Comedian, media personality and political aspirant Jalang’o has no qualms pushing the entrepreneurial limits that hold back so many of Kenya’s talented creatives.
He spun his fame from TV and radio into an events management business, a lucrative influencing career, corporate MC gigs and the online channel Jalang’o TV which since its launch in mid-2020 has become one of the top YouTube channels, with close to half a million subscribers as of August 13, 2021.
The Kiss FM presenter’s latest venture, however, is one of his biggest yet. Jalang’o disclosed how he put together a team of technology, content and business development experts to bring to life one of his ideas, a homegrown video platform offering local creators an alternative to YouTube, complete with its own monetization options. Enter JTube.
Unveiled by Jalang’o this week, JTube has been attracting sign-ups from hundreds of creators and new videos are being posted everyday. Its visibility has been buoyed by the founder’s star power and influence in creative circles as Jalang’o invited many of Kenya’s popular YouTube creators to join the platform.
JTube’s big value proposition for local creators is the promise of an extra revenue stream with higher earnings and faster pay-outs compared to YouTube.
They plan to achieve this with a model that has less stringent monetization requirements – prioritizing quality original content over factors like watch time and subscribers when calculating a creator’s earnings. YouTube requires a channel to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch-time hours to be eligible for monetization while on JTube, each channel is monetizable upon signing up and publishing content.
Just like YouTube, it is supported by ads on the platform. Creators can also insert un-skippable ads in their videos. JTube intends to connect creators to clients and handle the monetization of videos.
Another monetization option the platform offers is licensing. Jalang’o gave the example of use of creators’ content by media houses – where the media houses would have to pay a licensing fee for the content via JTube to use it.
Jalang’o revealed that creators would be entitled to 80% of revenues generated from their content with the platform keeping 20 per cent.
“It (Revenue) is not about views or watch-time. We are selling your content directly to clients,” he highlighted.
It also incorporates a system to handle copyright infringement claims, with users able to flag videos violating copyright policies.
However, a number of pertinent questions remain unanswered particularly on revenues, timelines and pay-outs. While there are clear formulas and policies by Google-owned YouTube showing how earnings are calculated by factoring in watch times, subscribers, CPMs and more, JTube has so far offered little in the way of detailed info on its monetization formulas.
CPM stands for cost per thousand impressions and is used to measure how many people an advert or marketing piece has left an impression on.
Questioned at a press conference on JTube’s CPMs and other metrics that determine revenue – Jalang’o only reiterated that they planned to cut out barriers to make it as easy as possible to monetize content and reap the benefits quickly.
“What we want is to make sure that people make money very fast. We won’t care how many followers or subscribers you have, you won’t be struggling for all these things. Just create great content, great content sells whether you have subscribers or you don’t,” he asserted.
As of August 13, JTube’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section also highlights important questions but offers literally no answers as to how and when creators are being paid.
Regardless of the challenges, Jalang’o is determined to make JTube one of the biggest tube sites in Kenya eating into YouTube’s market share. Other players have also been venturing into the digital video space in Kenya, including Safaricom which this year launched its BAZE platform
The 2022 Lang’ata MP aspirant stated: “Some of these things are dreams and dreams start like this. You never know, this could be our next biggest tube in this country.”