There was a time on the internet when streaming movies meant “streaming on foreign services like Blockbuster and Netflix”. During this period, there were hardly any Nigerian movies available for streaming online. In recent times, however, there have been a few streaming services which emerged to do what Netflix is doing the “African way”. One notable service is iRoko Tv.
iRoko TV was launched by fast-rising entrepreneur, Jason Njoku, and his co-founder, Sabastian Gotter, as an answer to the increasing global demand for Nollywood movies. What iRoko TV has achieved today is nothing short of remarkable as it has become the go-to service for exhilarating streaming experience.
The Big Idea
While living in faraway London, Jason discovered that there was a rising demand for African movies on a global scale. The market was big but supply, small, and this was due to the shortage of these movies on the internet. Seeing that there was a consequential void to be filled, Jason boarded the next flight to Nigeria; he was on his way to striking deals with local movie producers and laying the foundation for the web platform that would later provide access to over 5,000 movie titles and attract viewers from all over Africa and beyond.
From Little Things, Big Things Grow
In 2011, Jason first launched Nollywoodlove, the first major Youtube channel to offer full-length Nollywood movies, perhaps to test waters. It was relatively cheap and easy to acquire online license rights from the producers of these movies considering that there was hardly any competition in this industry. Within a short period of time, the channel has gained so much traction attracting over a million views from more than 200 countries around the world. Seeing the significance of this success, Tiger Global Management, a New York private equity firm which shared Jason’s interest to digitalise African content backed Jason with a sum of $10 million. This led to the launching of IRoko TV and in the space of three months, the service had garnered over half a million views.
iRoko TV is currently the streaming service of choice for many Africans both in the continent and beyond. As of 2016, its early investors had made a whopping 3000% profit on their investments. Its success in taking Nollywood global has been so significant that it was dubbed the “Netflix of Africa” by Forbes. Since its launch in 2011, iRoko TV has been diversified into a number of media including ROK TV, a Nigerian film production company and iRoko X, a platform where filmmakers, musicians, and other creatives are given the license to produce, distribute and monetise for 20% of revenue.
Featured image source: Iroko TV