iROKOtv Is Rethinking Its Mobile Strategy For African Consumers (Hint: It Will Focus On Android)

Digital Content

In what appears to, largely, be an experiment of sorts, iROKOtv is on the verge of killing off its streaming service in Africa and focus on a mobile download experience for the continent’s movie subscribers.

According to CEO Jason Njoku on his Tumblr blog, the company will, starting from July 2015, discontinue its website and streaming service in Africa, although several thousands of its existing African-based subscribers will continue to have access to the site, while new users will be unable to experience the movies on their desktops.

In a move that will retire the company’s .com presence, at least for African consumers, it could open up a whole new experience for iROKOtv’s subscribers in Africa, allowing them to discover and download movies via its Android app to watch offline, thereby making iROKOtv a movie discovery and download app, instead of its online movie streaming service mantra which it launched at the back of.

As more and more online movie streaming services are launching in Africa every month, I think it’s a good way for iROKOtv to differentiate itself along the way to becoming the Internet TV platform of choice for African entertainment.

However, this could all be an experiment that could be reversed back as quickly as it was started, especially if users begin complaining about their inability to use the service due to app crashes, etc. For example, its current Android app screams buggy and force closes each time I tap on the Movies tab or try to do something else and eventually signs me out, so I’m hoping this doesn’t happen when the app has been optimized for downloads.

Remember when in 2012 the company was criticised for launching a buggy and slow music streaming service, especially as experienced with its mobile apps.

After what appeared to be a hasty launch of a flurry of iROKING mobile apps on Android, iOS, Symbian and Windows Phone devices which were in most cases buggy, the company later got its groove back with a easy to use mobile site that allowed users to download tracks on the go.

Still, the move could be in response to an earlier experiment with movie downloads for offline viewing launched early this year, which has apparently caught on very well, and perhaps paved the way for the company’s new direction. Yeah, I signed up as an iROKOtv user for the first time ever, right after the movie download feature launched in March this year.

So iROKOtv could be up to something good here. Besides, Africa has been described as a mobile-only continent, and Njoku notes that 76% of iROKOtv’s users are via mobile internet.

“If Nigerian Internet is mobile, the Internet TV company which wins needs to go mobile,” he stated.

That’s why iROKOtv is rethinking its strategy to build content, pricing, access, product development, distribution, etc around mobile and the operating system that matters most in Africa and Nigeria: Android.

But, as Njoku noted, it will also mean resetting and relearning new perspectives within iROKO, since its existing competencies, infrastructure and team are desktop in nature.
Source: TechLoy 23 June 2015