Post A Job

Canal+ Acquires Nollywood Studio ROK from IROKOtv to Grow African Film

French television company Canal+ has acquired the ROK film studio from VOD company IROKOtv for an undisclosed amount.

Canal+ acquires Nollywood studio ROK from IROKOtv to grow African film

Founded by Jason Njoku in 2010—and backed by $45 million in VC—IROKOtv boasts the largest online catalog of Nollywood film content in the world.

Based in Lagos, ROK film studios was incubated to create original content for IROKOtv, which can be accessed online anywhere in the world.

Actress and producer Mary Njoku—IROKOtv CEO Jason Njoku’s wife—founded ROK studios and will stay on as Director General under the Canal+ acquisition.

Owned by media conglomerate Vivendi , Canal+ looks to give Mary more production resources, without disrupting ROK’s creative chemistry.
“We are acquiring the talent of Mary,” Canal+ Chief Content Officer Fabrice Faux told TechCrunch on a call.

“We will provide administrative support, finance, and equipment, but otherwise it is our intention to give Mary maximum autonomy and creative freedom,” he said.

With the ROK acquisition, Canal+ looks to bring the Nollywood production ethos to other countries and regions of Africa.

“It’s not that easy to produce an interesting movie for $20,000. People in Nigeria, particularly Mary and IROKO, know how to do that,” said Faux from Canal+.

“We want her to bring that to French speaking Africa. Because we need more African content and we need the industry to develop in French speaking Africa.”

Faux would not divulge the acquisition price but confirmed there is a cash component of the deal. “This is key for Jason…to developing the VOD aspects of IROKO,” he said.

Under the deal, ROK will continue to create unique content for IROKOtv, ROK’s four existing channels—three on DSTV and ROK Sky in the UK—as well as Canal+’s Africa and global channels.

The ability to reach a larger network of African consumers on the continent and internationally is another acquisition play for Canal+. Nollywood online content has proven the ability to find demand anywhere Africans are, including diaspora populations abroad. IROKOtv’s top-three streaming countries are Nigeria, the US, and the UK, according to a company spokesperson.

“We’ll now be able to do things in English speaking and French speaking African markets…and gain access to an advertising market where we believe there’s huge potential for growth,” said Faux.

The ROK acquisition is not the Canal+ Group’s first collaboration with IROKOtv. The media company joined a $19 million Series E investment in 2016, that also saw Canal+ and IROKO launch a French VOD channel. This was shortly after Netflix announced it would go live in Africa, though with little original African content. Netflix has since started to commission film content from Nigeria.

©Techcrunch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *