You know already that we like Zikoko. Someone on the team said ‘liked’, which is a way of saying he thinks something has gone missing, but that’s a matter for another day. As long as we are talking about a thoughtful brand doing important things, we like Zikoko.
We think it should do well. Especially with the kind of smarts behind it.
So when it does something new, we pay attention. Like it’s video content, led by Osarumen Osamuyi (who, we hear, is away from Nigeria but still making this happen), which hast yet hit its strides, but is still pretty impressive work especially when you compared to what some other people call ‘video’.
And now, something new: it’s launched a proprietary content platform called Formation, and announced by its co-founder, Seyi Taylor this week in a Medium post.
“The result is Formation — a modern media system for a new age of mobile-first, personalised content, he wrote. “Formation was designed to be controlled 100% via an API — whether we were dealing with content creation or publishing. The result is a much more flexible system that allows us deliver content to users in a variety of ways.”
It should help them –
- personalise their experience by having a client app request different content types and present them
- allow 3rd parties publish the content on their own platforms or apps via the API
- allow users create accounts and content
- present content on the site by any criteria we choose — location, browsing history, time of day etc.
Zikoko thinks of itself more as a technology company than a media company to be honest, which is not surprising considering its two founders are smart tech people. So this makes sense when you think of it. Also, with international (read American) platforms like Vox, Buzzfeed, even the New York Times working on their own proprietary platforms, this makes sense as a cool thing to do.
But is it THE thing to do? We are not sure about that. Beyond the bragging rights and the first mover advantage of this in this market, we are not sure this really moves the needle in terms of the most important thing for any media platform – a sizeable audience, those you can convert into ad revenue or subscribers or leverage for third party add-ons. We don’t see that happening yet with Zikoko, and we think THAT (is content that reaches an ever widening audience) is the more important problem to be solved.
That’s the truly ‘hard thing’. And we don’t see this solving that problem.
In addition to the fact, we don’t like what this new formation (pun intended) has done to the actual look and feel of the site, turned it from something beautiful into something.. basic, for want of a better word.
All said, for now, this looks like a tech-will-save-the-world Hail Mary, rather than an effective media solution. But what do we know? Everyone’s experimenting until someone not named Linda Ikeji or Uche Pedro figures it out.
Until then, we’ll keep rooting for their success.