French pay-TV group Canal+ has acquired African film and television studio ROK, marking the first international acquisition in Nigeria’s film industry – more commonly known as Nollywood.
Lagos-based ROK owns a large catalogue of movies animated series in Nigeria, and produces movies and TV series for distribution platforms.
Under the deal, Canal+ acquired ROK’s production, content distribution and publishing channels, from IROKO, Africa’s digital content distributor for Nigerian films. ROK founder Mary Njoku will continue as general director of ROK Productions.
Nollywood is one of the world’s biggest film production hubs and Canal+, owned by Vivendi, aims to expand in Africa as stiff competition from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon has caused the group to lose subscribers in France – it also recently announced a series of lay-offs.
“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 said. “I’m excited to be taking our platform on the next stage of its journey with Canal+ Group, which shares our passion for creating original content and supporting new talent, and together we have ambitious plans for the future.”
Jacques du Puy, CEO of Canal+ International, added: “Through this acquisition, Canal+ Group is very happy to develop and enhance the catalogue of Nollywood content and expand the ROK brand inside and outside the African continent.”
Financial details were not disclosed.