Yesterday my attention was drawn to a really interesting recent development. Airtel has gone full scale into the content delivery business with the launch of its N5 Entertainment Store.

It seems content delivery is the in thing with the telcos now. MTN partnered with Dobox to deliver videos. Airtel and Etisalat offer free data with Solo Music. I’m yet to see anything from Glo though.

But the Airtel N5 Entertainment Store looked to me too good to be true. What, video downloads at N5 each and no extra data charges? I had to try that for myself. To my utmost surprise, it actually works. Just this morning, I downloaded 4 videos at N5 each, a total of 16 MB in size, and only 1MB of my data balance was deducted, obviously for browsing the pages.

While I have my reservations about video quality – the longer the video, the annoyingly greater the pixelation, which is probably an issue for only “videophiles” like myself – and ignoring the fact that none of the videos in the collection exceeds the 5-minute mark, this thing actually works. I don’t know exactly why I should be surprised that it actually works but I am all the same. A few questions have been running through my mind though.

First is the array of videos the store has, including  music, comedy, Nollywood and football, all not more than 5 minutes in duration. Aside the music videos, comedy and football highlights, I can’t place much value to the other categories of sub-5-minute videos. But the question is, where is Airtel licensing all these videos from? Do they have the rights to sell these videos at N5 each?


There doesn’t seem to be any Digital Rights Management in place. I was able to transfer all downloads to another device and play. The people Airtel supposedly licensed these videos from, are they aware of this? Are they cool with it?

What is the catch for Airtel? Like what is the revenue share like for each N5 download. Does any money go to the content owners or all of it goes to Airtel? And is this just one big experiment for Airtel? Maybe they’re testing out the viability of a bigger product. These are some of the many questions boggling my mind right now.

Attempts to get comments from Airtel have yielded no response.

Muyiwa Matuluko Author

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