With a strategic agreement with Orange in December 2018, the French startup YouScribe will be able to offer renewable access to its digital library to customers of the operator’s African subsidiaries, starting with Senegal, Cameroon and Ivory Coast.
Present since 2011 in France, YouScribe streaming library has signed a partnership with Orange allowing all African subsidiaries of the telecom operator (120 million subscribers in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East) to offer their customers a renewable access to its catalog. To set up this service, the start-up has also signed a strategic agreement with Digital Virgo, specialized in monetization via mobile payment and in digital marketing.
YouScribe brings together more than one million digital books, educational and professional training materials, press titles and audio books. As for streaming video or music services, such as Netflix or Spotify, its content, which can be downloaded to the mobile application’s memory, can be read offline.
In Conakry, the potential of the African market is revealed
The service, which is to be launched at the end of April in Senegal and Cameroon and at the end of May in Côte d’Ivoire, was certainly available in the targeted countries, but on prohibitive conditions for individuals, with a premium subscription (which gives access to books , audiobooks and copyrighted materials) at 8.99 euros per month and the need to pay via a credit card or PayPal. For its truly African launch, payments become possible via the Airtime account of users and, from September, via their mobile-money portfolio. Rates have also been revised to 100 CFA (15 cents) per day and 500 CFA francs per week.
For the company, the African adventure began two years ago, when YouScribe was chosen as official partner of Conakry World Book Capital 2017. “On this trip, we realized that YouScribe’s solution was much more adapted to the French-speaking African market “, says Juan Pirlot de Corbion, founder and CEO of YouScribe.
By the explosion of the use of streaming services on the continent, in connection with the adoption of high-speed smartphone V- 660 million by 2025, against 250 million in 2017, according to GSMA, the global lobby telecom operators – on the one hand. And the lack of accessibility to paper books, linked to the scarcity of bookstores and libraries, on the other hand.
B2C to conquer
YouScribe has reoriented its commercial efforts towards African markets with high growth potential, with regional representatives in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco. Last year, 80% of its 2.1 million euros of turnover was achieved in Africa, in particular via a B2B service, addressed to schools, universities, companies or institutions that offer to offer the access to their students, employees or clients.
Societe Generale has ordered 20,000 access to the digital library, offered to new users who open a Yup electronic wallet. In order to encourage vocational training, the Atlantic Bank in Côte d’Ivoire has also purchased 1,000 accesses for its employees. YouScribe also counts among its B2B customers institutions of higher education such as Insacc, Enko or Sup de Co Dakar.
The implementation of the agreement with Orange must now allow the platform to target the B2C market. The operator has thus committed to carry out communication operations, through SMS pushes and banners on its site, as well as to integrate premium access to YouScribe to mobile plans. For its part, Digital Virgo, digital marketing specialist, will support the promotion of the service, especially on social networks.
To attract its new target, YouScribe has signed partnerships with some fifty African publishers in ten countries, enriching its catalog of nearly 60,000 works. “Our obsession is to have an African offer,” insists Juan Pirlot de Corbion. African press titles are also broadcast on the platform, such as Fraternité Matin, the leading Ivorian press group.
Not being the owner of the content, the digital library gives its partners about 60% of its turnover, a remuneration calculated in proportion to the pages read. Like on YouTube, each author registered on the platform can publish his writings free of charge, hoping to make himself known without going through a publisher.
YouScribe also wants to create by 2020, in partnership with local publishers, an audio book production unit to promote listening in local language, more adapted to the expectations of its users on the continent.
This is the number of registered on the platform based in Africa. But not everyone is a premium subscriber (150,000 of YouScribe’s worldwide users).