|Launched||1 December 2011|
irokotv is a web platform that provides paid-for Nigerian films on-demand. It is one of Africa’s first mainstream online movie steaming websites, giving instant access to over 5,000 Nollywood film titles. irokotv is a part of iROKO Partners which is one of Africa’s leading entertainment companies, housing brands such as iROKING, an online music platform and its YouTube website, Nollywoodlove.
irokotv was launched on 1 December 2011. Its parent company, iROKO Partners, was founded by Jason Njoku and Bastian Gotter in December 2010, with its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. Dubbed the ‘Netflix’ of Africa, irokotv is the world’s largest legal digital distributor of African movies.
The irokotv website was launched on 1 December 2011 by iROKO Partners, who are one of the largest[dubious ] licensors and distributors of Nollywood movies. Jason Njoku, the company’s CEO and Bastian Gotter, now COO, met whilst students together at the University of Manchester together.
Njoku made several attempts to set up his own companies in the immediate years after university, but failed on each attempt. Njoku was inspired to start the company when he found it difficult to obtain Nollywood movies online for his mother, who he was living with at the time. Having researched the Nollywood industry, and noting the lack of infrastructure in place for international distribution of the movies, Njoku flew to Lagos, Nigeria, and purchased the online licenses of Nollywood movies directly from the producers. Having struck a deal with YouTube in Germany, he used the Google-owned platform to stream the licensed Nollywood movies, for free, on his channel, Nollywoodlove. The channel became hugely popular and was profitable in a short period of time and was the focus of a number of press features in international press, including CNBC, CNN and Techcrunch. The success of Nollywoodlove led to a successful investment from US-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management, who led a two-round investment totaling US$8 million, making it one of the biggest single investments into a West African Dot-com venture. A further investment round of $2m, led by Swedish-based hedge fund Kinnevik, followed in July 2012. The company has, in total, raised $25m of investment, making it one of the most well funded West African internet companies to-date.
irokotv works with most of Nollywood’s top film production houses and purchases the exclusive online licenses to their films, In an attempt to distribute Nollywood films to a global audience. The company’s audience is predominantly in the Diaspora, with top five countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Italy. Njoku is often recognized by his peers and in the media as a pioneer in African tech start-ups and in 2012 was voted by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of London’s top black men of power.
irokotv operates a subscription business model where users can access Nollywood movies via an Android App in Africa, and via an app or online in the West. In June 2015, iROKOtv CEO and Co-Founder, Jason Njoku announced that the company will be shutting down the website and streaming service in Africa, and shifting to mobile only from July that year.
- Internet Video Streaming
irokotv’s main offering is an internet video streaming platform of selected Nollywood titles (both English and Yoruba films). The platform currently has around 5,000 movies on the platform, which equals approx 10,000 hours of content. The company has also forged partnerships with leading global technology firms, including Nokia, who launched the irokotv App on the Nokia Lumia in January 2013.
Since 2014, the company has also moved into global offline distribution, and supplies a number of airlines with Nollywood content, including British Airways, South African Airways, Emirates, Kenya Airways and United Airlines
The company also has content partnership deals with Tigo, Nollywood Movies, The Africa Channel and Nollywood TV. In March 2015,iROKOtv launched a new feature that will enable subscribers download movies for later offline viewing.
In April 2015, iROKO began to move some of its content offline and launched two new TV channels, iROKO Play and iROKO Plus on Africa's StarTimes, to which Jason Njoku commented "We’re known primarily for leading OTT content delivery across Africa through irokotv.com, but with digital migration spreading rapidly throughout the continent, now is the right time for us to diversify our distribution model and expand into the Linear TV market."
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