AFRICANGLOBE – iROKOtv, the world’s largest online distributor of Nigerian movies, has raised $8 million in venture capital from a group of international investors.
According to a blog post by Jason Njoku, the Nigerian co-founder of iROKOtv, a Video On Demand (VOD) platform which has severally been referred to as the ‘Netflix of Africa’, the new funding round came from American hedge fund Tiger Global, Swedish-based Kinnevik, an early investor in group buying site Groupon, and Rise Capital.
According to Njoku, iROKO has raised $21 million total over the past two years, thereby making the company one of the best funded internet startups in Africa. Njoku founded iROKOtv in 2010. In April 2012, iROKOtv raised $8 million from Tiger Global, and in July of the same year, Swedish investment company Kinnevik invested $2 million. Njoku says he also raised $5 million from an unspecified investor in December 2012.
In a press statement, Njoku said the new funding will be used to further fuel the company’s expansion and realize its long term goal of becoming one of Africa’s pre-eminent media companies.
iROKOtv traditionally uses capital it raises to acquire digital distribution licenses from movie producers, paying between $1,000 – $25,000 per movie. In July last year, iROKOtv launched its subscription service, iROKOtv PLUS, which charges subscribers $5 a month to access the latest Nigerian movies. While Njoku and his team decline to give the number of paying subscribers, he has stated several times that the iROKOtv PLUS business is currently growing rapidly and is now the largest single source of revenue for the company. More than 90% of the site’s content is still free and is supported by web advertising.
iROKOtv has aggregated the world’s largest online Nollywood catalogue, now standing at 5,000+ movies. The company has been credited by for pioneering VOD for Africa and African continent.