Hubrif is in a state of coma. Maybe in another article, am going to be more detailed about the journey so far. Right now, we are offline as our hosting package just expired so pardon me if you can’t access the platform. Am aware it would have been better if you could, see what we look like currently and give your 2 Naira.
For those that don’t know about us, am just gonna give a quick pitch about what we do. We started as an online video platform for streaming curated African short films 99% of which have screened at film festivals and a few winning-awards. Currently, our most viewed films (about 5 of them out of a current total catalog of 100 videos) are between 1000-1500 views. It’s been 90% organic though. We launched here on radar then. I have always believed I could make those contents go viral! Obviously, I did a great job in failing.
When an investor/2nd co-founder came onboard and was on my neck as to how to begin generating revenue, we came up with a subscription-based service whereby we help filmmakers submit their films to festivals all year round for a token. Currently, we have just 5 agreed to pay subscribers. None has paid though but we have helped them gotten into a combined 30 film festivals till date. The truth is that prospective clients don’t want to pay. Also, it’s a very small market. Personally, we can’t handle more than 5 clients as the end result will be disappointments. Let me explain further. Handling 1 client and submitting to over 100 festivals in the course of a year multiplied by let’s say 20, 50, 100 clients. You see what I mean? Because I love to keep my integrity intact and am the only one saddled with the job of manually filling those submissions, I can’t keep up with more than what we have right now.
We decided to pivot as an online distributor of African short films representing filmmakers as their official distributor and getting their films into other media outlets like TV and In-flight entertainment. They seem to be very viable options to scale but for some reasons I can’t just figure out, implementation isn’t just working!
I have had very serious management issues with my co-founder and I know this has contributed to part of our current predicament. But I can’t put the blame solely on him. Am currently working with another startup because I have to survive. Yet, I still find time to do one or two things regularly for Hubrif. I love hubrif and honestly, seeing what I and the team have built being in its current state is heartbreaking. I respect others who have had to shut down theirs for various reasons! You guys are legends.
Right now, am deciding to pivot the platform as a Non-profit social venture. This is because I can’t just figure out how to make this profitable but I love what we do. We have a very active blog and I have had some very fulfilling non-monetary rewards running this platform and building a brand amongst the community of young African filmmakers. I get a lot of “Tobi, thank you for this write-up! I am deeply honored, I hope we can meet and work together one day”. For some reasons, I feel that I have contributed to that person’s success and it’s a really good feeling spurring me to do more.
Services that I should at least charge for, I do for free and even spending my own little resources just so it turns out good and we are both happy at the end of the day. It’s just a really wonderful feeling contributing towards the growth of these guys.
Why am I writing this? Well, I really can’t say other than I just need the feedback and contribution of you guys. Hear what you think, encouragements, criticisms, opportunities I am not seeing etc. anything you have got for me.
It’s costing me money, time and resources to keep running the platform and because I am always broke, it’s really a challenge for me. Perhaps, if anyone can hint me as to how we can sustain hubrif even if it’s just to cover the cost of running the platform. Although our overhead is quite manageable, if we can figure out how it can sustain itself, I keep hubrif on the oxygen mask for as long as possible. If not, perhaps its time to say goodbye.