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Canal+ inks multi-million euro deal with Nigeria’s iRoko

MUMBAI: French content company Canal+ Group has entered into a multi-million euro deal with Nigerian subscription-based internet platform iRoko to create and launch the first Francophone subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service aimed at bringing affordable, popular mobile TV content to French-speaking Africa.

The mobile-first Android App with download functionality is set to launch in the coming months. Designed to optimise data consumption, the service will aim to build a new mobile-only subscriber base across Francophone Africa.

Canal + group now owns and broadcasts the largest catalogue of African content, including Nollywood films and TV series, African homemade series and shows and South-American TV Novelas, for French-speaking Africa.

The two partners had previously worked together through content distribution deals for linear TV channels such as Nollywood TV, and are now consolidating their partnership to launch this standalone Android app.

With over 250 million French-speakers across 23 countries in Africa, and as mobile Internet penetration continues to spread across the continent, the iRoko Android app will cater to a significant growth market, with 165 million smartphones estimated to be in circulation before 2020.

Understanding the need for localisation, the app will be translated fully into French; all content will be in French.

Canal+ Overseas president Jacques du Puy stated, “Now that Canal+ is close to having two million pay TV households in Africa, our ambition is to widen our audience to those whose mobile is the main entertainment device. iRoko’s original approach integrating popular content production and mobile SVOD perfectly matches our group’s entertainment vision in French- Speaking Africa. This will also allow us to make more accessible the contents that we specifically produce and design for the African market.”’

iRoko CEO Jason Njoku added, “iRoko has been committed to leading viewers to content they will love and Canal+ Overseas shares our vision, translated into French. Canal+ has over 20 years’ experience of delivering content to Francophone Africa, we have an unrivalled Nollywood content catalogue and have pioneered VOD in Africa. Together, we will be giving the many millions of French-speaking Nollywood and Telenovela fans unprecedented access to content that has previously been inaccessible. We believe truly amazing, yet affordable content is the right balance to strike in Sub Saharan Africa and this deal is testament to that.”