Kenyan Entrepreneur Changing How Films Are Consumed In Africa

Movie Mtaani is an online platform that has been existence for the past nine months. It was launched in mid-2017. Movie Mtaani aggregates Kenyan movies for easy access and viewership as well as the promotion of Kenyan films.

This company has three employees, Edwin Mbugua, the CEO and founder Dave Ngiri, the marketing manager and Collins Mugala, the production manager. The team has experience in IT, film production and distribution.

We caught up with Edwin Mbugua the founder, to learn about the inspiration to launch the platform and their future plans. 

                                                               Edwin Mbugua - CEO and Co-Founder 

Startup Grind: What was the motivation to begin Movie Mtaani? 

Edwin Mbugua: The idea for Movie Mtaani came out of curiosity and the need to easily access locally produced films. I would get a lot of queries from film producers on the different distribution channels they could take advantage of. The available channels at that time were media stations or YouTube.

I ended up online and I discovered that the challenge our films face is that they are scattered everywhere. Having this information, I brainstormed with a close friend on the idea of having a central place for Kenyan movies and that is how Movie Mtaani was born.

Startup Grind: How did you raise money to run Movie Mtaani?

Edwin Mbugua:  The seed capital to build Movie Mtaani came from the founders personal savings. In order to sustain the platform, we are planning to run adverts and premium content. We will also have movie nights where we will partner with film producers to showcase their films at selected places, for example, we are planning to hold the first ever Kisumu Movie Night on June 3rd at Dunga Hill Camp.

Startup Grind: What is the biggest challenge to pulling off such a platform?

Edwin Mbugua: The main challenge has been the cost of getting the content from film producers, especially for exclusive content.

Startup Grind: How do you market? What channels work best?

Edwin Mbugua:  Currently, the movies are marketed through our social media platforms with a lot of focus on Facebook and Twitter and through our subscriber's mail list.

Startup Grind: How do you select movies to feature?

Edwin Mbugua:  We have a film producer who reviews the submitted movies for quality purposes which are then uploaded to the platform. We have old and new releases ranging from action, drama, comedies and TV series. The films have been filmed in English, Swahili, Kikuyu, Luo, Kisii and other languages.

Startup Grind: How do the film industry players benefit?

 Edwin Mbugua:  Film producers benefit when they lease their content to us for an agreed fee for a certain time as well as for the upcoming films we spread the word out there giving visibility. With our platform, we give a level playing field to both experienced and upcoming film producers. 

Startup Grind: How is the movie culture like in Nairobi and Kenya? What more can Kenyans do to support the movie culture?

Edwin Mbugua: The movie culture in Nairobi used to be vibrant some time back in the days when people used to flock cinemas to watch international films. Now things are again starting to look up with Kenyan films getting acceptance. Looking at Kenya, we have a tendency of giving preference to international movies giving blame that we can’t access our movies. Movie Mtaani tends to change this narrative by aggregating Kenyan movies for easy access and viewership as well as promoting Kenyan films.

How Kenyans can support the movie culture is to first appreciate our own by watching our own films when they premier -- borrowing from Nigeria (Hollywood) and India (Bollywood).

Kenyan movies have shown that they have are world class by the various international awards received the likes of Kati Kati, Pumzi and recently Watu Wote.

Startup Grind: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs in the movie streaming space?

Edwin Mbugua:  Within the short time, we have been in existence knowing what your audience wants is key.

Startup Grind: What is the big dream?

 Edwin Mbugua:  Movie Mtaani aspires to showcase Kenyan talent not only Kenya but to Africa and the world at large one film at a time.

Startup Grind: What can schools do to prepare their students to join the Film & TV industry?

Edwin Mbugua:  Partnering with industry players and institutions so as to equip students with current skills as film and Tv industry is dynamic. 

Startup Grind: Can someone purchase the movies? Will there be a premium platform in the future?

Edwin Mbugua: Yes. We are currently building a feature where subscribers can purchase the movies. The platform will have both freemium and premium exclusive Kenyan content as we continue stocking our content library.

Startup Grind: What is your parting shot?

Edwin Mbugua:  The demand for Kenyan films is there going by the feedback we are receiving within the short period launched and it is with these that we aim to showcase to our subscribers both online and offline.

“Look out for Kisumu movie night happening at Dunga hill camp on June 3rd, 2018 featuring Kenyan films.”