Netflix the world’s leading internet TV service and iROKOtv, its African equivalent are officially coming together. This is all in line with Netflix’s aim of launching a section committed specifically to the African market. While the world shifts from traditional forms of media to digital media such as internet TV it only makes sense to stay ahead of the trend, as we are witnessing with the Netflix and iROKOtv deal. The fundamental basis of the partnership is that iROKOtv will provide Netflix with content and is not a subsidiary. Recently iROKOtv also announced a partnership with StarTimes – a well-recognized pay TV provider – that will see the network launch two linear channels, iROKO Play and iROKO Plus on the pay TV platform.
According to internetworldstats.com, internet penetration on the continent has grown by 6,498.6% between 2000 and 2014, making it the fastest growing region in the world. This is a positive sign as it has created more avenues for Africans to showcase their talent, which inevitably means increased attention from angel investors looking to cash in. The fact that Netflix –famous for award winning shows such as House Of Cards – is actively trying to woo African audiences is an open challenge to all African filmmakers to produce quality worthy of the global stage.
However in terms of what iROKOtv is bringing to the table, they have an uphill battle. Currently, 50% of their audiences are located in the diaspora where the internet connection speed is extremely fast, which is a big challenge on the continent. Basically although we have amazing internet penetration rates the quality of that internet is not the best. There have been no reports as to how much money will be exchanged between Netflix and iROKOtv. However I am hopeful that iROKO will use this amplified capital to improve internet speeds on the continent. This is because while iROKOtv has over 5,000 movies watched in over 178 countries hey need to support this content with infrastructure that will increase internet speed. This will undoubtedly position them as the leading content provider on the continent, and it will ensure the African story will continue to be told in all its glory.