Bustop TV laments high data cost

BUSTOP TV co-founder Lucky Aaroni yesterday said the increase in the cost of data by mobile telecommunication companies has negatively impacted their work as the numbers of people visiting their sites were dwindling.

BY PRECIOUS CHIDA

Top comediennes Gonyeti and Maggie — whose hilarious skits have made them household names — are the face of Bustop TV.

Aaroni told NewsDay Life & Style yesterday that they had witnessed a decline in traffic especially on their Facebook and YouTube sites.

He said the cost of data had forced social media fanatics to be more discretionary when surfing.

“The issue of data has affected our online business in a great way. Most people viewed our videos from their mobile phones at any time, either going to work or travelling to any place but data is now too expensive for them to randomly see our videos on a regular basis,” he said.

“The time that most people spend on social media has reduced and only those that get WiFi from their workplaces can stream regularly but unfortunately they are only a few.”

Although he was not keen to disclose the exact figures, Aaroni, however, said they were still getting reasonable numbers on their platforms as most people panic on the first few days that data costs are increased but get used to the prices in due course.

He said the comedy platform, which has managed to monetise their sites, might not be able to do so if data costs continue to escalate.

“With the growth that we have experienced so far, we managed to monetise our social media platforms and generated income from them so if people who visit our sites continue to decrease because people now buy data for messages only, we won’t have anything to monetise, which will definitely cause a problem for us in the long run,” he said.

Aaroni said it would be wise for Zimbabwe to adopt policies used in other countries that allow citizens to pay less for browsing local content.

“It has to be cheaper than browsing international content so that they encourage people to watch and support local projects,” he said.

“If possible, it’s even better when we have something like Busstop TV bundle or music bundle to promote Zimbabwean artistes.”

Meanwhile, music promoter Benjamin Nyandoro said the situation had also affected musicians who have been marketing their music through social media platforms.

“The problem is affecting business across all sectors including musicians. Limited access reduces opportunities provided by the digital world,” he said.

“However, artistes need to continue embracing it as it remains the cheapest and most effective way (to share their work).”