Video-on-Demand in Africa: Nigeria’s iROKOtv comes to East Africa and brings Hollywood to Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana

Hello Africa, the time has come to fix yourself some binge watch.

Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and other streaming services geo-fence their content access based on your IP address, meaning you can’t subscribe to it from Africa. This encourages piracy as the only way or leads to other VPN related hacks to get around this restrictions.

Meanwhile African Video-on-Demand market is slowly but surely started making consumers spoilt for choice. As the payment infrastructure and broadband speed continue to improve across many African cites one party that is overjoyed by this is the on-demand streaming providers (may gods of the bandwidth save us from the anti-netneutrality).

Internet TV is about to come to Africa in a big way,” said Jason Njoku from iROKOtv, last month.

This week, the NYC-based mobile online video streaming app (pronounced Aah-Flix) has launched its video on demand service in Africa – Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya.

In order to watch premium Hollywood content from major studios such as Disney, Warner Brothers and ABC, all the user has to have is a 3G enabled mobile device where they can install Aflix Android app. The company also said the app is available on select set top boxes.

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Can I watch Aflix on my TV or computer? Not unless you have a set-top-box that has Aflix already as an app or by connecting your mobile device directly to a TV.

How much does Aflix cost?

New users will have the opportunity to sign up for a 14- day free trial and enjoy the service. Aflix offers $9.99 a month to access unlimited movies and TV series on their subscription content. Or if the user wants there is $4.99 per 48 hour rentals. Aflix also urges users to be on the lookout for movies that will be featured on sale for $2.99.

Aflix’s mission is to produce a superior service supplying premium video content that is reliable, affordable, and convenient. In pursuit of this goal, Aflix management hopes to give its customers the opportunity to watch the shows and movies they love and to discover new and exciting content all the while using a unique and seamless video streaming platform.

iROKOtv plans to set up shop in East Africa

In a related news a few weeks ago, Nigerian Video-on-demand platform iROKOtv announced its expansion plan into East Africa market by setting up shop in Kigali, Rwanda. iROKOtv will now offer local contents from Rwanda, Tanzania , Kenya and Uganda. YourStory has learned from the communication head of the company that iROKOtv is yet to announce its move formally.

Meanwhile, CEO Jason Njoku said in his blog, “There is a massive market potential in East Africa. Payment isn’t an issue in East Africa. Data is significantly cheaper. For Internet TV, these are the basic building blocks required to build a sizeable subscriber base.” He then qualified his statement by giving an example. “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.”



Jason found the East African region super seductive, he says, “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.

While iROKOtv is heavily focused on distributing local content for the locals in Africa and to those in Diaspora (currently active in 170 countries has over 75,000 paying subscriber base), the company has also signed up Hollywood, Bollywood and other international contents to serve to its users.

Some of Africa’s VOD platforms

There are close to 100 small and big video streaming sties littered across Africa. Nigerian based platforms such as Afrinolly, Dobox, 9flix, and Real Nolly. South Africa has DStv CatchUp, StreamSA:movies, and Wabona. Ghana has IbakaTV, MobileFliks. Ethiopia has DireTube and Kenya, BuniTV . When you look at the VOD landscape there are so some many of them to mention OHBoX, Pana TV, ReelAfrican, Africa Magic Go, WuraTV. The launch of these video streaming platforms will benefit the local movie industry in Africa as the production rate is growing and getting stable distributions is a dream come true for the industry at large.

Seems #InternetTV has come to Africa in a big way, so much is going to happen in this space. Stay tuned.

About the author

Everything startups, tech, entrepreneurship, and the intersection of India & Africa. You can reach him via emmanuel[at]

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