The Nigerian Video-on-Demand (VoD) scene is as outdated as when its first entrant, the Jason Njoku-founded iROKOtv, debuted in 2011. 9 years later, it’s fairly apparent that Nigerians are but to completely embrace the tradition of patronising online video content together with video on demand.
Seemingly undaunted by this bleak actuality, on July three, 2020, the Nigerian on-line video streaming market acquired its latest entrant, EbonyLife ON (EL ON), a product of EbonyLife Studios, based by in style TV character and film producer, Mosunmola Abudu (Mo Abudu).
In what seems to be like a transfer that seeks to leverage current trade affect within the media, Abudu determined to concentrate on solely video streaming as she is quickly to take away the EbonyLife TV channel from DStv. Paradoxically, that is coming at a time when overseas SVoD providers, Netflix and Amazon, are set to join Showmax on the cable community.
On the streaming platform, viewers can have entry to authentic Nollywood films produced by EbonyLife Studios, and different supplementary content material like drama sequence, TV reveals, and documentaries. And because it seems, for now, the platform is strictly for native content material.
Nonetheless, films produced by Mo Abudu which have made it to Netflix — The Wedding ceremony Get together, Chief Daddy, and The Royal Hibiscus Resort — are at present not on EbonyLife ON.
This appears unusual since such unique rights are usually not normally gotten by Netflix besides within the case of an outright acquisition of the film, like with Lionheart, or an authentic manufacturing. Working example, reveals like Associates and The Workplace are aired on each Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Nonetheless, it’s potential that EL ON’s exception resulted from a clause within the licensing settlement. However then, one hardly ever finds these Netflix Nollywood films on different native platforms.
What this may occasionally additionally imply is that subsequent Netflix films by this producer can be excluded from the EL ON mobile app. Recall that not too long ago there was a partnership between Mo Abudu and Netflix to provide four new Netflix originals.
EbonyLife ON operates month-to-month and yearly subscription fashions — $2.99 (~₦1,300) and $24.99 (~₦11,000) — and affords no free trial interval or entry to a number of gadgets, however customers can view trailers and film premier occasions with out a subscription.
Is the house fascinating?
Up to now, given the peculiarity of this market, it’s clear that not all native platforms that entered the house have survived: Linda Ikeji TV (LITV), for example. Regardless of the impression of acceptance the platform acquired post-launch, it seems it was solely short-lived. After two years, the cell software continues to be out there for obtain however it’s now not lively.
One other platform that occurs to be comparatively lively is Funke Akindele’s SceneOneTV. Aside from the foremost attraction of the actress’ hottest sequence, Jenifa’s Diary, the platform airs new drama sequence and different films produced by the corporate. However viewer retention is probably not constant.
A person attests that she is but to resume her subscription since she concluded all episodes of Jenifa’s Diary. Additionally, Aiyetoro City, one other hilarious sequence is on the market on SceneOneTV’s YouTube channel.
Talking of Jason Njoku’s iROKOtv, although it has been lively within the streaming market earlier than the competitors we now see, it additionally has its challenges.
In hindsight, its survival for nearly 9 years could also be attributed to the worldwide model it has constructed. iROKOtv has engineering groups in locations like London and New York. Apart from, the UK was the hub with the second highest variety of paying subscribers earlier than Nigeria overtook it in 2017.
The VoD firm may additionally be leveraging its retainership technique for streaming largely unique content material for Africans globally. However to date, it appears iROKOtv is the one one showing to sport the system.
The underside line
Because it stands, just a few native gamers on our list from a couple of years in the past are nonetheless lively within the nation. Nonetheless, this doesn’t suggest that overseas platforms, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, are having it any higher, though they are often thought of pretty low cost — between $5.99 (~₦2,300) and $15.99 (~₦7,300) month-to-month — due to the account utilization coverage on sharing and connection to a number of gadgets.
However this is also accountable for the low illustration. As on the second quarter of 2019, for example, Nigerian subscribers on Netflix had been probably less than 50,000.
Though iROKOtv’s distinctive promoting level is unique Nollywood and different African content material, Netflix appears to be giving the others a run for his or her cash because it onboards extra Nollywood films. That is coupled with the anticipation of more original releases with the appearance of Netflix Naija.
Whereas this is probably not a really beneficial interval for brand spanking new Nollywood streaming platforms with overseas and native opponents within the house, having a novel strategy to gaining and retaining subscribers is likely to be a method to make sure success. If something, these platforms must compete for the few customers out there.