Ijeoma Onah

By Moses Nosike

Online video streaming has taken a life of its own. It is now the rave of the moment – giving fillip to Marshall McLuhan’s insight many years ago that, someday, technology will beyond the ‘extension of man’, bring the world to his doorstep, in fact, to his palm.

Before now, some people argue that technology influences social life in a predetermined manner termed as technological determinism. Others argue otherwise. So, it is safer to agree that the relationship between technology and society is intertwined and interdependent for the benefit of man.

However, the speed with which technology is changing our lifestyles, including what we watch, and how we watch and experience entertainment, is enthralling. One would think it has always been like this. With every change in our lifestyle, occasioned by technological transformation, we sit in easily to embrace and adapt it as a way of life. Video streaming has not always been the way it is. “When you consider how routinely we access contents like App on YouTube, it’s hard to believe that not long ago it was virtually impossible to view or transmit video of any kind over the internet.

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According to Forbes Technology Council member, Addul Rahman, there just wasn’t the bandwidth or the speed available in the early days to make it feasible. “This is made possible by advances in technology which now makes streaming services allow users to directly transmit media anywhere, at any time. It is noted that the development of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, AI, 5G, Cloud, and others, allow streamer providers to deliver optimal streaming services to their users. For instance, AI is allowing content producers to make quality content like never before. Moreover, cloud-based video streaming solutions are increasing the reach of video content, which is further influencing the market growth.

The outbreak of the coronavirus became one of the major impetuses in the demand for online video streaming as more people stayed out home, and also had the need for more entertainment experiences. Forbes reports that internet streaming and usage figures show that, as the pandemic placed a quarter of the world’s population under lockdown, millions of people went online for entertainment and more. Total internet hits have surged by between 50% and 70%, according to preliminary statistics. Streaming has also jumped by at least 12%, estimates show. Report published by OMedia earlier in April, 2020 indicates that increased consumption of digital content from mobile apps to TV and gaming also took place in China and Italy, with a possible increase in online traffic of as much as 50% in the two countries. Meanwhile, Nigerian companies appear to have shied away from this boom in the industry. But SuperTV mustered the muscle to boldly enter the market with superb consumer offerings and superlative market entry strategy”.

In addition, SuperTV Acting CEO and Chief Content Strategist, Ijeoma Onah, said, “for me, the entry of SuperTV in the online video streaming business is a bold move on behalf of Nigerians, in fact Africans, even as she acknowledged that the introduction of internet streaming, no doubt, has made it easy for people to watch movies across the world especially those who have access to the internet. “Today, anyone can watch or download video from their homes or the comfort of their office with something as small as a smartphone.” But she is concerned that in other to do this, consumers must have a smartphone with internet connection, data and subscription in tow. 

This still put constraints on some consumers who guard their data jealously. Data is essential and comes with a price tag, which is why it is always an issue especially in this part of the world – and that is the key proposition for Onah and her SuperTV.

That is why Ijeoma Onah and her team launched the SuperTV brand – a new video on demand and Live TV streaming platform with “Zero Data” or subscription. This innovation, according to the Acting CEO, is targeted at making it possible for millions of Nigerians and Africans, in the first instance, to access affordable video streaming experiences in a most conducive atmosphere. “Nigeria currently has about 173 million mobile subscribers with a penetration rate of 123%. Smartphone penetration is 40 million – forecasted to grow to more than 140 million by 2025. In spite of these very impressive numbers, Nigeria is still performing very poorly in the streaming markets, hardly even showing up in global statistics. The major reason for this is that the average Nigerian cannot afford the data costs required to stream video. This is how and why SuperTV was conceived, to democratise streaming in Nigeria and Africa,” said Onah.

Accordingly, this ‘democratisation of streaming’ entails that the subscriber does not incur internet data charges to stream after subscribing for SuperTV. “The user gets to enjoy either Live TV, Video on Demand or both at absolutely no additional cost after subscribing successfully. They have access to TV Everywhere with MTN network coverage. We also leveraged on the sachet culture in Nigeria by providing daily plans across all our bouquets thereby making the service affordable and inclusive for everyone. Our entry level price of N200 for the Bronze Daily plan is about the cost of a bottle of soft drink for example. SuperTV therefore offers great entertainment and an affordable viewing experience,” Onah added.

To further assure Nigerians, the Acting CEO stressed that the brand has expectantly looked forward to the launch, just like a mother would expect the birth of her new baby for nine months. The brand believes there is a large market for affordable entertainment on demand anywhere and SuperTV will serve this large unmet need in Nigeria. Since internet data is too expensive to stream for most of the market, especially over mobile, and also a limited number of entertainment options for the bulk of the market, the SuperTV option becomes the radical game changer that most Nigerians earnestly yearn for. When our erratic power supply challenge that disrupts traditional television-viewing is thrown into the mix, SuperTV becomes the unavoidable option.

To this end, SuperTV will be disruptive in its market entry strategy. “Disruption,” according to Onah, describes where we have come to challenge the status quo and the existing players in the industry. Our key lever of the disruption is the technology that we have pioneered that allows us to offer what no existing player is offering, which is entertainment at zero data. we bring flexible subscription plans and bouquets affordable prices. This possibility that we offer makes us attractive to an often-overlooked segment of the economy, who have previously been constrained due to the cost outlay involved in streaming, as well as restrictions imposed by bouquet structures which leaves little or no room to manouvre.

SuperTV is an affordable service that enables users stream videos and live TV with Zero Data. The relative ease to which access is gained to the SuperTV platform enables consumers to watch movies for a day or few hours in a day, a luxury previously not possible to those subscribers. 

SuperTV is disruptive because it eliminates the cost of data, and will turn non streamers into streamers.

It then appears that the SuperTV management is up on strategy, especially for a market such as Nigeria, and the rest of Africa. This would be the reason they introduced the sachet pricing formulae. SuperTV is an affordable service that enables users stream videos and live TV with “Zero Data,” plus (amongst other things) purchase ‘sachet’ packages with smaller one-time or recurring payments to gain access to the platform for lengths as short as a single day, offering customers greater flexibility and convenience to enjoy the services anywhere with MTN network coverage in Nigeria. These, coupled with very delightful content offerings, provide an unbeatable mix for the target market.

SuperTV is thus disruptive because it eliminates the cost of data which has been the major constraint, especially for low-end and new-market foothold – that is – users that previously would not consider streaming due to costs as well as other circumstances. The platform in itself will turn non streamers into streamers. A good case of this is from the early days of photocopying technology; Xerox targeted large corporations and charged high prices in order to provide the performance that those customers required. 

Small outfits like catering services, school librarians, consultants, and other small customers, priced out of the market, made do with carbon paper or mimeograph machines. Then in the late 1970s, new challengers introduced personal copiers, offering an affordable solution to individuals and small organizations—and a new market was created. From this relatively modest beginning, personal photocopier makers gradually built a major position in the mainstream photocopier market that Xerox valued.

The Chief Content Strategist stated that one of the major reasons hampering most Nigerians from online streaming is the cost of data: “data is expensive; so, we thought of, and conceived the idea, to have TV streaming without data constraint. This hasn’t been done before now – an IPTV streaming platform that works without internet/data. This is the story of imagination and innovative mindset that offers entertainment across socio economic classes, across barriers, and without borders. This is putting customers squarely at the center of our imagination.”

She added that SuperTV being launched on the MTN network means that over 80 million Nigerians stand on the threshold of accessing the world through the SuperTV App. Onah invites savvy Nigerian youths to explore this new experience of streaming without a subscription cost and the use of data. “A lot of people watch the usage of their data. 

Data is valuable to Nigerians, and without it people cannot function effectively in this digital world. Even though the cost of data subscription is being discounted, data is still an area watched out for by customers, which is why SuperTV is disruptive, as this is a new phenomenon in Nigeria. Most subscription packages in the market offer entertainment mostly on monthly subscription. SuperTV, in addition to monthly package, also offers entertainment packages that are hourly/daily and very flexible. In order to be relevant across borders and barriers, our products will be focused on making life easier for everyone. You can watch great entertainment through SuperTV at affordable cost.”

She noted further that subscription on SuperTV will open up access to inclusiveness in entertainment without barriers. Since the use of smart devices is evolving, the SuperTV brand will be uniquely opening the doors of access, communication and participation on the global stage.

The benefits of using streaming media are enormous, according to the Onah. TV Streaming can save subscribers money. No monthly rental fees for digital boxes as they can watch programmes when they want, on their schedules and demands. With its market entry strategy, it can be projected that SuperTV will literally take over the TV viewing world by storm, to transform the Over-the-Top (OTT) viewing experience as millions of Nigerians cut the cord and switch over to online streaming services, to get access to their preferred pay TV channels via live streaming, because of its convenience and ubiquity.

As a brand that has a lot on its sleeve for its consumers, Onah says: “one of our offers is convenience, now you can choose whatever you want and watch them whenever you want, wherever you want and as often as you want. 

Secondly, we offer connectivity without data or subscription and our pocket friendly cost will ensure you’re on top of the game always. A wide and almost endless variety of movies, TV shows, news, sports, classic TV series are provided on our platform including.”

With streaming, consumers easily access their ability to discover, search and be exposed to so many different programmes and genres that didn’t exist before now. Today, the internet is increasingly becoming the default mode in which TV is consumed. Streaming’s challenge to the established order also removes the frustration of having to wait to talk about shows.

The ubiquity of digital media players has continued to be updated and new generations released. Access to television programming has also evolved from computer and television access, to also include mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Apps for mobile devices started to become available via app stores in 2008. 

These mobile apps allow users to view content on mobile devices that support the apps. The new SuperTV app is however in a league of its own as it blazes the trail in streaming without internet or data.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.