Towards the twilight years of the last decade, as Instagram gossip blogs took over dominance in the Nigerian cyberspace, Victor Ehindero, CEO, PotTV, was determined to have his fair share of the digital pie. So, he moved to WhatsApp, knowing that platforms like “Instablog were already emerging,” and Instagram had become a saturated space.
In an exclusive interview with Technext, Ehindero narrates his transition from the busy marketplace which is Instagram to WhatsApp.
The move to WhatsApp
Ehindero moved to WhatsApp in August 2016, sending broadcast news to his contacts.
Miles away, Snapchat’s founders had refused to sell the company to Meta, then known as Facebook. In vengeance across all its platforms, Meta launched the 24 hours timed features that made Snapchat attractive in the first place.
On WhatsApp, one of Meta’s products, Status was launched, modelled off Snapchat. This was the jackpot for Ehindero.
We have a low influx of influencers coming in, so it has really been our zone.Victor Ehindero, the CEO of PotTV
On pivoting to content creation
He pivoted from sending broadcasts to posting on his Status. Initially, he continued posting news content but discovered that he could never really break even in the space. Misinformation became a significant concern, and WhatsApp was launching a misinformation campaign. It felt to him like a bad bet that could be salvaged.
“If we were going to be a news platform, we had to have credible news,” he said.
“For a while, we were posting news and other content, but we discovered that people only want news because when it’s breaking. We decided to remove ourselves from that news sphere to stay above the noise. And then, what we focused on was content we could pick from Twitter. What we did was post reactions to the news.”
Soon, Victor Ehindero moved from just reactions to the news to working on keeping his users engaged and glued to his status. He started to host what he called at the time “Relationship 101, and “Confession nights,” asking viewers trivia questions and posting memes to answers.
“The content we are sharing on our platform, the activities we were doing, were generating so much organic buzz that many other people wanted just to join,” he said.
“We told our viewers ‘if you like what we’re doing, invite your friends’. We had so many mouth-to-mouth recommendations.”
On increasing his contacts
Ehindero wasn’t sure they would invite their friends, but “they invited them because it was something new. It wasn’t like the usual ask to go on Twitter or Instagram. People started trooping in, saying, ‘please save my contact, I want to view your status’. That was how we started building it.”
He rebranded as PotTV and since then it has been an upward trajectory for him.
“We were growing by crazy numbers. People fell in love with what we were doing. It was like a fresh breath of social media,” he said.
What he did inadvertently launched a new brand of influencers on WhatsApp. Over the years, they have splintered to creating different brands of content for their WhatsApp contacts, monetising the platform just like Tiktok, Twitter and Instagram influencers.
“People started setting up their own, saying ‘this thing is possible. I can do my own.’ We are widely acknowledged as the source of WhatsApp influencers,” he said.
On building a media empire
As he started monetising PotTV in 2018, the traffic soon became too much for only one person to handle. The time for expansion had come.
“I realised I needed a working structure in late 2018. Most people don’t realise that we have a full working structure at the backend,” he said.
I could not handle it alone. That was the time that the foundational team came.Victor Ehindero
Today, he is on the verge of building his own media empire. He has opened an office, complete with a studio, and has over 15 employees on PotTV’s monthly payroll.
“We have customer care. We have an advert enquiry section. We have content creators. We are gradually evolving into a media company,” he said.
This rise hasn’t been without any huddles. Like many other WhatsApp influencers, he discovered that there is a cap to growth on WhatsApp. WhatsApp won’t allow more than a certain number of people to view one’s status.
He worked swiftly, creating three more accounts to accommodate new users. Across the board, he has over 170,000 contacts who can view his status, averaging between 30,000 to 40,000 views per 24 hours times post on his status. This is, of course, excluding people that turn off read receipt, who when they view one’s status, one can’t know.
“We have one of the most active platforms,” Ehindero said.
Even as rumours have swelled that some WhatsApp influencers sell their contacts to advertisers for a few more coins, PotTV, building the trust of its contact, has refused to.
What’s next for PotTV and Victor Ehindero?
“Our goal in the next year is to double that number,” he said.
“We have launched our office and we have a studio set up already. We are looking to make a quiet move into the media business, offering media services. We are growing into a very big media and advertising company.”
“That’s just it for us, growth,” he added. “We’ve cracked the code, and I trust that everything is going to go smoothly.”
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