Nollywood Reaches for the Sky as it Brings Awesome Original Movies & TV Series to 10m UK Households
September 2016. London. Rok Studios, the award-winning Nigerian film studio, is set to launch a brand new Nollywood channel on Sky TV, on Thursday 29 September 2016. The channel will be programmed with thousands of hours of Rok Studios-produced TV shows and movies, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be available to all Sky subscribers on channel 344.
Nigerian cinema, known colloquially as Nollywood, is the second largest film industry in the world, in terms of production output. It currently generates over USD600m for Nigeria’s film industry each year, much of which comes from the African Diaspora; the UK is one of the industry’s most lucrative markets.
The free-to-view channel will be fully programmed, produced and developed in-house, by Rok teams in Lagos and London. Heading up Rok is Mary Njoku, an award-winning Nollywood actress and film producer who’s spent over 12 years at the heart of Nigerian filmmaking. The new channel will be supported by Iroko, the VC-backed African technology and entertainment broadcaster and content distributor.
Speaking on the launch, Rok CEO Mary Njoku says: “Nollywood’s appeal is truly global; it is not just for Africans, but for film fans in general. As a production house, we have been obsessed with curating amazing African content and telling African stories our way, and with the launch of Rok on Sky, we can bring our stories to millions more. This channel is an unashamed celebration of all things Nollywood, but more than that, a celebration of African stories – in our own words, with our own characters, with our own drama”.
“In its short but busy history, Rok has become synonymous with edgy, distinct content, depicting the full gamut of Nigerian life. Compelling storytelling is at the core of everything we strive to produce at Rok, and across our movies and original TV series, we’ve showcased Africa’s most prominent actors, as well as brought to the fore many of the industry’s rising stars. Combine this with leading film production techniques and scripts from the industry’s most talented writers and we’ve built a film studio with an ever-growing global fanbase that has real momentum. Now, we are translating this creative content onto our biggest platform yet; Sky”.
Since its launch in 2013, Rok Studios has produced some of Nollywood’s most talked about originals, including Husbands of Lagos, Desperate Housegirls, Losing Control and Cougars. The channel launches with these blockbuster titles, and going forward, Rok viewers will be the first to watch new and exclusive homegrown Rok content, before it goes anywhere else.
Rok will lead Nollywood fans in the UK to content they’ll love, and whilst the typical Nollywood audience is currently made up of a predominantly African and Caribbean demographic, those behind the channel hope to attract an even broader audience, thanks to the hyper-modern, original content.
Njoku concludes, “As a production house, we have been obsessed with curating amazing African content and telling African stories our way, and with the launch of Rok on Sky, we can bring our stories to millions more. This channel is an unashamed celebration of all things Nollywood, but more than that, a celebration of African stories – in our own words, with our own characters, with our own drama. We believe that this channel launch will be a game changer in attracting new fans to Nollywood”.
Timed to celebrate Nigeria’s 56th Independence Day on 1st October, Rok on Sky will launch with a bang on Thursday 29th September, followed by a Gala launch in London at 8 Northumberland on Friday 30th September, with many of Nollywood’s elite movie stars set to attend.
Nollywood is the world’s second largest film industry in terms of output, producing approximately 50 films a week and employs over one million people in Nigeria, and contributes 1.42 percent of Nigeria’s GDP. Prominent themes in Nollywood films include family, religion, love and betrayal. Producing a movie in Nigeria costs on average USD25,000–USD70,000.