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Internet movie startup Wabona moves to subscription based model

wabona-subscriptionWabona, a South African based online move startup founded by two Zimbabwean last year has moved from a per movie payment model to a monthly subscription based one. In an email to their customers, co-founders Simba Mabasha and Simukayi Makuna announced the change over the weekend.

Users of the service will now be charged a US $5.99 all-you-can-eat monthly fee. Previously, the service was based on credit vouchers whose value would be deducted per each movie watched.

The change comes along with a redesign of the site and addition of some new movies. The new movies include those from West Africa, specifically Cameroonian. There’s still noticeably not many movies though on the site; a total of 23 as far as we could tell.

When we communicated with the startup over email last month we expressed concern whether there was enough digital content outside of West Africa, and Mukuna said there’s increasingly more content from east and southern Africa. Seeing however that they have now moved to West Africa this may mean there’s either not enough internet ready content in the South and Eastern Africa, or the rights are harder to secure.

Wabona competes with iROKOtv (Nigerian-based), Buni TV (Kenya based), (France based) amoung other smaller players.

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7 thoughts on “Internet movie startup Wabona moves to subscription based model

  1. Why not let wabona users access the site free (watch free movies), you Simba Mabasha and Simukayi Makuna make revenue from adverts. In Zim pirated African movies are available on every street -for 50cents u get 3 or more movies on a single disk..(generalizing)

  2. I think the subscription model is certainly the way to go. To survive let alone thrive, I think it’s inevitable for they will have to get into Nollywood coz that’s were the volumes (of films & viewers) are. They can add content from other regions like SA & Southern African countries as the cherry on top.

  3. Good luck to these people…currently the entertainment business is not an easy one to make money from as its still realling from the death of DVD and is now trying to find a viable solution to make the same amounts of money that they were making a few years back all whilst keeping the customers and the movie studios happy!

    With this subscription model, customers may now be attracted to the site but if they don’t come in their volumes, how much will Wabona be paying the makers of these movies?…Or are the licensing the movies for free?

  4. Thanks for the mention and article. Thanks to your community for some great feedback. Wabona is in the process of signing content deals for over 3,100 hours of African movie and television series content. Our overarching goal is to provide a very rich and diverse content library encompassing Africa’s complex cultures and societies.

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