[Interview] Henrik Barck, Founder and CEO, Afripods, Kenya
Henrik Barck is the Founder and CEO of Afripods, an African focused platform for podcasters with head office in Nairobi, Kenya. Over the past decade, there has been a steady rise in podcasts in Africa. Podcasts have become mainstream way for people and even businesses to share their message with the world. Afripods is building a platform for African podcasters to distribute and share their work with listener across the world
Kindly give us a brief introduction of your company and what it does?
Afripods wants to Amplify Africa by becoming the leading African podcast studio and distribution platform connecting creators, listeners and advertisers digitizing storytelling on the continent based on innovative technical solutions.
What challenges are Afripods trying to address?
We want to be a driving force on developing podcasting, or as we like to call it audio or radio on demand, to better explain what it is about. This new and in the near future leading digital media channel on the African continent will give a voice to anyone that has a mobile phone and Afripods wants to be the leading digital distribution partner and more importantly work to also create revenues for the podcast creators.
What are the ambitions of the company going forward?
Afripods head office is in Nairobi where we now are hiring senior management to be in charge of the advertising and sponsorship sales as well as a person to be in charge of securing content on our platform and running our “Afripods Studios” projected aimed at developing and producing exclusive podcast content for Afripods in co-operation with partners. We are also looking to by the end of 2020 have studios up and running in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Morocco.
How has the market responded to your products and services?
Very positive both from content creators and media agencies and we are looking forward to initiate a major push ot the Afripods brand and platform during 2020 and establish ourselves as the leading podcast distribution and studio platform with African content pan-Africa and internationally.
Podcasts have mushroomed over the course of the last decade in Africa. Do you believe podcasting the way to open up African media?
Podcasting will, as it has started to do in the US and Europe already, fundamentally change African media as anyone can start their own radio or audio on demand channel focused on amplifying Africa. What we have seen happening outside the continent is also that advertisers rapidly migrate to podcast platforms as Afripods for distribution as they can get revenues on their backlog or “old” radio content and most importantly deliver exact analytics on listing to their advertising partners which is not the case today. On a similar platform launched in Sweden five years ago they today have around 170 million streams every month and still growing fast.
And why are podcasts gaining in popularity?
Because it is on demand, meaning you as a listener decides when you want to listen and not the radio stations. We can see that most listening is done when travelling in your car, the matatu, or train, etc. Therefore the most important function for Afripods listeners is the download function which means that when you are on a Wi-Fi you download say the last three episodes of your favorite podcast and listen to it offline and for free when you travel to work.
How would you describe the future of podcasting in Africa?
Fantastic...Africa is the worlds leading storytelling continent so it is not if but when this media literarily will explode into the market and then Afripods is ready with the leading technical platform and experience of building advertising relationships and developing content.
Podcast is super-niche thing. Each podcast show has their one or few topics that they create content about. Why do you think African or Kenyan content creators should turn to podcasting?
I do not agree it is only super-niche, it can be if you want to, but it is also as mainstream as radio on not live. You should turn to podcasting if you have something to say and want to share this knowledge with Kenya, Africa, and the world and then at the same time hopefully be so interesting that advertisers want to be associated with you due to that listeners are following your pod. I mean it, - anybody can be a podcaster!
You recently launched in Kenya and of course, your focus is in Africa. What plans do you have for the continent’s podcast space?
Kenya will as a leading tech market on the continent, and the place where we started, always be important to Afripods but we for sure have a pan-African perspective and also want to be the first stop for any diaspora or other international people interested in learning about what really is happening in Africa without being forced following the mainstream old media channels.
What is the latest news from your company?
Latest news is that we are by end of Q1 next year closing a financing round of minimum 1.5 million USD in reference to building up our team further in Nairobi and developing “Afripods Studios” pan-Africa, and can today say that I am surprised by the huge interest we have seen.
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