The first fruits of the Canal+ investment in Irokotv have ripened. After a vague allusion to the launch of a shiny new product on Twitter, Irokotv’s founder and CEO, Jason Njoku took to his blog today to announce Iroko+, which is basically previous Irokotv content, overdubbed with French.
Today we go live across all countries in French Speaking Africa.There will almost 1,800 hrs of French dubbed Nollywood, Telenovelas and African series. And even better, we are going to make it free until 1st June 2016.
If you assume that each film title runs for 90 minutes, Iroko+ would easily have more than 1,000 titles ready for this new french audience to consume. That is less than a quarter of Irokotv’s vast catalogue that comprises Nollywood movies, telenovelas and African series. But the plan is to collect data on viewing habits and preferences to inform the next wave of french localisation. To drive the mission home, Iroko+ will be delivered via an Android app that is French through and through.
Asides Netflix which rolled out to the whole world in late 2015, the only significant VOD streaming platform that catered to French-speaking Africa was Afrostreams.tv, a YCombinator-incubated startup. Canal+ and Irokotv reckon they can reach a whole new audience to the 250 million who reside in Francophone Africa with Iroko+. The visual concatenation of both brands suggests that the integration will be deep. A future outright acquisition of the Nigerian startup by the 32 year old media company is not out of the question.
“This launch goes far beyond exploration; it’s a considerable expansion for us, and a real test of the new iROKO / Canal+O partnership”, Jason said, on his blog.
In January 2016, Irokotv announced that it had raised $19 million from previous investor, Kinnevik, and Canal+, a French media company active in Europe and French-speaking Africa. That transaction brought Jacques du Puy, President of Canal+ Overseas, onto Iroko’s board.