August 2009 Archives

Today I went to the Wuse Market in Abuja, Nigeria to check on the ability of entrepreneurs to find business opportunities using 4P Computing platforms. I found an innovative mix of using computing power to enable mobile phone content, at a profit.

Young men who invested in laptops are selling music, movies, and ringtones to market visitors at a tidy markup. Now ringtones and music sales is not new. Back in 2004, I heard of techies in the wilds of Mali selling ringtones and I got a few Gig of African tunes for a few bucks at a Senegalese cyber cafe.

What I found innovative was the movie sales.

going to Africa
Making money from movies in Nigeria

The entrepreneurs had a selection of movies, or you could buy your own VCD or DVD and have them convert it into a video file. But why pay to convert a VCD or DVD? Wouldn't you already have a compact disk player, or if you're wanting to convert to a file, your own computer?

It seems people do have their own computer on which they want to watch movies, but this computer cannot convert them from VCD or DVD to .avi or .mp4, as its a mobile phone. Yes, people pay to convert VCD's and DVD's into files watchable on a smartphone.

Charles, the young techie I spoke with, said he makes around 4,000 Naira a day in profit with his laptop, or about $20 of ringtones, movies, and music. At that rate, he's looking at about a 4 month payback period on the laptop purchase. Maybe a month more if you take in his anti-virus expenses - software and every other day software update and laptop cleaning at a cyber cafe.

Still, a quick way to pay for a new laptop.

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