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Unveiling Addis Ababa's Media Mavericks: Pioneering Startups Transforming Entertainment

The diverse media sector in Addis Ababa spans animation, arts, journalism, entertainment, and more, playing a pivotal role in the city’s cultural and economic landscape. However, despite its significant contributions, this sector often remains in the shadows, lacking the attention it truly deserves from key stakeholders. While a multitude of service providers thrive within the sector, only a handful operate as startups with their own innovative products. 

One noteworthy facet of this sector’s evolution is the emergence of video and audio streaming companies that cater to entertainment lovers. These startups are at the forefront of blending entertainment with digital technology, effectively broadening accessibility to a wider audience and paving the way for the elevation of the quality of production. Their efforts highlight the sector’s potential for innovation and substantial growth. In this article, we will shed light on the pioneering companies that are leading this charge, with a focus on MayaFlicks, Sewasew, and Teraki.

MayaFlicks is a streaming platform for Ethiopian films, series, and documentaries. Users can access a diverse range of content from various genres. The platform is available on both Android and iOS, making it accessible to a wide audience. It has a 4.4 rating on the Play Store and a 4.5 rating on the App Store. It currently has six movies on the platform, with many more to come. MayaFlicks provides a digital platform for both the producers and consumers of entertainment media.

Sewasew Multimedia is a multimedia distribution app based in Addis Ababa. The platform offers music, podcasts, audiobooks, and books, creating a one-stop destination for multimedia content. According to The Reporter, Sewasew Multimedia has released 15 albums, with its top three albums each surpassing one million streams. The most-listened-to album, ‘Aleke’ by Abinet Agonafir, has amassed approximately 1.5 million streams as of June 10, 2023. Notably, 40% of its users are international, indicating its global appeal. Sewasew has recently ventured into podcasting. The platform enjoys a strong rating of 4.4 on the App Store and 4.3 on the Play Store, with over a thousand reviews and 100,000+ downloads. According to Shega Media, the platform’s user base exceeds 350,000.

Teraki is an East African platform specialising in audio streaming. The app hosts a diverse range of content, including audiobooks, podcasts, and radio shows, with a focus on interactive and entertaining material for the Ethiopian and East African Diaspora communities. Teraki caters to various audience segments, including the young generation, adults, children, and the visually impaired. The platform has rapidly gained popularity, with 50,000+ downloads on the  Play Store and an impressive 4.9 rating. Additionally, Teraki recently secured undisclosed funding from Renew Capital to further its mission of providing engaging audio content.

Significant challenges face Addis Ababa’s media sector, encompassing a lack of infrastructure, an emerging but nascent startup ecosystem, bureaucratic obstacles, limited startup funding, and a reliance on traditional business approaches. Additionally, startups often lack a comprehensive understanding of the requirements to establish themselves. However, a perceptible shift is occurring, marked by a revival in the startup scene and ongoing reforms aimed at streamlining the business environment. Initiatives focusing on digital transformation and improved startup infrastructure are underway. As these collaborative efforts address current challenges, a more robust and dynamic media sector startup landscape is anticipated in the coming years.

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