Tag Archives: Iroko TV

Lagos gov’t suspends LSFVCB director

The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has suspended the executive secretary of the Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board (LSFVCB) for imposing a 5% tax on producers and digital platforms including Netflix and Iroko TV.

Adedayo Thomas

Gbenga Omotosho, spokesman for the state government and commissioner for information and strategy, said Bamidele Balogun acted without authorisation and was therefore suspended.

In a statement, the goverment said: “There is no levy on audio and visual contents of all physical and digital platforms in Lagos State. The executive secretary, Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board, Mr Bamidele Balogun, is said to have announced a 5% levy.

“The government hereby dissociates itself from the said announcement in the media. The executive secretary, who was not authorised to make such an announcement, has been suspended, pending an administrative enquiry.”

He added that the Sanwo-Olu administration was aware of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry and other sectors of the economy and a Federal High Court had barred the LSFVCB from levying film and video producers.

In June, Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court ruled that the LSFVCB cannot collect taxes at the same time as the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), as it would amount to double taxation. Despite this, Balogun wrote letters to several digital platforms, including Netflix and Iroko TV, demanding the 5% levy.

A letter addressed to Jason Njoku, MD of Iroko TV, dated August 31 reads: “We hereby request for immediate payment of the 5% levy on all audio and visual content produced, sold, distributed, marketed, exhibited, streamed, downloaded and shared across all physical and digital platform situate, lying and being within Lagos State.”

Balogun, who had earlier said that producers who failed to register would face severe sanctions by the board, declined to speak about the matter when contacted.

Adedayo Thomas, executive secretary of the NFVCB, said the new levy by the state government was wrong and would obstruct the growth of the sector.

“There is an existing court judgment on that matter. The move is wrong and I will be meeting with representatives of the state soon to look into the issue,” he said.

The Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria and the president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, Pretty Okafor, questioned the Lagos State government for going ahead with the levy despite a court judgment and claimed that the new levy would be challenged again in court.

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Iroko TV CEO to receive BON award

The 10th edition of the Best of Nollywood (BON) Awards next month will see the head of Iroko TV pick up a Special Recognition Award.

Jason Njokwu

Jason Njokwu, co-founder and CEO of video-on-demand service Iroko TV, will be one of the recipients of the award for his contribution to the growth of the Nigerian movie industry.  The ceremony takes place on December 8 at Kakanfo Inn, Ibadan Oyo State.

Seun Oloketuyi, BON Awards’ executive producer, said: “The choice of Njokwu was arrived at to applaud his pioneering efforts at developing a digitised distribution model for local movie contents in Nigeria.

“He launched Iroko TV as a VoD platform, to be to Africa what Netflix and Hulu is to the West. The platform is one of Africa’s first mainstream online movie streaming portal, giving instant access to nearly 10,000 film titles.”

Other award recipients are Kene Mkparu, the former MD of Film One Distribution; Abdulraaq Abdullahi, CEO of Corporate Pictures; and the late filmmaker Moses Adejumo (aka Baba Sala).

Mkparu will be rewarded for the re-awakening of the cinema culture in Nigeria while Abdullahi will be honoured for raising the standards for distribution and consumption of Nigerian movies made in the indigenous Yoruba language.

Baba Sala and Yoruba actor Baba Ajimajasan will be recognised posthumously for their contribution in laying the foundations for the comedy and film industry.

The awards would be presented by HE Senator Abiola Ajimobi, executive governor of Oyo State and chief host for BON Awards 2018.

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Africa tipped for SVoD boom

The number of SVoD customers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will increase from 1.56 million at the end of 2017 to nearly 10 million in 2023, according to a report from UK-based Digital TV Research.

Simon Murray

Titled Sub-Saharan Africa OTT TV & Video Forecasts, the report estimates that across the 35 countries in SSA, there will be 9.99 million SVoD customers five years from now.

South Africa will account for 3.37 million of these and Nigeria will have 2.61 million, the report claims. The two countries are tipped to account for 60% of SSA’s SVoD customers by 2023 – down from 74% in 2017, suggesting the rest of the region is growing faster than the two main countries.

However, the report also predicts SVoD revenues will not increase massively due to the fact some of the new platforms driving subscriber growth are very cheap. SVoD revenue across SSA in 2023 is estimated to be at US$775m.

The recently launched Kwesé Play is tipped to hit 333,000 subscribers in 2023. Meanwhile, iRoko TV is expected to see its customer count rise from 308,000 to 1.54 million over the same period, while iflix is predicted to grow from 17,000 to 741,000 subscribers. DStv Showmax numbers will increase from 334,000 to 1.73 million, the report claims.

Source: Digital TV Research

SSA’s six most popular platforms – Showmax, iRoko, Kwesé Play, iflix, Amazon and Netflix – accounted for 90% of the region’s SVoD subscribers by the end of 2017, with this proportion predicted to be retained across the next five. Despite being relatively expensive, Netflix is still expected to account for 40% of the 2023 total, with an estimated 4.03 million subscribers.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Market dynamics have shifted over the last year. There have been fewer platform launches, especially on a country level. We believe iRoko will concentrate mostly on West Africa.

“A significant stake in iflix was sold to Econet, which we believe will mean more focus on Eastern and Southern Africa. MultiChoice announced that Showmax will be given free to premium DStv subscribers across Africa, with Compact subscribers offered Showmax for half price.”

Digital TV Research is a London-based research and analytical company. It publishes more than 20 reports, covering over 130 countries, annually.

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Iroko TV teams with Cream

Video-on-demand (VoD) service Iroko TV is partnering with new talent platform Cream to showcase up-and-coming movie makers nationwide from this week.

Dapo Oyebanjo

In a panel discussion at the recently concluded Nigerian Entertainment Conference (NECLive), Iroko TV CEO Jason Njoku and Cream CEO Dapo Oyebanjo (aka Nigerian musician D’banj) disclosed that both platforms have formed a partnership that will help young filmmakers launch their work to the public.

According to Oyebanjo, mobile platform Cream already has more than 3.5 million subscribers for music and the company is now ready to work with the film industry to build up an audience and help fund movies.

“Cream is all about building talents and forging partnerships between brands. This is what we aim to do by partnering with Iroko TV for filmmakers on our platforms,” said Oyebanjo at NECLive.

”Every month, beginning from the month of May, we will be picking 10 scripts that we believe will interest viewers. We will take each script to the professionals and a video will be shot and produced by us.”

Launched in 2016, Cream (referring to creative, reality, entertainment, arts and music) is a platform that provides creative minds with the opportunity and space to showcase their talents and build their brand.

Iroko TV is an online TV platform. Often described as the ‘Netflix of Africa,’ it is one of Africa’s biggest mainstream online movie websites, giving subscribers instant access to more than 5,000 movies and TV series.

Iroko is already available in Nigeria and South Africa, while a French-language version launched in Senegal, Cameroon, both Congos and the Ivory Coast last year. The service recently launched in Ghana.

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