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iROKOtv Finally Launches In East Africa: Settling For Kigali Over Nairobi as HQ

by Milicent Atieno

iROKOtv Finally Launches In East Africa: Settling For Kigali Over Nairobi as HQ

iROKOTtv Finally Launches In East Africa: Settling For Kigali Over Nairobi as HQ

On May, 2014, we featured an article about iROKO partners CEO and Co-Founder Jason Njoku making the announcement in his blog post that iROKOtv will be moving its base of operations from London to Africa. They had selected Nairobi, Kenya as their new base of operations for their East African market. Well, iROKOtv has launched in East Africa as earlier said, but they settled for Kigali, Rwanda over Nairobi, Kenya as their headquarter for iROKOtv East Africa.

In his July 24th, blog post, Njoku said that iROKOtv will be focused to serve the 157m plus East African population from its Kigali’s headquarters.

I have opted to NOT locate iROKOtv East Africa in Nairobi as I had planned, and others would have expected. In order to have a fresh perspective on the East of Africa, iROKOtv will sit in Kigali, Rwanda. I have a deeper post about why, but that will be later when I setup and establish the team. Rwanda is located perfectly between Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Tanzania to enable our executives to serve the region comfortably. Also, the local market is too small to enable us to get lazy and attempt to build for that market alone which forces us to retain a broader, region-wide sense. I am really excited about 2014 as it’s a massively transitional year for the company. We finally have settled on the hard way ahead. (We expect to lose something like 95% of our traffic before the year’s our). Now we just need to execute.” Njoku said.

According to Njoku, East Africa presents another great opportunity for the subscription only service in its quest to make Internet TV available in Africa. Especially taking into account the proliferation of mobile money payment services across the region and the affordability of internet (in Tanzania, the home of 4G). East Africa seems more seductive, says Njoku.

Njoku came out strong praising the affordability of data across East Africa, and says it is one of the factors that will make penetration of iROKOtv easier into the East African market.

I saw a unicorn in Tanzania. I came across an unlimited plan in Africa. I literally couldn’t believe it. Data is dirt cheap. Stupidly cheap. Suspiciously cheap. In Nigeria 500mb is N2,000 ($12). In Tanzania 35Gb is 20,000Tsh ($12)…

The largest problem for an Internet TV platform is the access to data. In Tanzania at least, that isn’t a problem. The same in Rwanda. In Kenya, the prices are more realistic. Yet for Airtel Kenya for $13 you get 1750Mb whereas with Safaricom $11.3 gives you 1.5Gb. Still both for the same price gives you x3 the data one would expect in Nigeria.”

One thing about iROKOtv East Africa, is that it has no equal match in the region. There is a huge demand for its Nollywood and Bollywood movies, yet the only thing that local TV stations do is keep airing the few copies of movies they have. The other alternative is M-NET’s Africa Magic, a premium service that is too expensive and out of reach for many East African homes. Thus, to many, the roll out of iROKOtv is East Africa is a saviour since viewer can get to watch Nollywood contents directly from the source.

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