This Is What iROKOtv’s New Download Feature Tells Us About Africans Viewing Behaviour


iRokotv has added a new “download” feature to it’s SVOD platform. It allows subscribers download movies for offline viewing.

In a super-stealth modification to its platform last week and a short announcement on its social media accounts yesterday, iRokotv announced that the new feature is now available to existing and new subscribers., and for free too.

But that’s not the news, not really. The reason why iRokotv is adding this new feature though might be.

“In Nigeria (and Africa), peak viewing is between 10am – 5pm. Office hours,” iRoko Partners’ co-founder, Jason Njoku told Techcabal while sharing the unique insight behind the modification.  “During this time, the ISP networks people are using are enterprise level data. This is the opposite to every other ‘normal’ (read Western) market. Yet we believe viewing patterns globally are similar. The difference is/was data availability,” he added.

In other words, Nigerians (Africans) do most streaming during the most productive hours of the day. And, this is a data point to be taken seriously.

A lot of reasons could be responsible for this, but I have two theories:

  1. Africans loathe their jobs and streaming videos during office hours is their only reprieve. (Just Kidding)
  2. When you put internet availability and cost of access into perspective, it might be that the only period Africans have robust and cheap (free) access is during the office hours.

Of course, this odd viewing bearing will not only beat down on quantity and quality of output by African working class and enterprises, but will also rack up a higher markup in data subscriptions for enterprises.

Interestingly, the new download feature is how the guys at iRokotv have chosen to respond to this odd viewing behaviour in the African VOD space. A smart move indeed. And enterprises can thank iRokotv later. Whether the new feature will actually translate into behaviour modification on the part of subscribers is what remains to be seen.

A good way to stop subscribers from streaming – and now downloading – via enterprise networks might be to provide cheap and accessible data, which is naturally beyond iRokotv’s sway. Then again iRokotv currently has agreements with Ghana’s Vodafone and Rwanda’s Tigo for cheap bundled services. Jason told Techcabal that the company will announce quite a few more partnerships with MNOs over the next few months. This will especially help in Nigeria, currently with the most expensive access to internet in the iRokotv’s African VOD space.

Downloads on iRokotv are naturally DRM protected, and while there are no time limits/viewing windows on the downloads, users are limited to ten movie downloads at any particular time. This means that subscribers can’t share downloaded files and cannot have more than ten movies available offline on the platform at any time.

Image via: iRokotv


  • A Solo View Fan says:

    Gbenga, have you heard of Solo View???? The credit for this insight “download first” belongs to Solo View. Solo launched their Video On Demand product as a download first solution while others were all focused on streaming. Assuming that you didn’t know before, now you do.

    • timchuks87 says:

      Hey Solo-view fan, there’s nothing particularly new about “download first”, companies like Iroko presumably bleeds less in direct revenue with their video streaming option.

      Potential revenue lost via shared downloaded contents on public forums or by peer to peer ‘gifting’ is arguably ‘curbed’ by a stream-only option.

      Iroko coffers won’t be swooning in new naira by this addition, but at least they’d be taking up less server load as a result. Download once, share amongst friends and watch.

      I think they can meter the downloads. And provide upgrades/plans of available download speed. Same ole!

    • Jason Shagaya Oviosu says:

      ‘ “download first” belongs to Solo View’ –> lol

  • A Solo View Fan says:

    Gbenga, Solo has some innovations around data as well. Frankly, the Company, Solo Phone/Content, in my opinion is one of the most innovative companies I have come across in Nigeria/ Africa…and it’s still early days. Btw, I’m an Iroko fan as well.

  • Abimbola Sojimi says:

    Interesting revelation. I believe it’s because of the available fast data during working hours. Subscribers can now rest assured and download to view later freeing up time to do actual office work.

  • Iyinoluwa Aboyeji says:

    Key question to ask is how they intend to protect intellectual property of content owners who put their content on their platform with this download option.

  • Anon says:

    Eyin Ti TechCabal, Ejo ki ni meaning DRM protected?

    Transformer Jonothan ti transform brain mi.

    Eku ise oh, eyin Iroko oluwere!

Comments are closed.