Facebook investor Tiger Global takes stake in Nollywood film distributor
Tiger Global, a hedge fund run by an early investor in Facebook and Zynga, has put $8m (£5m) into an Anglo-Nigerian company distributing Nigerian films worldwide.
The Nigerian film industry, known as Nollywood, has grown at about 18pc a year and was worth almost $300m in 2010. It produced about 2,000 new films in 2010 and that number is growing at 15pc a year, according to research by management consults McKinsey & Co.
Tiger now has a stake in iROKO Partners, a company set up by Jason Njoku, 31, a Manchester University graduate, to distribute Nollywood movies over the internet. Distribution is through its website irokotv.com, as well as other channels such as iTunes.
Each Nollywood film typically costs between $15,000 and $40,000 to make, so it is cheap by Hollywood standards. However, the Nollywood industry is unstructured and unregulated, with limited formal channels for distribution.
iROKO is now the fastest-growing internet company in Nigeria and the largest licensee of Nollywood movies, with more than 3,000 titles in its library. It is YouTube’s largest African partner and has distribution deals with Dailymotion, iTunes, Amazon and Vimeo.
In 2011, its website received 152m views and this is expected to rise to 250m in 2012. A total of 90pc of all views come from outside of Africa, and Malaysia has more viewers of the website than Nigeria.
Tiger Global is headed by billionaire investor Charles “Chase” Coleman III and the fund returned an impressive 45pc in 2011. Mr Coleman is a descendent of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of New York