IROKO is doubling down on Kenya and Ghana, and the firm is hiring sales managers for these markets to drive its customer-base and revenue by signing-up new subscribers, a move, Nollywood and Internet TV lovers say is an easy sell as Nollywood is already a household name in these two markets.
With teams, kiosks and offices in these markets, IROKO expects to double up its user numbers, partnerships and revenues as Internet TV becomes a reality in Africa.
Speaking to TechMoran, CEO and Co-founder of iROKO Jason Njoku said, “Education and engagement worked really well in Nigeria. We believe that is the path to building a robust, long term subscription community across tier 1 African cities. This is why we’re looking to grow our presence in Kenya and Ghana over the coming months, to ensure we can connect better with our Nollywood communities across the continent.”
Though its wholly online, offline-to-online sales matter (in a bigly way) and the firm is not new at these as it had partnerships across the region before, especially in Rwanda it bundled over 4000 movies and television series with Tigo 4G bundles. The kiosks themselves will work magic for the firm in Kenya and Ghana due to powerful branding which was perfected by Coca Cola for decades then Safaricom’s M-Pesa and now agency banking.
In 2017, internet TV service is also an easy sale not just because of cheaper data costs and a higher internet penetration but due to a proliferation of similar services such as Netflix, iflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video among others.
In January 2016, iROKO announced multiple deals totaling $19m, both in content development and in capital funding from CANAL+ and existing investor Kinnevik AB. The funds were to be channeled into local content financing and production, as well as its product and engineering teams in Lagos and New York. The firm’s ambition was then was to produce at least 300 hours of original content with the expectation of doubling that by 2018. This will enable the company to build on its already extensive catalogue, making it arguably one of the largest libraries of local African content. We believe these has been achieved and the firm now needs to expand.
The Ghana expansion is geographically sensible but the two countries also have more in common than Jollof rice. The Kenya expansion is purely on data and economic projections and the increasing number of internet users in the country, reportedly at over 80 percent penetration according to Internet Word Stats.
“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,” Njoku said.
The offline expansion is also a futuristic move as mobile phone subscriptions in Africa are almost at 1 billion and by 2019, it is predicted that smartphone handsets, with which viewers can watch content, will make up 73% of the continent’s devices.
Njoku is looking for minds that can manage the team’s performance; monitor and track sales and come up with innovative sales strategies to push sign ups. The local teams will provide key insights that will determine sales strategies on ground to take IROKO into every home and office.
Ghana and East Africa are its second bet after it launched a service for French-speaking Africa with over 1,500 hours of affordable, premium Nollywood & Télénovelas content to millions of Francophone entertainment fans with titles such as Folie, Triangle Amoureux, Qui sera la femme idéale? and much loved Télénovelas such as La Patrona, Le Corps du Désir, and the best content from French Speaking Africa including Dinama Nekh and Chroniques Africaines.
Globally, iROKO Global has already signed a number of deals with partners, including Star Times, Canal, Nollywood TV, Lebara, Vox Africa, Zuku, British Airways, Emirates, The Africa Channel, South African Airways and The Nollywood Channel. East Africa and Ghana will therefore close the firm’s ambition to cover the world with Nollywood. They are close.