Leading African film studio and international TV network ROK has handed over controls to French television company CANAL + Group following an acquisition whose financial details are yet to be disclosed.
The deal which covers production, content distribution, and publishing channels, will see the buyer also take full control of the JV IROKO+, the best-known SVOD platform for Francophone Africa.
This development comes in the wake of CANAL + Group’s intentions to strengthen its content production reach in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. Mary Remmy Njoku (wife of Jason Njoku), the founder of ROK will retain her role and Director General of ROK Productions SAS and continue holding her material shareholding in the company.
Her creativity so far has led ROK to produce more than 540 movies and 25 original TV series, according to company data.
Following the acquisition, the Lagos-based firm will produce thousands more of Nollywood content to deliver movies and original TV series for CANAL+ Group’s audiences in French-speaking Africa. As part of the buy, CANAL+ Group will continue to collaborate with IROKO Ltd, with the non-exclusive content distribution of ROK content via the IROKOtv SVOD app.
ROK is a (2013) incubatee of IROKO Ltd, Africa’s leading Nollywood digital content distributor, whose flagship platform we know as IROKOtv has brought about a significant transformation of how Nigeria-made movie content is accessed and consumed around the world.
Speaking on the acquisition, Mary Njoku says, “ROK has captured the imagination of millions of movie fans, and they have truly supported us as we’ve grown the company to celebrate and enjoy our African culture.
I’m excited to be taking our platform on the next stage of its journey with CANAL+ Group, who share our passion for creating original content, supporting new talent and together, we have ambitious plans for the future.”
Jacques du Puy, CEO of CANAL+ International says, “Through this acquisition CANAL+ Group is very happy to develop and enhance the catalog of Nollywood contents and expand the ROK brand inside and outside the African continent.”
This is not the first time CANAL + is joining forces with IROKOtv. In 2016, the media platform participated in a USD 19 Mn Series E investment, the same time which both parties launched a French VOD channel.
This happened not long after Netflix announced its going-live-in-Africa initiative, since which it has been commissioning film content from what appears to be Africa’s biggest movie industry – Nigeria.
By 2009, Nollywood had surpassed Hollywood as the world’s second-largest movie industry by volume, right behind India’s Bollywood. And in 2014, the Nigerian government released data for the first time showing Nollywood is a USD 3.3 billion sector, with 1844 movies produced in 2013 alone.