Monday, 18 March 2013

Iroko's Jason Njoku Is Creating The Next Netlfix In Nigeria

Came across this article by Andrew Rice from Fast Company online, thought I should share with you.


He was just a poor kid from London, but Jason Njoku has master­minded the African equivalent of Netflix.

Four years ago, Jason Njoku sat down with his old friend Bastian Gotter and told him about an investment opportunity in Nigeria, a precious resource that was sitting there, just waiting to be exploited: movies. Despite their crude quality and cruder distribution system, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa, yet they are dirt cheap to acquire and distribute. Njoku proposed buying the rights and streaming the films online. He only needed some money to get started. "I was thinking, This sounds like one of those emails," Gotter says--the kind from a princeling who promises you easy riches as soon as you give him your bank account number.

Most investors wouldn't dare venture onto the continent, for all the obvious reasons: instability, corruption, rampant piracy, substandard infrastructure. Njoku, in fact, was nearly as nervous as his friend. "It was like, Danger, danger, this is pretty crazy," he recalls. But he and Gotter ignored the perils and created Iroko Partners, one of the first successes of Nigeria's embryonic tech scene--a startup that aspires to be Africa's Netflix, but without red envelopes, or real competitors.

Three years after arriving in Lagos, an outsider in all but name, Njoku is now a Nollywood mogul. In August, he married actress Mary Remmy, star of the hit comedy Blackberry Babes, and he talks of expanding the Iroko brand into in-flight movies, satellite television, music, and other forms of entertainment. "No one is close to being our equal in Africa," Njoku says. During our lunch, when I casually mention his Netflix model, he corrects me. He's now thinking bigger.

"Viacom," he says. "We love content, and we want to figure out the best ways to do it. The Internet is just the easiest." He feels no need, anymore, to apologize for being an African company. "They always paint us with a guilty Nigerian brush, so we have to say, just look at our numbers," Njoku says. "What happens if a billion people come online? What happens to our numbers then?"

If you want to read the full content, click Here, though is a long one but very informative and inspiring.

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