Howzit MSN, operated by Kagiso Media in partnership with Microsoft, is the South African version of the popular Microsoft MSN portal. The site plans to expand into East and West Africa to bring users in those markets local news that is tailored to their needs.
The Kenyan and Nigerian MSN portals will be first, with the official launch happening on 1 July.
Initially, these portals will offer dedicated news, entertainment, sports and lifestyle channels as well as property and careers content. Further channels will be added to the mix as the new portals evolve. The content will be produced and curated by MSN’s African editorial team, led by Kate Hodges, African Editor in Cape Town.
MSN Africa will be placing a heavy emphasis on mobile access to the news and will create mobile versions of the sites that can be accessed from feature phones as well as smartphones. This will allow it to serve continent across multi screens meeting the demand for many people who are getting online for the first time through their phones.
Says Marcus Stephens, GM of Howzit MSN: “There is a growing hunger for localised content across Africa as undersea cables, mobile broadband and falling Internet access costs bring more people online. We aim to address this need with the same formula of locally relevant, easy to digest content that we offer our audience in South Africa.”
“We want to be as local in content, look and feel as possible. The many readers we already have in Nigeria and Kenya are sure to be delighted when they go online on 1 July and are greeted by fully local content rather than the American version of the site they are used to seeing. This is just the start for our business in Africa - we aim to bring more content to this market and to launch in other countries over the next few months.”