Setting Up Safaricom BAZE: Thin Content, No Smartphone App, and Other Annoyances

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Last week, operator Safaricom launched a video-on-demand platform named BAZE. The product, which has been in development for the past two years or so, is akin to what Viusasa or similar products do: you get access to local, and select global content on your phone (not on PC yet because the platform has not been optimized for bigger device) at KES 10 or KES 20 per day.

Before proceeding, here is what Safaricom is saying about BAZE:

Our goal is to delight our customers by availing a carefully curated collection of video content across their favourite genres. BAZE will place the entertainment Kenyans want at their fingertips, giving users freedom, choice and control over the content they consumer.


As we launch BAZE, we are also pleased to announce that the platform will host new content not seen anywhere including a brand-new Kenyan action drama, Mission to Rescue which will be available exclusively on BAZE for 3 months before being unveiled anywhere else. – Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge

Basically, the platform, which you can only access from via www.baze.co.ke features short-form video from a variety of genres, including comedy, music, lifestyle and drama. And we can end the post here because that is all you get, but that would be disservice to you.

Getting started

  1. Go to your dialer.
  2. Hit *544*55#
  3. Pick option 1 ‘Buy a subcription’
  4. In the next screen, choose 1 for all day pass with KES 200 MB at KES 20 or option 2 of all day usage at KES 10.
  5. Pay via airtime.
  6. Click the link you receive on SMS.
  7. Set up your account by entering your phone number in the format 254******.
  8. Activate your account via a onetime password.
  9. No passwords are needed, so that’s just it.

The set-up process is quite simple.

T is also worth noting that the KES 20 pass gives you free 200 MB so after it has been exhausted, additional streaming will start using your allocation.

The KES 10 option is excellent for people on Wi-Fi. Otherwise, the two are basically the same in terms of accessed content.

Categories and genres

According to the statement made by Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge, the platform will have exclusive content, with the first one being Mission to Rescue, an action film based on the Kenya-Somalia border.

However, it has not been uploaded to the platform yet, and for now, it only brings BTS shots and a short trailer.

During the set-up process, you would note that the app is plastered with images of local celebrities, including comedian Njugush and rapper King Kaka. This should give you an idea of what the platform has in place for you.

For now, we have also established that the following categories/genres are included, although we feel that they are kind of dry – with the hope that they will be replenished in incoming days:

  1. Music – (there are ton of options here, including content from NGOMA – although it specifically keeps crashing). Other categories such as the Liveroom take a long time to load. This could be an isolated issue, but let us know how the section is going for you.
  2. Sports – there are a bunch of highlights here, from FIBA to the Football review.
  3. Faith
  4. Comedy – Njugush is part of this segment. I also see the Simpsons (about 10 or so episodes) and Naswa, to mention a few.
  5. Kids – self-explanatory
  6. Factual
  7. Drama
  8. Lifestyle

Basically, that is all you get. There isn’t much in terms of content from what you can access on other free platforms such as YouTube. Nevertheless, Mission to Rescue looks sick, so we can’t wait for the film to go online and check it out.

Thoughts and annoyances

First, it seems that content is only broadcasted at standard definition. It could be higher, but I haven’t watched any video that is spectacular in terms of pixel output on my excellent AMOLED screen.

Secondly, you can cast content via Chromecast to a larger display, which is always a plus.

The website has an annoying Google Translate pop-up at the bottom of the screen that doesn’t seem to go away.

And the biggest concern is that BAZE has not launched with an app, which, to be honest, is a deal breaker for me, and perhaps many other people out there.

In terms of content, I understand that some people will find the catalogue enough for their entertainment needs. In my opinion, however, there is nothing noteworthy that will make me go back to the platform because the materials there are pretty thin, and not up to the standard I can say is mature according to my taste-meter. Take my word with a pinch of salt, though, because we all have different needs, and what makes me cackle could be quite insipid to you. And I haven’t mentioned any names.

Proposition


Safaricom is fronting BAZE as its in-house entertainment video-on-demand platform. BAZE also seeks to appeal to creators, who can then upload their videos to the platform while monetizing them at the same time. The question is whether the operator is in a position to actively make BAZE is known to as many people as possible, which by extension would excite creators to avail their materials for viewers because that group goes to platforms that guarantee them viewership.

At the moment, we have our fingers crossed.


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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]

2 COMMENTS

  1. Some content creaters rejected the monitization offer as the returns demeans their effort and creativity. Safaricom’s monetization plan is a reap off.

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