[Startup Interview] Allan Niongira, Founder, PortableVoices, Kenya
Would you please introduce your company?
PortableVoices Creatives is a Kenyan audiobook production company and podcast network focused on producing African spoken entertainment. We produce and distribute digital audiobooks, podcasts, spoken word, poetry, stand-up comedy and audio version of periodicals, journals, newspapers and magazines.
What would you say gives your company a competitive edge?
We are uniquely positioned in the market because of our growing variety of books and original series, data protection on content and engaging listening experience that we give to our listeners through multicast performances by local experienced narrators and best selling authors and celebrities.
Who are your clients?
Through its production division, PortableVoices Studios, PortableVoices works with: publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers; to produce and sell high quality encrypted digital audiobooks, podcasts and radio dramas for athletes, busy professionals and the visually impaired.
What are the ambitions of the company going forward?
The ambitions of the company going forward are to continue working with and supporting podcasters, authors and publishers to produce and distribute more podcasts, audiobooks and African audio entertainment. Along with content creation, distribution is another cornerstone of PortableVoices needs to maximize content delivery, we are therefore investing in making of our own mobile app.
PortableVoices is now ready to develop a podcasting community gaining profitability by end of the year while also creating social impact supporting visually impaired persons and children in Kenya and beyond.
How has the market responded to your services? Why do you think that is so?
In 2018, Portablevoices focused on increasing investment of original content. We successfully released three new podcasts - Burudani Express, Talanta Viwanjani and Campus Diaries all of which gathered high numbers of online audiences and reviews, which positioned PortableVoices as the first narrative podcast network in Kenya and East Africa.
In addition, we were able to also test our audiobook production capacity by producing a ten-story audiobook (Voices in a Generation) and based on the great success and feedback we have gathered so far, the Kenyan and East African audiobook market proves to be a high value yet untapped market.
Podcasting and other audio content marketing is no longer a sideshow to video and other trendy content formats. Do you believe African businesses are overlooking the audio content marketing opportunity?
Yes, however, I believe they should not because the number of podcast listeners is growing fast especially among the youth and young professionals. Ads within a podcast are the least intrusive when compared with other types of digital ads. And not only do listeners not mind hearing them - more two-thirds act on them. either by researching a product or service or by actually purchasing something they first heard about in an episode.
Nowadays there are many digital media agencies coming up every day. Therefore, it is challenging for consumers to choose the best agency to work with. What makes you stand out?
We invest a lot in understanding what our listeners want to listen by engaging with them on the various platform that they listen or watch our contents.
One of the services you provide is podcasting? How is the podcasting market in Kenya like?
I can say the podcasting market is growing, more podcasts are being released and also brands are starting to use podcasts to engage with their customers and market to potential customers.
What are some of the benefits of using your services?
Listeners access Exclusive original content produced by PortableVoices week by week
Listeners also have easy access and listen to your favourite audiobooks and podcasts anytime
Publishers and authors get professional production services in our well-designed studio
Brands also have an opportunity to access more audience affordably by supporting the podcasts.
What is the latest news from your company?
We just released a new swahili radio drama called “Mohojiano Baina ya Sehemu za Mwili” written by the renowned Kenyan author K.W.Wamitila. Additionally, We also just released two new podcasts, Africa Startup Roundup and Motherhood Podcast. We are also opening a monthly subscription model where podcasters and other audio content creators can pay a small fee and use our facilities to produce their work every month.
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