News / Arts & Entertainment

    Nigerian Films Get Boost from UK-based Online Startup

    Some Kenyan filmmakers have been inspired by the success of Nigeria's film industry, whose content is available at this shop in Nairobi, July 14, 2006.Some Kenyan filmmakers have been inspired by the success of Nigeria's film industry, whose content is available at this shop in Nairobi, July 14, 2006.
    x
    Some Kenyan filmmakers have been inspired by the success of Nigeria's film industry, whose content is available at this shop in Nairobi, July 14, 2006.
    Some Kenyan filmmakers have been inspired by the success of Nigeria's film industry, whose content is available at this shop in Nairobi, July 14, 2006.
    Reuters
    Nigerian films don't often make it to Western cinemas, but Nigerians living abroad can now see their favorite “Nollywood” movies thanks to a London-based Internet startup.
     
    Jason Njoku, a 31-year-old Londoner of Nigerian descent, got the idea for his company iROKOtv.com when his mother asked him to get her some DVDs of Nigerian movies and he couldn't find any online.
     
    “People are definitely desperate for African content, not just in Africa but in the diaspora,” Jessica Hope, iROKOtv's communications officer, said on the sidelines of the AfricaCom telecoms conference in Cape Town.
     
    “If you lived in Malaysia, where there are a lot of Nigerians, how do you get hold of a Nollywood DVD? Access has been the issue.”
     
    Although popular across Africa, “Nollywood” content had not been aggregated by anyone for an online audience, missing out on a potential market of millions of African emigrants.
     
    Nigeria's film industry is one of the world's biggest, churning out some 3,000 movies every year with revenues of an estimated $300-500 million.
     
    Three years from its founding, Njoku's iROKOtv.com online video library has 5,000 titles of popular Nollywood titles and gets a million unique hits monthly from 178 countries around the world.
     
    Most visits are from the African diaspora, with half them from the United States and United Kingdom. Although 95 percent of the content is free, iROKOtv is now making money from 22,000 subscribers paying $5 for 12 new movies each month, Hope said.
     
    iROKOtv has attracted the interest of U.S. venture capitalists who have raised a $13 million kitty for an online platform and content, Hope said.
     
    The company expects demand on the continent itself to skyrocket once Africa has more reliable and cheaper broadband.
     
    In Western countries, iROKOtv's demand peaks after working hours, but in Nigeria, activity picks up in late morning as workers log on to free Internet at the office, Hope said.
     
    “That is the only way they would ever be able to watch or stream,” Hope said.
     
    Only 5 percent of traffic is from Nigeria, she added.
     
    Internet bottleneck
     
    iROKOtv has launched a mobile phone site so fans in Africa with scant Internet access can view free trailers, news and gossip clips on their phones. Nearly half of the traffic to that site is from Nigeria, highlighting the need for iROKOtv's content.
     
    Although piracy remains the bane of “Nollywood”, iROKOtv has added DVD sales in cities like Lagos and Johannesburg, banking on higher quality and presentation to draw customers, despite charging higher prices than for pirated materials.
     
    It has had to pay as much as $20,000 for an online license for a film although prices can be as little as $1,000 per title.
     
    The company has spent $5 million on content and co-funded 60 movies in 2012 to expand its stable and operations, which employ about 80 people.
     
    But until Internet connectivity picks up in Africa, iROKOtv will have to be content with five percent subscriber growth every month, Hope said.
     
    “If we had 10 percent of Africa logging on to iROKOtv, I would be buying champagne now, the company would look completely different,” she said.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.