Nigerian video streaming service iROKOtv has inked a deal with StarTimes to have two new linear TV channels, IROKO Play and IROKO Plus included on the digital TV operator’s platform.
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The deal has the potential to substantially increase iROKOtv’s reach, given that StarTimes has 4.6-million subscribers across 14 countries.
Subscribers will have the choice of two Nollywood channels. IROKO Play, available in the StarTimes Basic Bouquet, will showcase classic Nollywood movies from 2007 onwards, with a brand new exclusive movie added to the schedule each month. IROKO Plus, in the StarTimes Unique Bouquet, will reportedly show premium Nollywood movies from 2011 onwards, with the addition of an exclusive brand new movie each week. As part of the 24/7 programming schedule, and in addition to the movies, both channels will also show behind the scenes interviews with the stars and magazine shows.
“Launching IROKO Play and IROKO Plus on Startimes is an exciting milestone for IROKO,” says iROKO CEO Jason Njoku. “We’re known primarily for leading OTT content delivery across Africa through IROKOtv.com, but with digital migration spreading rapidly throughout the continent, now is the right time for us to diversify our distribution model and expand into the Linear TV market. StarTimes are very much focused on bringing the very best entertainment to as many people as possible at an affordable price an ethos that is close to our hearts, which is why this new landmark partnership is so befitting”.
“The deal with IROKO is a significant advance in our quest to become the home of premier African film and television content,” says Michael Dearham, VP of StarTimes. “Throughout the global African Diaspora, IROKO is synonymous with high-quality, cutting-edge Nollywood filmed entertainment and their extensive catalogue of prime-time Nollywood movies resonates well with StarTimes’ vision to provide every African family access to high-quality digital entertainment. Our exclusive partnership with IROKO allows us to nurture an ‘axis of content excellence’, as well as more clearly differentiate our value proposition which in turn gives us the means to deliver the very best Nollywood movies and series to our subscriber-base.”
Perhaps the most significant thing about the deal, which has been allowed to happen primarily because of increasing digital migration among African TV viewers, is what it shows about the relationship between traditional and online video content. Rather than the latter replacing the former, it seems that the is more than sufficient space for the two to work in a supplementary fashion, particularly in emerging markets.