Mobile telecoms company MTN in Uganda has launched a video-on-demand (VoD) channel dedicated to local films called Kibanda Xpress.
Aimed at boosting the local film industry, the service has launched in partnership with the Association of Core Film Producers Uganda, trading as Pearlwood, alongside Albayan Media, the platform provider for the YOTV mobile app.
YOTV allows consumers to stream local and international radio and TV channels in real time via smartphones.
The Kibanda Xpress channel will feature over 150 Ugandan movies and live-stream other local entertainment content.
MTN Uganda chief marketing officer Sen Somdev said: “In 2020, globally there was unprecedented growth in online video usage with revenues estimated at US$34bn, of which premium VoD accounted for at least US$630m. Africa is gradually making its mark on the global entertainment industry with its vast talent and unique flavour of storytelling.
“We recognise the potential of the movie industry to create employment, to reposition the African narrative and positively contribute to the national GDP. Through Kibanda Xpress, we hope to boost the Uganda film industry to realise that potential.”
Mzee Bwanika, speaking for Pearlwood’s board of directors, added: “Our dream as local film content creators is to build a sustainable industry in which content creators not only earn consistently from their content, but one in which they also thrive and gain the global visibility deserved.
“Without doubt, going digital is the right move for the industry; it will reduce copyright infringements, increase the footprint of the Uganda movies and expose our artists globally among others. We are therefore very excited and appreciate our partners MTN and Albayan Media for making this possible.”
Aggrey Mugisha, YOTV channels CEO, said: “YOTV channels is a platform for our local content. We are here to tap different storytelling techniques from around Uganda and share them with global audiences. There is a unique tradition of storytelling in every country and, if it can be captured on film, then through YOTV channels we can share it with the world.
“Pearlwood is a great example that our local movie industry can be global, and that Uganda is a great entertainment market for the rest of the world.”
Kibanda Xpress can be accessed via the YOTV app from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.