News Brief
Image courtesy of ROK Studios.

CANAL+ Group Has Acquired Top Nollywood Studio ROK To Boost Original Content Development

This a huge feat for the 4-year-old Nigerian start-up.

ROK, Africa's leading film studio and international TV network, has been acquired by top French film and television studio, CANAL+ Group, for an undisclosed amount to boost original content development.


ROK is set to greatly increase their production of original Nollywood movies and TV series for CANAL+'s audience in francophone Africa. CANAL+ will also continue to collaborate with IROKO Ltd via non-exclusive content distribution of ROK content made available in the IROKOtv on-demand app.

Mary Njoku. Image courtesy of ROK Studios.

Under the acquisition, IROKO Ltd will take over IROKO+, the number one on-demand platform in French-speaking African countries. Mary Njoku, the founder of ROK, will continue her role as director general of ROK Productions SAS.

"ROK has captured the imagination of millions of movie fans, and they have truly supported us as we've grown the company to celebrate and enjoy our African culture," Njoku says in a statement. "I'm excited to be taking our platform on the next stage of its journey with CANAL+ Group, who share our passion for creating original content, supporting new talent and together, we have ambitious plans for the future."

This is a huge feat for the 4-year-old start-up and the first acquisition in Nollywood's billion dollar industry. ROK has been incubated by IROKO Ltd since 2013—the leading digital content distributor for Nollywood content. Its flagship platform, IROKOtv, has indeed transformed how Nollywood content is accessed on global level. Since then, ROK has produced over 540 films and 25 original TV series on the continent alone.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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