Canal+ expands into Nollywood with ROK acquisition; Mary Njoku to remain in charge
French television giant, Canal+ has acquired Nollywood’s ROK film studio from VOD company iROKOtv for an undisclosed amount, TechCrunch is reporting.
ROK was founded in 2010 by Jason Njoku, who has managed to raise $45 million in venture capital fund since the company’s inception.
Also according to TechCrunch, the acquisition deal gives Canal+ control of ROK Studios with a catalogue of over 2,000 hours.
Furthermore, Canal+ is also acquiring iROKO Partners’ distribution business, covering the distribution of proprietary and third-party titles globally and four channels marketed under the ROK brand and distributed in Anglophone Africa as well as in the UK via Sky.
As part of the acquisition, ROK co-founder and wife of Jason, Mary Njoku, will continue in a leadership role as the director-general of ROK Productions SAS and will maintain a material shareholding in the company.
ROK will produce thousands of more hours of Nollywood content to deliver movies and original TV series for CANAL+ Group’s audiences in FSA. As part of the acquisition, CANAL+ Group will continue to collaborate with IROKO Ltd, with a non-exclusive content distribution of ROK content via the IROKOtv SVOD app.
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 catalogue of Nollywood contents and expand the ROK brand inside and outside the African continent.”
There is no doubt that this acquisition will throw more global light on Nollywood and African content generall. Recall that Netflix has already made its intention of commissioning African content known and has, in fact, made strides in that respect. The onus is for African filmmakers and producers to up their game. The era for mediocrity is clearly bygone and anyone who wants to remain in the game needs to step.
Congratulations to the ROK family for this important milestone in their corporate history.