If you’re a Netflix streaming subscriber, you just may have noticed the service’s recent Nollywood (Nigerian cinema) additions to its library! It’s because Netflix, the world’s leading internet based movie and TV series streaming service, and iROKO TV, the leading distributor of Nollywood films online recently, have inked a deal, after what are said to have been months of negotiations, that would see Netflix launch a dedicated “African movies” section.
According to Jason Njoku, CEO of iROKO TV, “Obviously with 57 million subscribers globally, working with Netflix is a great first step to widening, or at least improving the visibility of Nollywood. Which again is super important to us at iROKO.”
iROKO previously signed an exclusive content partnership with producers of Nollywood titles and video sharing site, YouTube, and serves as the website’s official Nollywood partner, featuring full-length movies, all very much in line with YouTube’s recent increasing shift towards long-form video.
It’s also worth noting that Njoku and iROKO are getting into content production as well (films and TV series), launching ROK Studios. In the below interview with Smart Monkey, he talks about that specifically.
Njoku launched iROKO in 2010, at 29-years-old, when he realized that there was a growing appetite for Nollywood films, after noticing how his mother and other relatives living overseas, had difficulties getting their hands on their beloved movies from Nigeria’s booming film industry. The tech entrepreneur spotted the gap in the market he founded iROKO Partners, the internet company that distributes Nollywood films to viewers across the world. Described as the “Netflix of Africa,” Njoku’s company has today grown to have more than millions of registered users.
Early investors include U.S.-based hedge fund Tiger Global (also early investors in Facebook).