Have you heard of Battabox? CNN’s Christian Purefoy launches online channel in Nigeria

On the heels of Nigerian web music and video platforms like Afrinolly and iRoking and Nollywoodlove, here comes another media startup that is looking to make its mark on the Nigerian web space. Enter Battabox.com, “Nigeria’s Online News & Entertainment Channel for you, by you”.

While the terms of service portion of the site indicates that users are entering a relationship with an entity called Original Media Limited, we have it on good authority that the brain behind the startup is Christian Purefoy, former CNN Correspondent for West Africa who has lived and worked in Nigeria for more than seven years, making him one of the longest serving foreign journalists in the country.

Battabox allows you upload videos of just about anything – news reports, comedy stand-ups, music covers, weddings, you fooling around with your friends…yes anything. Shortly after its arrival into the space, it’s beginning to come to significant public awareness following it’s exclusive live-streaming of the Occupy Nigeria protests from the Freedom Park in Ojota where the main thrust of the Lagos protests were staged, and most of it sourced from independent protestesters shooting the footage from their mobile phones. According to Battabox:
As the international media continues to ignore the growing #OccupyNigeria protests – Nigerians are taking matters into their own hands with on-ground live video, interviews, chanting, prayers and placards…Go to BattaBox.com for rolling coverage of #OccupyNigeria. Also, Nigerians are uploading their videos, photos and protests to air on Battabox. This is a Nigerian conversation – BattaBox.com.
On whether this will work, issues of broadband internet access quickly come to mind. Battabox however seems to have this angle covered. Bolstered by the proliferation of internet enabled devices with affordable data plans, the majority of Nigeria’s internet traffic comes from mobile, and like other services in its space, Battabox is optimised for mobile devices. The service currently has working apps for Android and Blackberry devices which allow you upload  videos direct from your phone. They’ve also got apps for the iPhone, Nokia and Java phones on the way.
There is no specific indication of what audience the service is targeted at, but we can safely assume that the platform will be catering to a largely Nigerian audience, given Christian’s extensive experience and knowledge of Nigeria during his time in professional news media.  It will be interesting to see how he captures the Nigerian story from the perspective of Nigerians, using this online crowdsourced model. Apart from what appears to be the general objective of getting people to post photos and videos online (much like YouTube) the site doesn’t disclose any clear business model or incentive for user adoption. We expect that the Battabox strategy will become more apparent as time goes on.
Watch at www.battabox.com

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