Technology is changing the face of home entertainment in Afrika, with streaming becoming the primary revenue driver for both music and video. Budget films created on the continent are also using this medium to more exposure for their art. Even the gaming industry offers online variants to traditional options in this increasingly connected world. Virtual reality is another example of a new technology where the user can experience and interact in a three-dimensional environment through a specialized headset and controller.
However, there are challenges faced with the spread of technology on the Afrikan continent. Access to devices that can support immersive content plus the cost of data as well as how much disposable income individuals can allocate to technology and entertainment have a significant impact. Although the financial services industry is improving, which includes cross-border transactions, these are constrained in some cases because of the different systems that are not integrated. The result of this is that consumers are not always able to make online payments.
Flutterwave is an innovative solution to counteract this. It is designed for banks and businesses to process payments across the continent whereby consumers can pay in their local currencies. Another feature is that money can be sent from the U.S. to a mobile money wallet from an integrated platform.
It cannot be denied that there has been an increase in Afrika’s entertainment industry pushed by innovators and partially thanks to improving Internet connectivity that is becoming more affordable. The traditional distribution channels are also changing. For example, Ugandan film director, Isaac Nabwana, has shown how to produce an action film every month for less than $200. These film industry pioneers know well [how to make video content engaging](https://www.iafrikan.com/2018/03/25/why-some-videos-are-far-more-engaging-than-others-2/].
Filming a Nollywood movie. | Bestvillage/Wikimedia
The world’s premier entertainment service for new markets, iflix, has recognized this thirst for fresh content in Afrika. They stream or make desired entertainment available for download for low monthly fees on any device. The new service is a likely result of the entertainment industry on the continent ballooning, especially in Kenya and Nigeria as well as South Africa.
In fact, in 2016, music purchases reached R2.2 billion ($162 million), with a 9 percent increase in revenues in Nigeria at $39 million. Kenya increased its revenues by 5.8 percent to $20 million. The social media revolution has encouraged the spread of the Afrobeat genre worldwide, bringing Afrikan music globally as well as throughout the Afrikan diaspora.
Project Morpheus. | Official GDC/Twitter
The use of AR and VR is also pushing the demand for innovative and immersive content. There is a community of creatives and technologists called AR/VR Africa established to make a difference in this area of technology. In general, young Afrikan entrepreneurs, inspired by Silicon Valley, are intent on producing innovations to benefit communities on the continent.
Innovators are creating solutions to overcome the technological constraints that exist in some parts of Afrika. While traditional distribution channels are not always effective, this challenge has been answered by those who recognize that mobile strategies are a viable alternative.
The film and gaming industries are evolving as a result.
As transformation occurs across all activities, immersive solutions like VR and AR are also helping to change the face of entertainment on the Afrikan continent.