CASE STUDY:

Distribution and promotion of the banned
Cameroonian film

THE PRESIDENT on
THE PRESIDENT: A controversial film
Jean-Pierre Bekolo is an accomplished Cameroonian director, who has
distinguished hims...
A campaign slogan:
“Banned in Cameroon, FREE on Buni TV”
As a service of Buni Media, the production
company behind The XYZ...
Designing bilingual campaign material
Our team leveraged the campaign slogan to create
several banners in both English and...
A press campaign targeting
600+ journalists and influencers
The press release (English/French) focused on the issue of cen...
A sophisticated social media campaign
THE PRESIDENT did not have a
Facebook page, so we created
one and populated it with
...
A new teaser for television
A new, more effective teaser was produced and edited
by our in-house team and released on nati...
Campaign schedule
From mid September: One-on-one communications with selected influential journalists to give them an excl...
THE PRESIDENT campaign results
Highlights:
• 8,407 views for THE PRESIDENT on Buni TV, the
equivalent of 42 cinema screeni...
Views and other analytics
8,407 people spent 2,202 hours watching THE PRESIDENT
on Buni TV. That’s the equivalent of 42 ci...
Press coverage
http://www.africine.org/?menu=art&no=11842
http://bamendaonline.net/blog/buni-tv-releases-banned-cameroonia...
Social media: comments and reviews
Cameroonians discuss the film
Thanks and appreciation for Buni TV
Watch the best African videos at www.buni.tv
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BuniTV
Follow us on Twitter @bunitv
F...
Annex: Full text of press release
BUNI TV RELEASES BANNED CAMEROONIAN FILM “THE PRESIDENT”
NAIROBI (October 7, 2013) – The...
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Buni TV Releases THE PRESIDENT - A Case Study

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Buni TV (www.buni.tv) is the leading video-on-demand platform for high quality pan-African content. In October 2013, it released banned Cameroonian film THE PRESIDENT worldwide, for free, for a week. This presentation is a case study analysis of its distribution and promotion campaign for the film.

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Buni TV Releases THE PRESIDENT - A Case Study

  1. 1. CASE STUDY: Distribution and promotion of the banned Cameroonian film THE PRESIDENT on
  2. 2. THE PRESIDENT: A controversial film Jean-Pierre Bekolo is an accomplished Cameroonian director, who has distinguished himself as one of Africa’s boldest and most unconventional filmmakers, producing genre-busting material such as his 2005 film LES SAIGNANTES, a sci-fi political satire about two highclass vampire prostitutes using their sexuality to expose – and kill – corrupt politicians. In 2013, back in Cameroon after years spent teaching film at US Universities, Bekolo produced THE PRESIDENT as a commentary on the state of his country, with the intention to spark debate among Cameroonians. However, the similarities between the film and the actual situation in Cameroon, where President Paul Biya has been in power for more than 30 years, were too obvious and disturbing for the country’s government, which swiftly banned THE PRESIDENT from being screened. Buni TV decided to help THE PRESIDENT reach its audience, and released the film worldwide for free for a week from October 12-19, 2013. The following is a case study analysis of Buni TV’s distribution and marketing campaign for THE PRESIDENT, and of its results.
  3. 3. A campaign slogan: “Banned in Cameroon, FREE on Buni TV” As a service of Buni Media, the production company behind The XYZ Show, Kenya’s hit political satire show with an audience of 10 million, Buni TV already had experience with politically sensitive content. The objective of the PRESIDENT campaign was to generate publicity around the film, make it available for Cameroonians inside and outside the country, and spark discussions. For Buni TV, is was also the opportunity to continue to position itself as a strong and fearless supporter of creative expression and African cinema. These goals helped shape the campaign’s slogan: “Banned in Cameroon, FREE on Buni TV”.
  4. 4. Designing bilingual campaign material Our team leveraged the campaign slogan to create several banners in both English and French for use on social media and in the press. As the official poster of the film was only available in French, we also produced an English version.
  5. 5. A press campaign targeting 600+ journalists and influencers The press release (English/French) focused on the issue of censorship, while giving some background on the film’s topic: “Today, new technologies provide a solution for filmmakers in countries that still impose censorship on cinema and where freedom of speech is still threatened” said Bekolo. “Online distribution will make THE PRESIDENT widely available, and hopefully this will lead to real dialogue on the issues the film raises.” “With THE PRESIDENT, which premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July, Bekolo touches on one of Africa’s remaining political taboos: what does the failing health of the continent’s few remaining dictators-for-life mean for their country? Besides Biya, who reportedly spends more than half the year outside Cameroon, other African presidents regularly missing in action include Zambia’s Michael Sata, who is rumored to be in India or London for treatment, and Angola’s Eduardo dos Santos, who simply cannot be located at all.”
  6. 6. A sophisticated social media campaign THE PRESIDENT did not have a Facebook page, so we created one and populated it with pictures of the film and links to articles in both English and French. The social media campaign leveraged Buni TV’s networks by targeting African cinema influencers (African culture journalists, film festival curators…), Cameroonian personalities and highly connected members of the diaspora.
  7. 7. A new teaser for television A new, more effective teaser was produced and edited by our in-house team and released on national television in Kenya on October 13th. It was also uploaded to YouTube and shared through social media. TEASER VO: “Imagine a sitting President of 42 years, disappearing just a few days before the elections... The President's kidnappers, instead of asking for ransom, decide to take him on a tour of the country, forcing him to meet the people he has been ignoring all these years... One President will walk in the shoes of his people, and live a day in the life of his citizens... BANNED in Cameroon, the controversial film 'THE PRESIDENT' will be available on Buni TV for a week starting October 12. Watch it for free at www.buni.tv, before it disappears...”
  8. 8. Campaign schedule From mid September: One-on-one communications with selected influential journalists to give them an exclusive heads-up about the operation and set-up interviews with Jean-Pierre Bekolo. October 7: An editorialized press release in both English and French goes out to a wide mailing list of Cameroonian, French, Kenyan, and pan-African media. Blog coverage is immediate. From October 7: All press coverage of the operation is relayed on social media through THE PRESIDENT, Buni TV and Buni Media’s pages, but also on Cameroonian and African filmmaking groups, and on Twitter by reaching out to Cameroonian and African influencers. October 12: THE PRESIDENT is made available on Buni TV’s homepage for global free access. October 13: The new teaser for THE PRESIDENT, with an added voice-over that mentions the banning of the film, airs on national Kenyan television around The XYZ Show, reaching an audience of 6 million already interested in political issues. October 19: The film is pulled off the site, until its future re-release under Buni TV’s premium subscription service.
  9. 9. THE PRESIDENT campaign results Highlights: • 8,407 views for THE PRESIDENT on Buni TV, the equivalent of 42 cinema screenings (at 200 people/screen) • Press articles in 10+ publications, including influential sites like Shadow & Act, AfriCiné and Screen Africa • Teaser broadcast on NTV, a national Kenyan station with a reach of 6 million viewers • Link to the film shared by major personalities such as Cameron Bailey, Director of the Toronto Film Festival • Overwhelmingly positive responses from viewers, who gave great reviews of the film and thanked Buni TV for making it available
  10. 10. Views and other analytics 8,407 people spent 2,202 hours watching THE PRESIDENT on Buni TV. That’s the equivalent of 42 cinema screenings, using an average of 200 people per screen. The average time spent streaming THE PRESIDENT was 40 minutes, which, considering that the film is 60 minutes long, suggests that most people chose to watch it in its entirety. Top visiting cities were, starting from the city with the highest traffic: 1. Nairobi, 2. Douala, 3. London, 4. Yaoundé, 5. Paris, 6. Montreal, 7. Berlin, 8. Toronto, 9. New York. With Douala and Yaoundé both in the top 5, we were successful in reaching out to Cameroonians in Cameroon – which is quite an achievement considering the country’s limited internet accessibility.
  11. 11. Press coverage http://www.africine.org/?menu=art&no=11842 http://bamendaonline.net/blog/buni-tv-releases-banned-cameroonian-film/ http://panafricanvisions.com/2013/buni-tv-releases-cameroons-banned-film-president/ http://allafrica.com/stories/201310091413.html http://www.humanipo.com/news/33676/buni-tv-releases-cameroons-banned-film-the-president/ http://www.cameroononline.org/2013/10/07/buni-tv-releases-cameroons-banned-film-president/ http://www.screenafrica.com/page/news/africa/1635188-Banned-Cameroonian-film-available-on-VOD http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/excellent-buni-tv-will-release-jean-pierre-bekolo-banned-mockumentary-le-presidentonline http://techmoran.com/buni-tv-releases-banned-cameroonian-film-the-president/ http://www.balancingact-africa.com/news/broadcast/issue-no165/content/content-in-brief/bc
  12. 12. Social media: comments and reviews
  13. 13. Cameroonians discuss the film
  14. 14. Thanks and appreciation for Buni TV
  15. 15. Watch the best African videos at www.buni.tv Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BuniTV Follow us on Twitter @bunitv For more information, contact: marie@bunimedia.com
  16. 16. Annex: Full text of press release BUNI TV RELEASES BANNED CAMEROONIAN FILM “THE PRESIDENT” NAIROBI (October 7, 2013) – The story of renowned Cameroonian director Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s THE PRESIDENT: “How Do You Know It’s Time to Go?” revolves around the disappearance, just a few days before the elections, of the film’s fictional president. That the film clearly refers to the country’s real-life leader Paul Biya, in power for more than 30 years, didn’t please the Cameroonian government, which swiftly banned the film from being screened in the country. For Bekolo, who recently came back to Cameroon after years teaching film in American universities, it was crucial that Cameroonians from both within and outside the country have access to his film -- so he turned to leading African video-on-demand platform Buni TV (www.buni.tv). “Today, new technologies provide a solution for filmmakers in countries that still impose censorship on cinema and where freedom of speech is still threatened” said Bekolo. “Online distribution will make THE PRESIDENT widely available, and hopefully this will lead to real dialogue on the issues the film raises.” Buni TV already has experience with politically sensitive content. The video platform is a service of Buni Media, the production company behind The XYZ Show, Kenya’s hit political satire show with an audience of 10 million, which recently won the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award for Best TV Series. “One of the great advantages of the internet is that it can circumvent censorship,” said Buni TV CEO Marie Lora-Mungai. “Buni TV wants to play a role in fostering and supporting the free flow of ideas in Africa. When we learned that Jean-Pierre was not able to screen THE PRESIDENT in Cameroon, we felt it was our responsibility to help this important film reach its audience.” Bekolo has distinguished himself as one of Africa’s boldest and most unconventional filmmakers, producing genre-busting material such as his 2005 film LES SAIGNANTES, a sci-fi political satire about two high-class vampire prostitutes using their sexuality to expose – and kill – corrupt politicians. With THE PRESIDENT, which premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July, Bekolo touches on one of Africa’s remaining political taboos: what does the failing health of the continent’s few remaining dictators-for-life mean for their country? Besides Biya, who reportedly spends more than half the year outside Cameroon, other African presidents regularly missing in action include Zambia’s Michael Sata, who is rumored to be in India or London for treatment, and Angola’s Eduardo dos Santos, who simply cannot be located at all. Last year, Ethiopia’s premier Meles Zenawi died of an undisclosed illness in a hospital in Brussels, after disappearing from the public eye for two months. In 2010, Nigeria found itself in political limbo after President Umaru Yar’Adua’s death. Ghana’s John Atta Mills passed away from cancer despite his party’s numerous denials that he was even sick. In April last year, the death of Malawi’s Bingu wa Mutharika was hidden from the public by those in the government trying to block current leader Joyce Banda from taking power. And then there is Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who at 89 years old makes frequent trips to Singapore for “normal eye checkups” and refuses to discuss his health. THE PRESIDENT will be available for free at www.buni.tv for a week starting October 12, and later re-released under the platform’s upcoming subscription service. Viewers from across Africa and the world will be able to stream the film from their computers or internet-enabled smartphones or tablets.

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