Early this month, MTN Uganda launched Kibanda Xpress, a Video on Demand (VOD) channel on the YoTV Channels app from which its customers can access a plethora of Home-grown Ugandan entertainment content. While launching the channel, MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer Sen Somdev, told journalists that through Kibanda Xpress, the telco hopes to boost the Uganda film industry —for the industry to realize its potential.
To understand more about Kibanda Xpress, Sen enlightens more about this initiative in a brief interview.
What is Kibanda Xpress?
Kibanda Xpress is a new Video on Demand channel that MTN Uganda has launched as a distribution channel for local Ugandan content especially Ugandan Films. The service is provided in partnership with the Association of Core Film Producers Uganda Limited (trading as PEARLWOOD) as the content creators and Albayan Media Limited the platform provider through the YoTV Channel mobile app.
What does this mean to an ordinary person out there?
Kibanda Xpress is a channel where Ugandan movie producers will upload their movies and then the public can access and watch them from anywhere —conveniently and affordably. This will eliminate on the practice that has been of people going to local movie shops and buying or renting a movie which is literally the only distribution channel for Ugandan movies. But now if you are out there and you are a lover of local Ugandan movies, Kibanda Xpress is a channel through which you can get Ugandan movies by the click of a button on your phone. If you are stuck in traffic in a taxi, or you are travelling on a long journey and you get bored on the way or even while you are just ‘chilling’ at home, you simply log onto YoTV channels app, select VOD and choose a movie to enjoy. It’s that simple.
What does it mean for the local movie industry?
For the local Film content creators, they now have an opportunity 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 on the copyrights infringement, increase footprint of the Uganda movies, expose our artists globally among others.
Is there potential in Uganda’s movie Industry?
At MTN, we recognize 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 realize that potential.
Let me put this in perspective; in 2020, globally there was unprecedented growth in online video usage with revenues estimated at USD$34 billion of which premium video on demand accounted for at least USD$630 million. The pandemic contributed significantly towards this shift to VOD as it did with many other things. Africa can and is gradually making its mark on the global entertainment industry with its vast talent and unique flavor of storytelling. We are not short of stories in Africa and we must tell them sustainably. This is the opportunity that this provides for the industry.
How much is it to watch a movie on Kiband Xpress, and does one need extra data to watch?
We have launched the channel with a promotional price of UGX1000 for a movie. Your subscription to a movie comes with data already embedded so you won’t require any additional data to watch the movie. That’s how affordable this is. Also, when you pay that money, the movie you select to watch is available to you for 24 hours before the subscription expires.
How much content or how many movies are available on Kibanda Xpress to attract people to watch?
Kibanda Xpress already 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. And every month, at least four new movies will be added onto the channel. So there is really already so much content and much more will be added on.
So how can one access these movies?
As explained earlier, Kibanda Xpress is available on the YoTV Channel app. If you don’t have the app installed on your phone, it is readily available for download on Android (Google Playstore) and iOS (App store). Once you have the app installed, subscribe/signup so you can login.
Once you have logged in, select VOD, then browse through the selection, and select the movie of your choice then follow prompts to complete payment which is done with mobile money.