iROKOtv, arguably one of the biggest online streaming sites in Nigeria has just received a massive financial injection – to the tune of $19 million.
The investment deal includes content development and capital funding, and has been spear-headed by French media giant CANAL+ and existing investor Kinnevik AB.
The bulk of the new investment will be used for the financing of local content and production, as well as some product and engineering teams in Lagos and New York. With the new funds, it is aiming to produce at least 300 hours of original content in 2016. It wants to double that in the next two years.
“With millions more Africans poised to come online via mobile in the coming years, our mission is to lead viewers to content they’ll love. This is something the vast majority of the continent struggles with today,”said CEO and Co-founder of iROKO Jason Njoku, in a press statement.
“We hope to bridge that divide, and this additional investment supports such a plan. For us, there is no version of reality where the marriage between Africa’s most powerful communication tool [mobile] and the most prolific and loved entertainment provider [Nollywood] won’t be a joyous union,” he said.
iROKO competes directly with US streaming giant Netflix, which launched across Africa three weeks ago.
But while Netflix is a global behemoth, Njoku said that it has had no impact on its business. One of the biggest drivers for iROKO is its huge line-up of Nollywood films – movies that have been made in Nigeria.
“If it’s Nollywood fanatics, you know those guys can watch 3-5 hours per day, so iROKO is still the only place they can find most of what they are looking for. Considering we are one of the biggest actual producers of Nollywood, I don’t see that changing anytime soon,”he told Disrupt Africa earlier this month.
“In time, we will be able to produce 200 movies a year ourselves, no shaking. And with the evident collapse of the DVD market, this only makes us stronger.”