It seems that online consumers in Nigeria may soon be ending their flirtatious relationship with the latest darling of Nollywood movies online, iROKOtv.
If you didn’t get the memo yet, the word is out: iROKOtv will be charging you to watch Nollywood movies on its platform as from July 2012.
Already, there’s a growing outrage on its Youtube page following a cartoon advert released last Friday which introduces the platform. The ‘advertoon’ slyly tells viewers that since buying DVDs can be expensive and ‘other’ movie sites can be buggy and full of viruses, not to mention illegal, there’s a better option to watch Nollywood movies online.
As concerns continue to grow following iROKOtv’s plans to introduce a subscription model that would make it possible for its members to pay a fee to watch movies, one wonders if ads would still be displayed on its subscription service.
Last November, I suggested that IROKOtv could charge its members a small fee for watching movies (without ads) and for free (with ads) on its own platform. But my guess is that its members in Nigeria would hardly want to part with their money to watch Nollywood movies online.
For one thing, Nollywood movies are not widely watched/downloaded online in Nigeria as compared to foreign movies (Hello, UTorrent). For another, the broadband connectivity issues and high cost are already a turn off to watch subscription-based Nigerian movies, thus streaming movies with plug-n-pray Internet modems after paying a subscription would not be an option for most people.
That said, iROKOtv would have to rely on its foreign and diaspora audience for subscriptions. But that would be risky as its audience in Nigeria would be looking elsewhere to watch Nollywood movies for free.
But perhaps, if iROKOtv could bring us full length episodes of our favourite and popular TV shows such as Naija Sings, Big Brother Africa, etc as well as TV soap operas such as Village Headmaster, Super Story, etc, just like Netflix, it could provide a better value proposition to charge for subscriptions.
And I wouldn’t mind paying, really. But to pay to watch Nollywood movies? You’ll have to drug me.