Online entertainment startup iROKO closes $19m in deals

Online entertainment startup iROKO has revealed that it’s closed multiple deals totaling US$19-million to beef up the Nigerian company’s operations and expand across the continent.

The figure is made up of content development and capital funding deals from French media giant CANAL+ and existing investor Kinnevik AB.

Launched in 2010 and headed by renowned entrepreneur Jason Njoku (pictured above), iROKO claims to be the largest online distributor of African content in the world. IROKOtv, for instance, claims to be the world’s largest online catalogue of Nollywood movies, with over 10 000 hours of movie and TV content streamed on-demand.

“With millions more Africans poised to come online via mobile in the coming years, our mission is to lead viewers to content they’ll love. This is something the vast majority of the continent struggles with today. We hope to bridge that divide, and this additional investment supports such a plan,” says Njoku in a recent press release.

These investments come after international online entertainment services like Naspers’ ShowMax and Netflix started making in-roads into Africa.

The tech startup will channel its new investments into local content financing and production, as well as its product and engineering teams in Lagos and New York. The ambition is to produce at least 300 hours of original content in 2016, with the expectation of doubling that by 2018.

iROKO currently has content partnerships with Canal+, BA, Emirates, Nollywood TV and Lebara and has two Linear TV channels on Africa’s Star Times.

Jacques du Puy, president of Canal+ Overseas, will join iROKO’s board.

“We congratulate Jason and all the iROKO team and investors for their outstanding achievement so far and we are proud to partner for the scale-up in French-Speaking Africa, with clear ambitions and the means to reach them,” says Fabrice Faux, CFO of Canal+ Overseas.

Read more: iRoko, Canal+ to launch Africa’s first French subscription VoD service in ‘multi-million euro’ deal

iROKO had previously raised US$25-million from international investors, including Tiger Global, Kinnevik and RISE Capital.

Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter


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