French television company Canal+ has acquired the ROK film studio from IROKOtv in a bid to grow African film.
Canal+ which is 100% owned by the Canal+ Group, which in turn owned by Vivendi acquired the Nollywood-based studio for an undisclosed amount.
Founded by Jason Njoku in 2011, IROKOtv is a web platform that provides free and paid-for Nigerian films on-demand. Dubbed the ‘Netflix’ of Africa, it is the largest, legal online distributor of Nollywood films, with a library of more than 5,000 movies. ROK studios, on the other hand, was founded by actress and producer Mary Njoku, Jason Njoku’s wife.
According to the report on TechCrunch, Mary Njoku will stay on as Director-General under the acquisition terms.
“We will provide administrative support, finance, and equipment, but otherwise it is our intention to give Mary maximum autonomy and creative freedom,” said Canal+ Chief Content Officer Fabrice Faux .
While the acquisition price was not divulged, Faux confirmed there is a cash component of the deal. Under the deal, ROK will continue to create unique content for IROKOtv, ROK’s four existing channels which are on DSTV and ROK Sky UK, as well as Canal+’s Africa and global channels.
IROKOtv has to date raised more than US$30 million with latest being a Series E round in 2016 where the company raised US$19 million which also saw Canal+participation.