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African VoD service iROKOtv raises US$8 million

Africa-based video-on-demand service iROKOtv has raised US$8 million (€6 million) in funding, as it looks to transition the company’s audience from “a primarily diaspora base to an African base.”

The self-styled ‘Netflix of Africa’ said that the latest cash injection takes its total funding to date to US$21 million and would also be used to switch from a “largely ad supported model” to a more subscription-focused service.

“Currently 50% of iROKOtv’s audience is located in the UK and US alone, but with the continent coming online, demand for homegrown multi-platform video content is rising fast,” the firm said in a statement.

“There will also be a renewed focus on monetising iROKOtv’s catalogue through its SVOD service, iROKOtv PLUS, as well as through its strategic distribution partnerships with global airlines and TV channels.”

iROKOtv introduced its subscription iROKOtv Plus service in July 2012, offering access to 12 new movies every month. The company, which specialises in Nigerian movies, said that this service is now the “largest single source of revenue for the company” and is “growing rapidly” – even though 95% of content on the site is currently free and ad-supported.

“The US$8Mn raised by Tiger Global, Kinnevik and Rise Capital will further fuel our expansion and help us to realise our long term goal of becoming one of Africa’s preeminent media companies,” said iROKOtv CEO and co-founder Jason Njoku.

“We started life three years ago as a Nollywood content aggregator on a YouTube channel and today we find ourselves with a VC-backed dedicated VOD platform, watched in 178 countries around the world, with one million unique visitors a month. These metrics were achieved with hard work from a great international team and today’s news allows us to continue in the same vein and accelerate our growth.”

Existing investor, investment firm Tiger Global, led the new funding round, with participation also coming from Sweden-based Kinnevik and new backer Rise Capital.

Tags: iRokotv, Nigeria