French Television Canal+ has acquired of Nigerian start-up production studio ROK from Africa on-demand Nollywood entity Iroku TV. This is seen as a move by the French Pay TV to venture into African local production that ROK is known for.
Nigerian film and cinema industry is known globally for its intriguing local content and it only thought to be second in terms of the number of production to India’s Bollywood. With nearly $4 billion in revenue and almost 2,000 productions every year, the industry has become a significant revenue earner for Nigeria.
The acquisition positions the French giant centrally to the management of local African content that has been in quite a demand in Africa. Not only does the French television has a rich African audience within France, but it has spread to most of West Africa providing a rich catchment for African content.
Canal+ owned by Vivendi aims to add 1.5 million African subscribers by 2020 to bring the total to about 5 million, up from 1 million five years ago
“ROK will produce thousands of more hours of Nollywood content to deliver movies and original TV series for Canal+ Group’s audiences,” ROK said in a statement.
Under the deal, Canal+ acquired ROK’s production, content distribution, and publishing channels, from IROKO Ltd, Africa’s digital content distributor for Nigerian films. ROK founder Mary Njoku will continue as general director of ROK Productions.
ROK is an offshoot of IROKOtv which has been doing really well in the area of Video-On-Demand. Jason Njoku founded iROKOtv in 2010 but said he made a mistake to count on streaming from the start. Data costs were prohibitive, as is access to reliable broadband across huge swathes of the continent.
“This acquisition represents a key stage in Canal + group’s international expansion. It allows the group to be present across the entire Nollywood value chain, and acquire unique expertise in the mass production of African fiction films, series, and entertainment,” Canal+ said in a media release.
Jacques du Puy, CEO of Canal+ International, added: “Through this acquisition, Canal+ Group is very happy to develop and enhance the catalog of Nollywood content and expand the ROK brand inside and outside the African continent.”