iROKO moves into content distribution

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Video-on-demand (VoD) startup iROKOtv today announced it will move into content distribution and licensing, launching a distribution network, iROKO Global, as the company vies for profitability.

Disrupt Africa has reported on iROKO’s tribulations over the past months, which have seen the startup shift away from its original online VoD model.  

In June, the company shut down its desktop service for African users, saying it would focus on a mobile-only experience for African markets, with founder Jason Njoku blaming 3G infrastructure as making streaming too difficult in an African context.  For international markets, accounting for 85 per cent of iROKOtv’s revenues and subscribers, desktop remained intact.

Last week, iROKO revealed substantial downsizing at its Nigerian operations, laying off 130 of its staff in Lagos, in favour of new hires in London.  The company said it was moving to “where the talent is”, as iROKOtv “strive[s]for profitability”.

Today’s launch sees iROKO go after a new avenue of revenue potential, by shifting into the content distribution and licensing space.

The company will license its library of Nollywood films and TV series to on and offline providers, across pay TV, internet TV, inflight and YouTube channels.

Founder Njoku said the move presents the potential of strong revenues, and will help towards brand building.

“Leading viewers to what they love is our ethos and what has underpinned this decision to move into content distribution. As the very nature of home entertainment and content consumption is changing, so must content distribution,” Njoku said.

“Having forensically tracked the growth of interest in African content across the globe, we predict that iROKO Global will generate a strong revenue stream for us and will help cement our position as Africa’s leading entertainment brand.”

The company said the new venture is already bringing in seven figure revenues.  Key markets for the new project will include the US, UK and France, iROKO said.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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