Launch of 1st major international VoD service in Francophone Africa - Canal+ and Orange launch IROKO service in Cameroon and elsewhere

15 June 2017

Top Story

French Pay TV provider Canal+ has teamed up with Orange to launch its IROKO+ subsidiary’s VoD service in key markets in Francophone Africa. The service is pitched as a low-cost prepay service which comes bundled with data. Russell Southwood looks at what’s on the table.

It’s the first major international VoD service in Francophone Africa but not the first international service. As with every claim to be first, there’s always a bit of a fight. Paris-based, Orange backed start-up Afrostream launched in 24 Francophone countries in November last year but has not yet had a major impact.

The content plus data bundle claim looks much more solid. The Cameroon offer will give users 24 hour access to a catalogue of IROKO+ content plus 300 MB of data for FCFA200 (about 30 euro cents) as a promotional launch offer. 250 MBs of the 300 MB can be used to download films and 50 MB for Internet browsing.

There are 2,500 hours of off-the-shelf, available for seven days programmes, including IROKO’s speciality Nollywood movies. As well as Nollywood, the series and films on offer include Ivorian and Senegalese content as well as telenovelas. Among the content is the hit series The Journal of Jenifa (Nigeria), The Drunkenness of Love (Mexico) andr Tundu Wundu (Senegal).

In a press statement the two said:” With this partnership, Orange and IROKO + intend to make available to the market an offer adapted to the needs of consumers, as well as the technological context and the ambition of meeting the needs of more than 23 million inhabitants (of Cameroon).”

The statement says that streaming of digital content like film and TV doubled in Francophone Africa between 2014 and 2015:”Today, more than a third of the smartphone users look at a video on their mobile phone at least once a day. In Cameroon, users are regularly confronted with difficulties in their use of the Internet, and cannot always take advantage of their IROKO + offer. Continuing the Group's desire to make entertainment accessible to as many people as possible, we chose to innovate by associating ourselves with Orange, which also allows Orange to differentiate itself on the market with particularly attractive content,' says Claire Soustiel, CEO of IROKO +.

Launched in August 2016, the IROKO + service is distributed in the CANAL + shops and via mobile money operators. It has already had 50,000 app downloads. Available via PlayStore (Android), the service offers hyper-compressed videos that can also be made accessible in offline mode.

"One year after the launch of 4G in Cameroon, we want to enrich our offer of attractive multimedia content data at affordable prices. IROKO + catalog is precisely in line with what we want to offer To our subscribers, so we offer exclusive content, a direct and secure means of payment while guaranteeing a unique user experience on the market, "said Cheikh Sarr, Marketing and Communication Director of Orange Cameroon.

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