African mobile entertainment and internet TV provider, iROKO, has announced multiple deals totalling $19m, both in content development and in capital funding.
French media giant CANAL+, together with existing investor Kinnevik AB, are investing in addition to iROKO’s own cash flow to give the African tech & entertainment company the platform to scale its operations and expand aggressively across the continent.
iROKO will channel the investment into local content financing and production, as well as its product and engineering teams in Lagos and New York. The ambition is to produce at least 300 hours of original content in 2016, with the expectation of doubling that by 2018. This will enable the company to build on its already extensive catalogue, making it arguably one of the largest libraries of local African content. The announcement also sees Jacques du Puy, President of Canal+ Overseas, join the iROKO board.
Jason Njoku, CEO and Co-founder of iROKO says: “With millions more Africans poised to come online via mobile in the coming years, our mission is to lead viewers to content they’ll love.This is something the vast majority of the continent struggles with today. We hope to bridge that divide, and this additional investment supports such a plan. For us, there is no version of reality where the marriage between Africa’s most powerful communication tool [mobile] and the most prolific and loved entertainment provider [Nollywood] won’t be a joyous union.”
Mobile phone subscriptions in Africa are almost at 1 billion and by 2019, it is predicted that smartphone handsets, with which viewers can watch content, will make up 73% of the continent’s devices.
Njoku adds: “The challenges surrounding mobile TV in Africa are mighty, but not insurmountable. It’s human to be entertained and connect over community and we are obsessed with creating Africa’s largest community around local content. We have always been crazily bold in our ambitions to bring the content closer to viewers and build a truly frictionless and inclusive entertainment experience. Today’s news improves those odds.”
Fabrice Faux, CFO of Canal+ Overseas says: “We congratulate Jason and all the iROKO team and investors for their outstanding achievement so far and we are proud to partner for the scale-up in French-Speaking Africa, with clear ambitions and the means to reach them.”
Nollywood [Nigerian Hollywood] is the world’s second largest film industry in terms of output, employs ~one million people and constitutes 1.04% of the Nigeria’s GDP. iROKO, the home of Nollywood, has previously raised $25m from international investors, including Tiger Global, Kinnevik and RISE Capital. The technology and entertainment company is a leading Nollywood film, TV, content producer and platform provider and currently has a mobile app for Africa, holds distribution deals with Canal+, BA, Emirates, Nollywood TV and Lebara and has two Linear TV channels on Africa’s Star Times.
Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist
Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.
Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.
The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela. It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.
“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time. We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”
The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba. It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.
Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.
“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”
This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.
Avengers’ all-time accolade
This past weekend Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War became the second highest grossing film of all time at the South African Box Office.
This means that Marvel Studios now holds the number 2 and number 1 film of all time positions at the local Box Office, following Black Panther’s unprecedented record-shattering run since it’s 16 February 2018 release.
In South Africa, audiences continued to assemble in cinemas to witness the cinematic journey ten years in the making, earning Avengers: Infinity War a current total box office tally of just under R73 million with over 874 000 attendances.
Black Panther’s historic box office journey ended in June and now boasts a final box office total just shy of R107.5 million and over 1.43 million attendances, making it the biggest film of all time at the South African box office and the first to cross the R100m mark. This record builds on Black Panther’s list of achievements on the African continent and is the biggest grossing film of all time not only in South Africa, but also East and West Africa. Black Panther is now available to enjoy on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as to digitally rent or buy from retailers and providers across the continent.
Elsewhere in Africa, Avengers: Infinity War has also raked in a total of Kes 66.9m in East Africa, making it the 2nd highest grossing film of all time behind Black Panther. Similarly, in West Africa, the film hit N450m at the box office, making it the 2nd highest grossing international film of all time, also behind Black Panther.
For Marvel Studios fans, the action and adventure continues as the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and The Wasp, hit cinemas this past weekend and created enough buzz to fly into the number one position at the South African Box Office.
“We are thrilled at the response that Marvel Studios’ titles have continued to receive from cinema-goers across the continent,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With Ant-Man and The Wasp in cinemas, and both Captain Marvel and the next Avengers film in 2019, we are eagerly anticipating the continuing expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to celebrating with fans.”
On the animated front and with its own super hero theme, Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2, continues to entertain families across the country and is already Disney’s second-highest grossing animated film of all time behind Finding Dory, after only 3 weeks in release.