IROKOtv, the African entertainment company known for revolutionizing Nollywood content delivery, has left its audience in suspense amid speculations about its imminent shutdown. With its website offline and the sudden removal of its mobile app from the Apple and Android app stores, uncertainty looms large.
However, amidst the storm of shutdown rumors, IROKOtv’s CEO, Jason Njoku, has stepped forward to set the record straight. Njoku declared that the ongoing suspension of services was not a precursor to closure but part of a strategic migration. He emphasized that the company is undergoing a significant transformation after a decade of operating with a software stack tailored to cater to the unique broadband requirements of African users.
Njoku revealed, “We are not shutting down. What we’re doing is shifting our focus, aligning with the evolving industry landscape. We’ve operated in our current capacity for ten years, and it’s time for a change.”
This development follows IROKOtv’s decision in August 2020 to halt its expansion efforts into African markets, a move that was accompanied by a workforce reduction, including the layoff of 150 employees. This strategic reorientation followed a challenging period for the company, which had previously placed 28% of its staff on unpaid leave in May 2020.
IROKOtv made its grand entrance into the entertainment industry in 2011 with a mission to globalize Nollywood movies and TV shows, effectively earning the moniker “African Netflix” for its on-demand video network. The platform quickly gained traction and attracted funding from both domestic and foreign investors, securing an impressive $42 million in capital. The injection of capital fueled the company’s expansion ambitions across various African markets.
Nevertheless, in recent years, IROKOtv has faced intensified competition, particularly from global streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. These behemoths entered the Nigerian market with substantial investments in the local content creation industry, partnering with indigenous movie producers to produce blockbusters. Consequently, IROKOtv has felt the squeeze, losing market share to these American industry leaders.
While the latest developments have raised questions about IROKOtv’s future, CEO Jason Njoku’s clarification suggests that the company is far from calling it quits. Instead, it is gearing up for a significant transformation in response to the evolving dynamics of the African entertainment landscape. The next chapter in IROKOtv’s journey promises to be a noteworthy one, as the company adapts to meet the changing demands of its audience and the competition in the streaming industry