IrokoTV is the creation of Iroko Partners, a Nigerian company based in Lagos. The company had previously launched an all-movies channel on YouTube (NollywoodLove). In December 2011, Iroko Partners followed up their success with the YouTube channel by launching an all-movies streaming video website to show Nigerian home movies. Given the huge popularity of Nollywood movies in Nigeria and across Africa, it is not surprising that in the very first month of operation, IrokoTV grossed over 4.9 million page views, with 20,000 unique visitors and 962,000 visitors, and over 100,000 registered active users. These numbers are an advertiser’s delight, and Iroko Partners has been able to tap into this huge market by creating advertising space on its NollywoodLove YouTube channel and IrokoTV. Iroko Partners has generated revenues in excess of $1million, and IrokoTV looks set to provide another cash stream for the parent company Iroko Partners in terms of advertising revenue and the membership fees which are likely to be introduced at the end of the free membership period in June 2012.
IrokoTV’s business model is a simple but highly effective one. By employing the power of the internet in reaching out to millions of people with a product that has mass appeal, IrokoTV draws some of the heftiest traffic of any technology startup company. This traffic is then monetized by offering advertising slots to businesses to reach out to its viewing traffic. The best part about this model is that this advertising revenue does not depend on registered users only, but on every single hit that comes to the website. Online advertising is unique in that even one person can bring in thousands of paying customers down the line through word of mouth advertising.
In order to watch movies on IrokoTV, a visitor needs to register and get a username and password. With it, users can login and get access to all their favourite films. The story of IrokoTV has been featured on Forbes, CNBC Africa (Channel 410 on DSTV Africa), Financial Times, CNN and The Economist.
There are still a number of issues that are not yet clear about the operations of IrokoTV. Operating from a country where piracy is a big issue, it is not clear whether IrokoTV has a revenue sharing agreement with the producers and marketers of Nigerian films. One would want to believe that one exists, as it would be impossible for IrokoTV to have gone this far in such a short time without letting the film-makers in on a portion of its revenue.
Iroko TV is the brainchild of Jason Njoku, CEO of Iroko Partners. By his own account, he had a very rough start in business, losing money and drowned in debts as recently as four years ago. But as is the tradition of many rags to riches technology entrepreneurs, Jason Njoku was able to rough it out in Manchester, securing a Second Class Upper degree and being able to birth the concepts that have materialized today into IrokoTV and NollywoodLove. Jason Njoku has truly shown that trials are just an avenue to refocus and reengineer an individual.
We believe that IrokoTV will build on its business model in 2012 to create even more streams of income, while at the same time, keeping its numerous registered users and visitors coming back for more Nigerian and Ghanaian films.