Mary Njoku celebrates partnership with Canal+ to grow African films

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Congratulatory messages have been pouring in for Nollywood actress and producer Mary Njoku of IROKOtv, with the announcement of her partnership with French television company Canal+, owned by media conglomerate Vivendi.

On the new development, the actress on her Instagram who shared the good news wrote.

“Hello everyone I am pleased to inform you that ROK has been acquired by Canal +,” she said.

“I am so happy to be part of the Canal family.

“Thank you to everyone who have supported me, and especially the Iroko TV; the shareholders, you guys have been amazing. Thank you to my husband in particular, my hero, my co-founder, and my everything.

“And thank you to DSTV, for giving me the platform to shine, and giving ROK the opportunity to showcase.

“When God says it’s your turn to be blessed, na you go tire!!! I never tire o! Just warming up.”

Canal+ is said to have acquired the ROK film studio from VOD Company IROKOtv for an undisclosed amount.

Mary Njoku who founded ROK studios will stay on as director general under the Canal+ acquisition. Based in Lagos, ROK film studios was incubated to create original content for IROKOtv, which can be accessed online anywhere in the world. IrokoTV was founded by Jason Njoku in 2010.

“We are acquiring the talent of Mary,” Canal+ Chief Content Officer Fabrice Faux told TechCrunch.

“We will provide administrative support, finance and equipment, but otherwise it is our intention to give Mary maximum autonomy and creative freedom.”

Mrs. Njoku’s creative work so far has led ROK to produce more than 540 movies and 25 original TV series, according to company data.

With the ROK acquisition, Canal+ looks to bring the Nollywood production ethos to other countries and regions of Africa.

“It’s not that easy to produce an interesting movie for $20,000. People in Nigeria, particularly Mary and IROKO, know how to do that. We want her to bring that to French-speaking Africa. Because we need more African content and we need the industry to develop in French-speaking Africa.” said Faux.

Under the deal, ROK will continue to create unique content for IROKOtv, ROK’s four existing channels —  three on DSTV and ROK Sky in the U.K. — as well as Canal+’s Africa and global channels.

IROKOtv’s top-three streaming countries are Nigeria, the U.S. and the U.K., according to a company spokesperson.

On the possibility of pursuing an African film with crossover appeal to non-African audiences — particularly in the wake of Black Panther’s success — ROK CEO Mary Njoku did not rule it out.

“I have been tempted in the past and am tempted today, but I want to focus on making the channels we have now the best Nollywood channels out there,” she said.


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