Over the last week French media giants Canal+ acquired Rok Studios (ROK 1,2 and 3 on DSTV and GOTV, ROK on SKY), the famous nollywood production company owned my Mrs. Mary Remmy Njoku, wife of IROKOtv Founder Jason Njoku. Rok studios started in 2013 and has grown over the years; they have produced more than 500 movies and series, this certainly puts them next to Multichoice in terms of content production on the continent of Africa.

Jason's Tweets
Jason’s Tweets, IROKOtv

Canal+ is currently on a quest to expand its reach and services in an attempt to gain dominance in Francophone Africa, and they saw Rok studios as an opportunity to gain this dominance having partnered with IROKOtv in the past.

For ROK, mode of operation has always been to produce African content on a modest budget then distribute it on Iroko’s various streaming platforms. This deal however will allow for more funds to be pumped into production and according to Mrs. Njoku

Mary Njoku, Rok Studios
Mary Njoku, Rok Studios

“The acquisition allows ROK to expand and produce more content,”. She further said that the content will be produced here in Nigeria, alongside other African countries with the goal to develop new talent on all sides alongside content production.

Rok Studios is now expected to produce tons of content for Canal+ and it’s French Audience, third parties are also said to benefit for this partnership according to the report from techcabal. This acquisition doesn’t in anyway involve IROKOtv, it’s still intact.

Canal+
Canal+

Rok Studios will still operate as an independent company, Mrs. Njoku will remain the Director General this is certainly as a result of her retaining her stakes in the company. This probably is a deal Canal+ has had in the blocks for a very long time as they partnered previously with Jason’s IROKOtv to launch Iroko+ in 2016. Iroko+ is a video-streaming app that recently crossed 1 million downloads on play store and is targeted mainly for French speaking African countries.

This brings us to discussing exits in Africa, and what the IROKO Empire stand to gain from this deal?

Jason Njoku, IROKOtv
Jason Njoku, IROKOtv

Exits in Africa is rare, it’s not something you get to see everyday like in San Francisco or outside Africa in general, this is why this particular acquisition is glamorous.

IROKO has got a lot to gain from this deal, we don’t have the numbers but this probably has an awesome financial benefit (this isn’t disclosed due to sensibilities in France for the Vivendi Group, according to Jason’s article on medium) and would be super important in his quest to developing the Video on demand Aspects of IROKO, Fabrice Faux, Chief Content Officer at Canal+ told techcrunch. This Exit, described as fantastic by Jason further analyzed that ROK was just 6 years and required less than one million dollar equity and a debt of $1.4m bank of industry loan before the big exit.

Changes in IROKO?

IROKOtv
IROKOtv

Most certainly, for IROKO the time for growth is now and as Jason wrote in his medium article, “the focus is now more on Subscriber growth, content distribution and the likes”. He gave an example of how Indian startup byju disrupted the edtech space because they are a sales driven organization.

He further explained the necessity to upscale telesales with the increase of agents, new hardware/crm systems, focus more on having more dealers sign up (and discontinuing the kiosk program).

The Future

Jason Njoku
Jason Njoku
  • IROKO will try to strike a balance investing in both international and Africa subscribers
  • IROKO will diversify from being SOLELY about Nollywood into being a major African distributor of Bollywood, Telenovela, Korean and Kids content.
  • Liquidity could happen, but the goal is to keep the business still running optimally
  • London Stock Exchange soon? (1m Subscribers, around $100m+ in valuation)

 

This is a path ROK has cleared for IROKO its just amazing how they have survived and maintained leadership over the years especially in the heart of Africa where paid content is ‘difficult’, we have seen the likes of Kwese and Showmax fumble and jumble, Netflix isn’t also crushing it in this path of the world, to this point growth for IROKO has boiled down to Ambition and sheer determination of both Jason and Mary they will hit the 1m sub base and it can only get better from there.