In a move to expand its coast in the African entertainment market, French media giant, Canal+ Group, has acquired Nigerian production studio, ROK film studios from IROKO TV.
Launched in 2013 by actor and producer, Mary Njoku, ROK produces Nigerian and Ghanaian movies across DSTV and GOTV platforms, with a robust internet streaming service on IROKO TV.
Njoku told CNN on Monday that Canal+ is working with ROK because the studio has the ability to create Nollywood content at scale.
“They (Canal+) wanted an organization that could supply their studio with Nollywood content. They have some channels in Francophone Africa and wanted a supply of African content for those channels,” she said.
According to her, “when a company as big as Canal+ acknowledges and is ready to work with us to export Nollywood, it sends out a positive signal to the movie industry. Filmmakers are assured that they are doing something right,” Njoku said.
Canal+ currently offers Nollywood TV, a fiction channel dedicated to Nigerian movies to its subscribers in French-speaking Africa.
According to CNN, Canal+ has turned its sights on African viewers as growth has declined in its home terrain due to competition from Amazon, Apple and Netflix.
In a media release, Canal+ said the ROK acquisition represents a key stage in its international expansion. “It allows the group to be present across the entire Nollywood value chain, and acquire unique expertise in the mass production of African fiction — films, series, and entertainment,” it said.
The acquisition is expected to help the French company battle US streaming company, Netflix and Chinese Pay TV operator, StarTimes, in the African entertainment market. Netflix has already succeeded with high profile Nollywood acquisitions, like Lionheart, Chief Daddy, October 1 and Fifty.