By Adam Wakefield
The platform in question is Tuluntulu, which in the words of its CEO and founder Pierre van der Hoven is a “free mobile African content platform”.
Van der Hoven says the idea for Tuluntulu came off the back of mobile streaming success internationally, but which was impeded in Africa due to last-mile technology issues.
“Tuluntulu sought to solve those issues in the belief that mobile devices can double as a TV sets, especially in Africa. We wanted Africans to tell the African story themselves, and mobile devices provided the perfect platform to do just that,” Van der Hoven explains.
“The model overcame barriers such as no credits card, no access to electricity, and 'local' African content for all income groups. We are Africans, dedicated to improving the lives of Africans, and Africa was a huge, untapped market.”
Tuluntulu has formed partnerships with content providers such as Al Jazeera, Afridocs, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, and the SABC through its Children and Education channels.
What such partners have to gain from Tuluntulu is its providing of a distribution and monetisation service to new mobile audiences across Africa without them having to invest large sums of money into marketing and developing their own mobile apps.
“Tuluntulu already has traction in the market, and content owners do not have to fight for survival of their own standalone app. Customers want a single app that delivers multiple content offerings, not numerous apps offering a single source of radio or TV,” Van der Hoven explains. “The advertisers want detailed audience analytics, and a platform that delivers substantial audience numbers.”
At present, Van der Hoven says the app has been installed over 400,000 times, with monthly active users numbering approximately 50 000, and “growing rapidly”.
“We aim to grow at more than 10% per month which should deliver us a monthly active user base in the millions within a few years,” Van der Hoven says.
He says the sustainability of Tuluntulu's financial model lies in the platform basically being a free-to-air advertising platform.
“The huge benefit is a mobile device has a return path and therefore awesome user information. There is a lot of content that needs eyes, not money, and Tuluntulu earns carriage fees as a distributor,” Van der Hoven explains. “In time the model will include e-commerce, transactions and other forms of 'interactive' revenue.”
When speaking of marketing opportunities, Van der Hoven says Tuluntulu offers conventional TV advertising, sponsorship and digital advertising opportunities.
“In addition there are also long form content opportunities - programming flighting, content marketing - as well as research and many other ways to interact and engage with our audiences,” he says.
With Africa’s pre-eminence
within the world economy looming ever larger, with its expanding population growth, those involved in media who have invested in the continent’s growth also stand to benefit from Africa’s rise. How Tuluntulu harnesses its position in the market in the near future will be intriguing to watch.