Archive for November, 2009

Kontax wins a Bronze @ the Bookmarks

Kontax won a Bronze “Pixel” in the Bookmarks Awards, the only medal in the Mobile Publishing category. Kontax “beat” M-Net, Football365, EntertainmentAfrica, CAR magazine and Soccer-Laduma, which is the most visited mobisite in South Africa. One of the competition organisors told Steve Vosloo that Kontax won a medal because it showed creative thinking and innovation in its category.

This year, as with last year, no Gold or Grand Prix prizes were awarded — a message to the local industry that we’re getting there, but have some way to go yet. According to, “The total number of awards made was 25, amounting to a fraction over 1% of the entries” — so competition was stiff.

Once again, well done to the Kontax team!

For more info see the list of the Bookmarks Finalists and winners. BizCommunity covered the awards ceremony — looks like lots of fun was had by all.


Coverage of Kontax (part IV)

Coverage of Kontax continues as follows:



Is 4,000 reads a lot?

Kontax has been read by 4,000 people in it’s first 10 days on MXit. I asked a friend in publishing to put that figure in context in terms of regular teen books sales in SA: is that low, high, ok? While we can’t really compare m-novels to printed books — they’re so different in so many ways — her response is still very interesting:

I can’t testify about teen books in particular, but a typical trade book first print run is 3,000, and a book publisher is usually satisfied if that sells through, particularly for fiction. Figures are much higher for prescribed school books of course, but you’re talking about a voluntary sign-up here. Also, you need to consider the time-frame: the equivalent of 4,000 copies ‘sold’ in less than a month? A publisher might expect that kind of performance over a year to 18 months.

I think this project overcomes so many of the problems of book publishing (language, relevance, distribution, cost) that comparing it with book sales is the ultimate apples-and-oranges. But, as a book publisher, I’d be seriously impressed with these figures.

m4Lit presented at the Africa Media and Broadcasting Congress

At the Africa Media and Broadcasting Congress, Steve Vosloo presented m-Novels for Africa: A South African Case Study.

m4Lit presented at mLearn 2009

At mLearn 2009, Steve Vosloo presented m4Lit A teen m-novel project in South Africa. The presentation covered the paper of the same title co-authored with Ana Deumert and Marion Walton, as well as some interim results of the in-progress project.

Kontax on MXit

MXitSince 26 October, Kontax has also been available on MXit. The MXit offering is quite different to the mobisite: no registration, comments or Kontax social network; and all 21 chapters are published at once (as opposed to serially over 21 days). Readers can still enter the Kontax Sequel competition from there.

There has also been marketing within MXit itself: splash screens to the 11-14 and 15-18 age groups, and a Tradepost broadcast message. It will be interesting to compare the two approaches to publishing m-novels: mobisite vs MXit. In the 9 days since it’s gone live on MXit, 4,000 readers have read the whole story, as opposed to about 250 for the mobisite. There is an interesting drop-off trend after the first few chapters for both versions.

Today at the Africa Media and Broadcasting Congress, Rick Joubert spoke about the mobile web in South Africa (before joining Yonder Media he was head of Mobile Media at Vodacom, so he has considerable commerical experience in mobile). He said that in general the mobile web is for 18s and over, and to reach the younger audience one should go MXit.

The best solution seems to be a mobisite that is accessible via MXit — something that has become possible only recently.

Kontax a finalist in the Bookmarks

Bookmarks logoThe Bookmarks Awards celebrates digital media in all its guises, and is coordinated by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) as a means to promote digital media in South Africa. It is the Loerie Awards for digital.

Kontax is a finalist in the Mobile Publishing category. Winners will be announced on 12 November. Just to be a finalist is a great honour. Well done, team!