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‘More iROKOtv viewers in London than Nigeria’


More viewers of Nigerian Nollywood movie internet streaming service iROKOtv are in the UK city of London than in the West African nation of Nigeria, which has a population of 170 million.

This was revealed in a CNBC Africa interview on Wednesday with iROKO Partners chief executive officer (CEO) Jason Njoku, who said the continent's content distribution outlets have a long way to go.

Even though Nollywood is the world’s third largest film industry after Hollywood and India’s Bollywood, Njoku in the interview said that there are under 100 cinema screens in Nigeria versus over 13,000 in India.

Njoku has made these comments while in South Africa for the Discop Africa gathering -- an event that aims to facilitate content development, production and distribution in Africa.

In the CNBC interview, Njoku went on to emphasise that Africa needs to develop further with regard to content distribution.

He suggested one measure to attaining this goal relates to improved internet infrastructure.

According to Internet World Stats Q2, only 7% of the African population had internet access in 2012. Meanwhile, Nigeria only has a 6% broadband penetration rate, according to Nigerian ICT minister Omobola Johnson.

Regarding internet infrastructure, Njoku in the CNBC interview said “there is billions of dollars in capex going towards creating that environment but we're (Africa) not there yet."

He then added, "To put that in context we have more viewers in London than we have in the whole of Nigeria, which is just ridiculous."

Njoku explained that a strong audience for iROKOtv has been the African diaspora in countries such as the UK and US.

iROKOtv claims to have around one million unique visitors, with people watching from 178 countries around the world.

Regardless of the early stage at which Africa’s content distribution market appears to be in, though, Njoku did say that shifts could occur within the next five to ten years.

In the CNBC interview, he said that since the launch of iROKOtv in 2010, 30 different internet streaming services of African content have been formed.

Meanwhile, Njoku is in South Africa as controversy is courting his company’s music streaming service iROKING.

Last week, iROKO Partners released a statement saying that Michael Ugwu was fired as chief executive officer of its music service iROKING after he allegedly set up his own digital music offering.

Ugwu, though, has issued a public statement in which he hits back at the company for firing him and for the way in which it is ‘streamlining’ iROKING.


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