Subscription VOD network, iROKOtv and pay TV operator, StarTimes will soon sign a deal that will bring two linear TV channels powered by the streaming service to StarTimes.

The two new channels are the iROKO Play and iROKO plus. According to a statement to TechCabal, the deal will be signed tomorrow at the content market industry conference, MIPTV when it opens tomorrow in France.

“Launching IROKO Play and IROKO Plus on Startimes is an exciting milestone for IROKO.  StarTimes are very much focused on bringing the very best entertainment to as many people as possible at an affordable price, which is why this new landmark partnership is so befitting,” iROKOtv’s CEO, Jason Njoku said in the statement.

The two channels will air exclusive Nollywood content. iROKO Play will be available on the StarTimes Basic bouquet – which flags a N1, 000 ($5) access cost and iROKO Plus which is touted to screen a more robust, updated and premium Nollywood movies will be available on the the pay TV’s Unique bouquet which has a monthly service charge of N3, 000 ($15).

It is unclear who is paying who for this deal, though this seems more like a case of convenient partnership.

iROKOtv is clearly taking the hustle offline with this deal. The partnership will see iROKOtv’s content, which up till now, were exclusively reserved for online streaming – inspite of its recent download feature – available offline and its audience demography stretched out to a more varied audience via StarTimes modest bouquets. iROKOtv will be better positioned to onboard users from StartTimes audience base; 4.6 million subscribers across 14 African countries.

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Perhaps the more interesting side to this deal is how StartTimes will now become more favourably positioned to take on DStv on the Nollywood content frontier. iROKOtv Play and Plus will most naturally take on DStv’s African Magic.

After Africa Magic, iROKOtv’s Nollywood catalogue is the largest. StarTimes subscribers considering DStv because of Africa Magic now have an incentive to stay on with the network.

DStv does have a product targeting a similar demography as with StarTimes in GOtv, but then, the full Africa Magic experience is reserved for its DStv Compact users who shell out N6,000 ($30) cost of access monthly. A StarTimes subscriber will now access a Nollywood catalogue just as robust for  half that cost, or less.

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As things stand right now, StarTimes just caught a freight train in a contest fought on the strength of robust content and access.

[Update]: iROKOtv has confirmed that StartTimes is the paying party in this deal, but just how much StartTimes is paying wasn’t revealed.

Image via: iRokotv

*The stats on Multichoice’s subscriber base varied from source to source, but we used data from DStv’s wikipedia page in this chart because it is more recent and aligns with probable projection from the one year old stats from Multichoice’s website which puts the subscriber base at 5000000

 

Gbenga Onalaja | Author

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