Ethio Telecom, the state-owned telecom operator, opens its door for partners which provide streaming services of premium content from various local and international content providers including Netflix, Disney, Amazon Prime, and others.
The company invited interested applicants for streaming/IPTV service providers to submit their proposal for the streaming service provisioning partnership in an international request for proposal issued on Feb 4, 2022.
According to the announcement, the partnership is aimed to enable streaming subscribers to get access to premium content, TV channels, streaming video content, and communication via the internet with electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, TV, computer, and other mediums.
Partners committed to providing the required premium content adhering to intellectual property rights as well as deliver end to end streaming service through integration with Ethio Telecom infrastructure and payment interfaces are being ushered in through the call.
Ethio Telecom also issued another request for proposal for music streaming service providers 12 days after it announced its call for video streaming services.
Applicants will be selected based on their proposal on the technical administration and provision of the service.
“Over the years we have been considering adding a streaming platform to our value-added services, now our infrastructure is capable of providing the service in a better quality,” Mesay Woubshet, Ethio Telecom Communication Head told Addis Zeybe.
The company is looking for streaming service providers who are willing to work on content management and other supporting capacities as well as engage in co-marketing and agree on a revenue-sharing model or reseller modality, according to Mesay.
“The provision of streaming service will provide an opportunity to deliver customers consistent premium entertainment mediums and content and get them updated with recent information and news as well,” He said.
“With its recently upgraded system solutions, the company is also working to introduce similar value-added services in a short period of time.”
Weeks before, Ethio Telecom partnered with an Indian enterprise software company, Subex for a new business assurance solution using the enterprise AI platform HyperSense to enhance decision making through the platform’s ability to operationalize AI at scale.
For professionals in the film and music industry, the active presence of such international multimedia streaming services is also believed to be an asset in motivating the country’s arts industry.
Ethiopian International Film Festival founder, Yirgashewa Teshome said the entrance of international streaming platforms brings a huge opportunity for local filmmakers to reach a wider international audience.
“Ethiopia produces a large number of movies every year. However, our film production is only limited to the local market. Ethiopian movies are featured in local cinema, on youtube or on TV channels; and it is very interesting that such partnership will create an ample opportunity for the Ethiopian film industry,” Yirgashewa told Addis Zeybe.
“This partnership will introduce local films to the international market and will also help in the image building of our country. We can share the stories and identity of our country to the whole world and it will indirectly contribute to the tourism sector.”
As streaming services start to generate billions of dollars from their millions of subscribers in Africa, it became an area of competition among telecom providers in the continent.
“This move by Ethiotelecom can as well be influenced by the entrance of the new competitor Safaricom Ethiopia into the telecom market,” Yirgashewa commented.
Among the most popular video streaming services in Africa , Netflix has the largest number of subscriptions. According to Statista, Netflix has an estimated 2.6 million subscribers by the end of 2021 in Africa.
Similarly, another popular streaming service, Disney+, is also eyeing the African market and planning to reach over two million subscriptions by the end of 2026.
The total number of telecom users in Ethiopia has also reached 50.7 million, recording an 11.2pc growth compared with the figure at the beginning of the current fiscal year. Out of the total user base, 49.8 million are mobile users, while 23.5 million and 309,400 were mobile data users and broadband internet users, respectively. Smartphone penetration has also reached 43.7pc.