Canal + Group, a French film and TV studio and distributor, has partnered with iRoko, a web platform providing Nigerian films on demand, to create the first mobile TV subscription video-on-demand service for French-speaking Africa, according to an IndieWire blog.
No date has been published for the launch, which will happen “in the coming months,” the report said.
iRoko has more than 5,000 Nollywood film titles. Canal + also has 5,000 film titles, and claims it is the largest catalog of African content, including Nollywood TV series, African homemade series and shows and South American TV novelas for French-speaking Africa.
The multi-million-euro deal is a mobile-first, mobile-only Android app designed to optimize data consumption, IndieWire reports. All content on the app will be in French.
Canal + and iRoko aren’t the only players making moves in Francophone Africa SVOD for mobile.
Niche movie-streaming service Afrostream provides African and African-American content for French-speaking Europe, with sights set on French-speaking Africa, IndieWire reports.
Canal + and iRoko worked together before on content distribution deals for linear TV channels such as Nollywood TV. With the launch of this standalone Android app, they’ll be consolidating their partnership.
Africa has more than 250 million French speakers in 23 countries. Mobile Internet penetration continues to grow with 165 million smartphones forecast to be in circulation before 2020.
Canal+ already has almost 2 million pay-TV household customer in Africa, said company president Jacques du Puy.
“Our ambition is to widen our audience to those whose mobile is the main entertainment device,” du Puy said. “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.”
The partnership will give millions of French-speaking Nollywood and Telenovela fans access to content that was previously inaccessible, said iRoko CEO Jason Njoku.