By iROKOtv | Shadow and Act August 4, 2014 at 3:10PM
iROKOtv.com, the world’s most popular Internet TV platform for African entertainment has unveiled a brand new international content package for its subscribers on the continent, to include TV series and movies from around the world. New content categories introduced on the platform include Hollywood, Bollywood, Telenovelas and Korean programming, to complement the platform’s extensive Nollywood catalogue of over 10,000 hours.
For as little as $2.50 a month, subscribers throughout English Speaking Africa (ESA) can now access an unrivaled and affordable international online content package, featuring Hollywood royalty, alongside the likes of Nollywood favorites Mercy Johnson, Majid Michel and Mama G.
Launched in December 2011, iROKOtv.com is currently the 11th largest Pay TV operator in Africa, with ambitious plans to grow to a top 5 position. Having secured additional funding early on in 2014, bringing the total raised from Tiger Global, Kinnevik and Rise Capital to $25M, the VC-backed pioneer of African Internet TV is rolling out its international content strategy across the continent, in a push to make OTT delivery a mainstream means of affordable and legal content consumption across Africa.
Jason Njoku, iROKOtv.com Co-founder and CEO says, “We have been passionate about bringing affordable content to viewers across Africa. This is just another milestone towards that. Internet TV will enable hundreds of millions of fans across the continent to finally be able to access awesome content.
“We see the web and mobile platform almost as equal to DTH and DTT platforms in the next few years and our focus is on achieving this in Africa, supplying the 800-million strong population of Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) with the best content on the planet, be it from Nollywood, Hollywood or Bollywood.”
The subscription service allows for unlimited, commercial-free viewing and in an effort to conquer the ongoing challenge of expensive data charges across Africa, all new content will also be subjected to advance encoding, allowing files to be compressed and significantly reduce costs associated with video streaming, whilst keeping picture quality as high as possible.
Pay TV in Africa is the fastest growing form of media on the continent and with the emergence of DTH and the rapid rise of DTT over the last 2 years, it is predicted that Internet TV will become the third distribution platform. The mobile revolution is set to propel this growth of internet-enabled devices, which will continue to grow as data becomes more affordable. The figure for such hardware devices is set to reach the hundreds of millions by 2017. Pay TV subscriptions across Africa currently stand at 10 million, with international bundles costing as much as $40 per month, making quality content unaffordable for the majority of the continent and therefore leaving the market open to extensive piracy. Today’s announcement from iROKOtv.com sees the company push for legally acquired quality content, at an affordable price for more millions more Africans.
Njoku adds, “We polled thousands of iROKOtv.com users in SSA and 80% indicated they didn't have Pay TV access. We feel our audience complements existing players and we are excited to be contributing to the Pay TV universe across Africa. However, our audience combats challenges not faced by their Western counterparts, such as a lack of constant electricity supplies to power their mobile phones, laptops and tablets, so we have to design our products within these parameters. We have spent the last three years understanding how to address these challenges, as well as focussing on how to deliver awesome, affordable and legal content in extreme bandwidth-light environments.”
Whilst the company plans to expand its international library, there will also be a renewed focus on local films, TV series and documentaries with at least 50% of the iROKOtv.com catalogue being homegrown African content.
iROKOtv.com currently holds the world’s largest online catalogue of Nollywood movies, totalling 5,000+ movies equating to 10,000+ hours of content. At present, the platform attracts viewers per month from 178 countries around the world and has offices in Lagos, New York and Johannesburg.
Since its launch in 2010, iROKOtv.com has closed on $25Mn of international VC investment from Tiger Global, Kinnevik and RISE Capital over five rounds and is valued at over $50Mn.