A French premium television channel, Canal+, has acquired ROK Studios, a Nigerian film production company.
Owned by Vivendi SA, a French mass media conglomerate headquartered in Paris, Canal+ acquired the studio a bid to reach a larger base of African consumers on the continent and internationally.
Founded by a Nigerian actress, Mary Njoku, in 2013, ROK studios has a large library of films and animation series in Nigeria and has produced more than 540 movies and 25 original TV series for distribution platforms.
According to TechCrunch, a U.S.-based publication focused on the tech industry, Canal+ looks to give Mrs. Njoku more production resources without disrupting ROK’s creative chemistry.
TechCrunch reported Canal+ chief content officer, Fabrice Faux, as saying “We are acquiring the talent of Mary; we will provide administrative support, finance, and equipment, but otherwise, it is our intention to give Mary maximum autonomy and creative freedom.”
With the ROK acquisition, Canal+ looks to bring the Nollywood production ethos to other countries and regions of Africa.
Canal+ which is looking at increasing its African content and also developing the industry in French-speaking Africa, said even though it is not that easy to produce an interesting movie for $20,000, Mrs. Njoku knows how to do that.
“We want her to bring that to French-speaking Africa,” he said.
In the deal, Mrs. Njoku will continue as the director general of ROK Productions SAS, and she will maintain a material shareholding in the company.
ROK will continue to create unique Nollywood content as movies and original TV series for IROKOtv, ROK’s four existing channels — three on DSTV and ROK Sky in the U.K. — as well as Canal+’s Africa and global channels.
Speaking on the acquisition, Mrs. Njoku said “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. I’m excited to be taking our platform on the next stage of its journey with CANAL+ Group, who share our passion for creating original content, supporting new talent and together. We have ambitious plans for the future.”
Speaking with iAfrikan in an interview, she said the company has worked with Canal+ for almost five years and Canal+ invested in ROK content strategy back in January 2016.
“They have firsthand experience of what we have achieved, and how we work. And for us, it’s been great having a strategic partner, in the form of Canal+, a global media company who has incredible reach across the continent. So the deal came about as a progression of what we had already achieved together,” she said.