telecom and entertainment industry in order to establish strong partnerships to bring StarNews Mobile to fruition!
We’d love to learn more about StarNews Mobile, please tell us more.
StarNews Mobile is a one-of-a-kind network of mobile video channels that allows celebrities and brands to reach their fan bases in Africa, the world’s fastest growing mobile market.
We work with popular local and international stars in South Africa and The Ivory Coast such as Fally Ipupa, Serge Beynaud, Lady Ponce and Davido to create exclusive and addictive short videos, behind the scenes and more for fans to enjoy.
We have created strong distribution and marketing partnerships with pan-African mobile operators such as MTN, Orange and Moov — combined with our relationship with local African artists — we are able to deliver simple, affordable and engaging content for fans.
StarNews Mobile is rapidly growing across new countries and territories to reach more fan bases and provide quality video entertainment to the underrepresented mobile users in Africa.
Could you give us a walkthrough of StarNews Mobile and how it works?
We make it incredibly simple and affordable for users to join! Our platform is also intuitive and easy to use. Here is how it works:
- StarNews Mobile works with local and international music, sports or cinema stars to create dedicated and interactive mobile channels
- Partner mobile operators push the channels to their subscribers by SMS or USSD code depending on the country
- StarNew Mobile uses micro-billing to directly bill the user who pays a small daily or weekly fee (fans do not pay for data to use the service)
- Fans subscribe to their favorite celebrities’ channels and receive exclusive content about their daily life, behind the scenes videos, and the opportunity to win concert tickets and even to meet them
- The videos are accessible even without a data package
- Revenues are shared monthly between the mobile operator, StarNews Mobile and the celebrities
- Celebrities are incentivized to produce more exclusive content: the more popular they are, the more money they can earn!
Tell us more about StarNews Mobile’s channels?
We have a ton of fun channels! From celebrities to comedians, to sports and news; there is truly something for everyone on StarNews Mobile. We have also recently launched the StarNews Kidz channel and watching it develop has been very exciting.
StarNews Mobile Channels feature a variety of local African content producers. Check out some of our highlights below:
- Entertainment: Fally Ipupa, Serge Beynaud, Lady Ponce, Davido, Revolution, Force One, SHANL’L, Ramatoulaye DJ, Gohou Michel, Gondwana City
- Lifestyle: Cordon Bleu, Bblack Nollywood, Star Actu, Dr. Winnie Mashaba
- Sports: Flash Foot, Football Classic
Stay tuned! We’re excited to continue rolling out new channels rich with fan favorites in the near future.
How does the video chat with a celebrity on STARCALL work?
StarCall took off really well in West Africa– every day a celebrity can call one or more of their favorite fans who will have the opportunity to ask the celeb 3 questions. The subscribers called will be selected according to how much they participate with StarNews (their number of points, how often they engage with StarNews and their comments, etc). At the end of the call, the subscriber will receive a credit of 1000F or other prizes. Each week, the caller of the week is selected and wins a special prize– The video call will also air on the celebrity’s StarNews channel.
What is the market size of the global digital news market and what is the level of demand for a platform like StarNews Mobile?
The market size is huge– we are aiming to grow into a 400M person footprint supported by our telco partners. StarNews has been showing explosive growth so we think the demand is certainly there for a product like this.
How much funding has StarNews Mobile received and what are your future plans for investment?
So far we’ve raised 1.8M in a pre-A round led by both I&P and Expert Dojo and have some exciting announcements planned on the investment front, so you’ll have to stay tuned 😉
Tell us about StarNews Mobile’s current partnerships?
We have an amazing roster of partnerships including the largest pan-African mobile operators, artists and entertainment groups who have all been extremely pivotal in the launch and continual growth of StarNews Mobile.
Our partnership with MTN, Orange and Moov telecom providers are the backbone of StarNew Mobile. These operators allow us to reach and deliver content to mobile users. As we continue to add new operators, we are able to grow and reach new audiences across the world.
On the celebrity side, we knew there was a strong following in Africa for local artists Fally Ipupa, Serge Beynaud, Lady Ponce and Davido. With the introduction to StarNews Mobile, artists were eager to get started when they realized the opportunity to reach broader audiences, develop high caliber videos and make more money.
Recently, we inked deals with Sony Entertainment Africa and Universal Music Africa to promote Ivorian artists; create targeted, quality video content that their fans crave; and ultimately provide these creators with new streams of revenue. Additionally, with the launch of our partnership with Sony, we added four new artists to the network and expanded our offerings within Cameroon, Congo and Gabon!
This month we are launching the StarNews Mobile Youth Initiative Incubator in partnership with Solutions on Point Ltd. to empower young individuals interested in the digital film industry by offering mentorship, entrepreneurial guidance and career opportunities to advance them out of the poverty threshold.
Are there opportunities for investors and partners at StarNews Mobile?
There’s always room and opportunity for both investors and partners– we’re growing at a significant rate so anyone looking to invest in or partner with us should feel free to reach out: https://www.starnewsmobile.com/contact/.
Could you tell us about your team and customer support?
We have a great team here in LA and in Paris as well as stakeholders in different regions across Africa along with a dedicated team in every country we’ve launched in that are here to help us communicate with our partners and users. They are also a bridge between operators, content providers and us. Locally, we have a dedicated number where users can mention any issues they potentially encounter or provide any feedback.