Streaming ‘Nollywood’ movie service iROKOtv has announced that it is partnering with Nokia to launch the Nigerian company’s first mobile app, exclusively on the Windows Phone platform on its Lumia range.
The deal is a way of trying to build momentum for the struggling Finnish phone giant. Nokia which is a major brand in Nigeria has done other content deals on its lower-spec Asha range. This tie-up with the Lagos and London-based company is designed to build awareness for its Lumia range.
For iROKOtv, the deal is about getting access to Nigerian consumers, although the offer is open to any Lumia owner worldwide. A deal in France between Paris-based streaming music service Deezer and Orange resulted in a huge uptake in Deezer users in France. Given that the deal targets just Lumia phones it won’t be on that scale.
Jason Njoku, CEO and Founder of iROKO Partners, said Nokia engineers had worked with iROKOtv to help them build the app. “Most importantly, they have helped to optimise it for Nigeria’s networks.”
Mr. Njoku expected Lumia users in Nigeria, who will get the first three months access to iROKOtv’s premium service free, mainly to access the library of 5,000 movies over Wi-Fi networks, although “a lot done technically with this app to make it feasible to use on 3G.”
The app will give customers extras including interviews with Nollywood stars and additional news.
Formed in 2010 by Mr. Njoku, the company started life as a YouTube channel before launching as a company in its own right in 2010.
While iROKOtv has been successful in targeting the Nigerian ex-pat community mainly in London and New York, where the company has offices, reaching African consumers has been harder, Mr. Njoku said.
“2013 is Africa year. We are very focused on finding African solutions. There are more people using iROKOtv in London than there is in the whole of Nigeria. This is ridiculous.”
Mr. Njoku closed an $8 million funding investment round from Tiger Global in April 2012.