Streaming services like Netflix are great, but you often end up watching the same blockbuster movies showing how a white man will save the world. Meet Afrostream, a niche movie streaming service that only features African and African-American content. Launching in September, this startup may have found a great underserved segment.
“When I was a kid, for a long time, I was looking for role models on TV to relate to them,” co-founder and CEO Tonjé Bakang told me. “There are a lot of successful athletes and artists, but it’s hard to find African and African-American movies.”
Now attending Y Combinator‘s current batch, the French startup started with just a Facebook page in January 2014. On the Afrostream page, you could find Afro-American movie trailers and teasing announcements for a streaming service. Fast forward a bit, AfroStream’sFacebook page now has 72,000 fans, which is in par with well-established French competitors, such as CanalPlay.
Shortly after this idea validation, the team actually started building a service that would feature this kind of movies. “What’s great is that this content already exists. Our goal is to leverage streaming to address our audience. They don’t have any legal solution to access this content,” Bakang said.
“Even when you look at Popcorn Time or BitTorrent websites, Afro-American content is missing,” Bakang said. “And if you find a movie, it doesn’t have subtitles.”
The company signed content deals with major studios, independent American, African and British distributors. You will find movies that you already know, with some of them already available on Netflix or CanalPlay. But you will also find movies that aren’t available on any streaming service — chances are you’ve never heard of them.