Uganda’s film industry under their umbrella body, Pearlwood has renewed optimistim in the profitability of the industry following a partnership with leading telecom MTN Uganda which will cut the former’s marketing costs by 60 per cent.
Recently, MTN Uganda in partnership with Albayan Media Limited, the platform provider through the YOTV mobile app and the Association of Core Film Producers Uganda Limited trading as Pearlwood launched Kibanda Xpress, a channel housing local Ugandan movies.
The partnership is expected to boost consumption of local content and in turn revenues of film makers since Kibanda Xpress through Yo Tv has vast reach in different parts of the country.
Marketing and distribution challenge
Seasoned film producer and speaker on the pearlwood board of directors, Mzee Bwanika Julius said whereas there was demand for the local films, film makers were not realizing income from their creative works.
“The film industry had a problem, we make the content, customers watch the content and even though they paid money to watch the content, it would not reach the makers. Customers were getting frustrated, they support you but they do not see you grow,” Bwanika explained.
The divide, he says was leading to disheartening and frustration of the film makers who invest a lot and barely earn from their investment.
In addition, the film industry will not suffer with huge investment costs as MTN Uganda shoulders the marketing costs which comprise 60 per cent of film production.
“MTN is promoting localcontent. It is one thing to make a film and it is another to promote it. When MTN promotes a film, it is a big budget meaning many people will know about it. Usually for a film budget, production can cost about 40 per cent and find that marketing accommodates the 60 per cent so MTN is actually taking up the burden of the 60 per cent,” he noted.
The movie makers, producers and video jockeys approached MTN in 2019 following a repeated challenge of lack of a home for Ugandan local movies and streamlined distribution network.
According to Mzee Bwanika, MTN welcomed the lot who at the time had nothing but a dream to offer and in 2020, the idea kibanda Xpress was born.
“We are glad that MTN did not look at our status quo because we were nothing but it looked at our dream. We wanted company that could see the big dream and that was MTN,” he narrates.
Future of local film industry
Mzee Bwanika believes that owing to the MTN partnership culminating into kibanda Xpress on Yo Tv, the public within 6 months or a year will realize the great impact of MTN to Uganda’s local film industry.
He also says that the film industry has committed to produce adequate and quality work for the audience such that they can spur growth of the industry.
In conclusion, Mzee Bwanika believes that now that the local film industry has its own identity and local distribution network, it is destined for soaring heights in the future.
How Kibanda Xpress works
Kibanda Xpress” is a partnership between the Telecom Company and PearlWood, an association of local film producers. Kibanda Xpress is available on YoTV channels, a mobile app that allows one to stream local and international Radio and TV channels in real time via a smartphone.
Kibanda Xpress features over 150 Ugandan movies and will live stream premiers of new movies as well other local entertainment content providing customers with entertainment conveniently and affordably anywhere and everywhere you go with just the click of a button on your phone
The service launched with a promotional subscription offer of Ugx1,000 per movie valid for a period of 24 hours and every month there will be at least 4 new movies. A customer will be charged via their MTN MoMo account
To watch a movie on Kibanda Express, follow these steps:
- Step1: Download and install the Yotv app from Playstore and Appstore.
- Step2: Subscribe and Login to the Yotv app, Select VOD.
- Step3: Browse and select the Movie of your choice then follow prompts to complete payment.