France-based television company, Canal+ has bought ROK studios, the film studio of video-on-demand company IROKOtv. This is a move by Canal+ to help grow the African movie industry.
The amount for acquisition is not known at the moment. Nigerian movie is seen as the representation of the African films industry. In fact, Nollywood is one of the biggest movie industries after Bollywood and Hollywood in terms of production volume.
And IROKOtv can boast of being a single platform that has the largest online library of films from Nollywood. It was founded by Jason Njoku in 2010 and got a $45 million backing in venture capital.
Later, ROK films studios born. Founded by actor Mary Njoku (IROKOtv CEO’s wife), ROK was set up to produce original content for its parent — IROKOtv. The actor and producer will still be working at ROK Studios as Director General under Canal+ acquisition terms.
Canal+ seeks to make more production resources available to Mary and ROK Studios. Fabrice Faux, the Chief Content Officer at Canal+ told TechCrunch that the company was “acquiring the talent of Mary.”
“We will provide administrative support, finance and equipment, but otherwise it is our intention to give Mary maximum autonomy and creative freedom.”
Mary also remarked that “Nollywood is Africa…We tell the African story. You can bring a Nigerian story, a Ghanaian story, a South African story…we talk the same drama. So Africans can connect to the average Nollywood story anywhere in the world.”
From the acquisition deal, aside Canal+’s Africa and global channels, ROK studios will still produce original content for IROKOtv, as well as ROK’s four other channels: ROK Sky in the UK and three channels on DSTV.
With ROK’s acquisition, Canal+ looks to sell the Nollywood philosophy to other regions of Africa as well as the world. According to Mary and Fabrice, ROK and Canal+ will be open to create unique content for other video-on-demand platforms. “We could [for Netflix], or we could create a production corner on another VOD service,” Fabrice said.