Passionate about cinema, the Cameroonian director has launched Numiaa TV, an online platform selling African videos and films. It aims to make this project the African Netflix for African content. He shares with DIGITAL Business Africa his objectives and ambitions for Numiaa TV, but also for the DLG Studios which he is the promoter. For him, in any project, one must first think digital and explore all the possibilities that this digital offers.
Digital Business Africa: Numiaa TV is the first digital bilingual cinema and video platform in Africa. Can you present us accurately your company (services, number of employees, etc.) and Numiaa TV?
Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA: First of all, I thank DIGITAL Business Africa for the honor of this interview. Your online magazine that deals with information on digital, ICT and telecoms is an international digital pride.
Returning to your question, Numiaa TV is the VoD subsidiary of Studios Dlg, Cameroonian film studios. For those who do not know VoD, in other words they are online video platforms. Our challengers are Netflix at the global level and Iroko at the African level. The Iroko + channel is the application; Netflix is a website accessible by computer and smartphone. Numiaa TV adopts the model and the standard of Netflix, namely the SVoD. For this purpose, moviegoers from all over the world can subscribe to monthly or annual subscriptions which entitle them to unlimited viewing of all films in the catalog.
Our ambition to be the first bilingual digital cinema and video platform in Africa is not utopia, even if Numiaa TV is still an infant in the digital world. Indeed, I am the creator of Numiaa and I have a 16 years experience in production, production, distribution, distribution and digital.
As a result, Numiaa, which aims for leadership, will not only broadcast films in English and French, but will also include subtitles or dubbing in its catalog in 2019. Beyond cinema, there will also be TV series, TV movies, gags, TV programs, video clips, tutorials, etc.
Digital Business Africa: What’s the story behind Numiaa TV? How was she born?
Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA: www.numiaa.tv is the solution to a situation. With my good experience, I realized over time that African cinema is marginalized. As proof, TF1, France2, the Canadian media, will never broadcast (unless proof of otherwise) African films. Only strongly established media in Africa do so: TV5, Canal +, A +.
In addition, Netflix will only buy a Cameroonian film the day Cameroon reaches a customer threshold that will motivate it. Even the promoters of the prestigious film festivals of the world, whatever the height of the film does, will never put on the stage of the African films. We are not badly gone. Create Numiaa TV is not fighting this system. But, it is to propose a local solution to the service of the global exploitation. The My African Dream trilogy I committed between Canada and Cameroon was the motivation in this quest for a world market resistant to African productions. With the passion of the digital that God put in me, diploma in literary studies, I could think of the African Netflix.
Digital Business Africa: Exactly, tell us a little about your personal journey. What are the highlights of this career?
Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA: I am a filmmaker since 2003. I have eight films and eight prizes won under my belt. Self-taught, I had the honor to retrain on the field, through the French Françoise Balais who spotted me in Dschang and by whom I integrated European productions of charm, collaborating as a trainee, then actor and assistant, on films gathering stars such as Cédric Klapish, Romain Duris, Claire Denis, Isabelle Huppert, the famous Christophe Lambert, Ulrich Köhler, etc. How not to be successful when you are so well surrounded? It is from there that I draw my greatness and my ambitions to enter the history of my profession, even if the way is still very far. Participating in festivals such as Vues d’Afrique in Montreal and Cannes demonstrate that I’m on the right track.
Digital Business Africa: You talked about winning prizes. What are the biggest successes of your company DLG Studios?
Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA: My business lives the ups and downs. Despite the will and motivation, the lack of funding pleases us enough. Nevertheless, one can boast of the creation of Numiaa TV which is a carrier of the future. We can also salute the fact of having produced the first Cameroonian film not only bought by the Americans BET, but also coproduced by Canadians (Quebec to be more precise), in this case My African Dream which will go down in history. A trilogy of 52 minutes episode that was able to gather in front of the camera of the nationals of twenty countries around the world including such stars Kassav, Small Country, Stevie Wonder.
Digital Business Africa: What is now the realized project of your company that makes you proud?
Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA: Numiaa TV, of course. It becomes the cornerstone of Dlg Studios. It will dictate future productions and monetize our productions, regardless of the market refractory to Afro films.
Digital Business Africa: What specific project are you working on right now?
Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA: First of all on Numiaa Tv. Apart from the development and the search for an investment fund favorable to the production of the original content, hear movies for the priority of our subscribers. Then I prepare my very first feature film: The Virtual Love. It is co-financed by Cameroon and TV5 Monde, which has launched a call for co-producers under the sponsorship of the Diffa distribution company in France.
Gervais Djimeli Lekpa: “Our challengers are Netflix at the global level and Iroko at the African level”
I am keen to make Numiaa TV the African leader in VoD. As far as the cinema is concerned, I wish to make 2019 the year of my revelation. My talent has been buried for a very long time. But, whatever the time that gold goes underground, when it is discovered, its value does not lose a carat.Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA
Digital Business Africa: What are your ambitions?
Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA: I specified it above. I am keen to make Numiaa TV the African leader in VoD. As far as the cinema is concerned, I wish to make 2019 the year of my revelation. My talent has been buried for a very long time. But no matter how long gold goes underground, when it is discovered, its value does not lose a carat.
Digital Business Africa: How should the government help young entrepreneurs and innovators in the country?
Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA: In this regard, I believe that innovation and business creation should be the foundation of the Cameroonian government’s way out of the crisis and beyond the other African governments. As proof, the biggest companies worldwide, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Netflix have started like jokes. Cameroon should be inspired, because I remain convinced that the size of Africa will come at all digital. It is in this spirit that I associate the power of cinema with the virtues of digital technology. Imagine the impact, if my country allocated adequate funds to this project that requires means of production, turnover, communication, massive recruitment of actors and filmmakers, etc.
Netflix has become one of the ten largest audiovisual producers in the world. Why not do the same for Numiaa TV by establishing it as the African leader in production and distribution of African content to the Hollywood standard. To fall, once a viable project, our states must provide not small sums of one million CFA francs for projects valued at hundreds of millions, or at worst, formations such as those granted by the CNJ that can find on Google in a second, but more.
Digital Business Africa: What is your advice to young entrepreneurs and innovators?
Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA: To young entrepreneurs or innovators, I would like to exhort them first of all to put God in front of their projects. Then avoid copying and pasting. Beyond, to be creative and especially to make their young company the solution to a situation without solution. They will have to start as a start-up the time to experiment the concept. First make an evaluation version that you will finance from yourself or your loved ones.
Numiaa TV has just crossed this stage with great success. As a result, we are considering the next level, moving from home-made films to a repertoire to more than 100 films produced by Africans from several countries. At this time, we will intensify communication and marketing. To this end, you too, test before flooding the market at the risk of closing shop in 12 months as the vast majority of local entrepreneurs. Finally, if you are visionary, whatever your business, think digital, live digital.
Digital Business Africa: In five sentences maximum, if you were to meet the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, what would you say to him?
Gervais DJIMELI LEKPA: If I met the president of the republic, I would make him understand that Nigeria became the first world power with the strong support of the cinema. Why not Cameroon via Numiaa TV? I will make him understand that the US dominates the business world with digital companies that are sometimes worth more than rich states in Europe. Why not Numiaa? So, what to do if it is not to support Numiaa by financing, start-up facilities, recommendations via our embassies as carrying this vision which is an excellent flagship of Cameroon, Africa in miniature.