There has been a major shift in the way people watch television and view video content. With the increasing internet penetration and awareness, not everyone now needs to have cable subscription or DVD players to watch their favorite movies.
Movie lovers in Nigeria are always searching for convenient sources to get latest blockbusters from Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and other movie industries. The huge entertainment market in Nigeria has given rise to innovative platforms becoming available to capture the interest of increasing number of audiences. One of such innovative platforms that emerged to satisfy audience members in Nigeria is and gradually growing in acceptance is Video On Demand (VOD) services.
The VOD services are online streaming platforms that provide alternative entertainment and other contents to subscribers. These are also described as Over The Top (OTT) streaming services because they bypass cable, terrestrial, and satellite TV channels to reach the audiences. The concept – OTT – is derived from the fact that these streaming services due not pass through the traditional broadcast platforms (cable, and satellite TV) to get to the audience.
Furthermore, VOD services are video streaming outlets for all visuals, including music, videos, news, sports and live TV. These are very convenient alternatives for people to access the entertainment world and enjoy their favorite programmes and shows. The users pay a fee to gain access to providers’ library containing thousands of movies, popular TV shows, sports, children’s programmes, among vast variety of entertainment content. Users visit the provider’s channels (websites) or download their App to gain access to the contents. There are also free video streaming services but the ones that are paid for have more exciting and up-to-date contents in the popular movie industries across the world.
Movies downloaded from some service providers are valid for 48 hours from the first playback. Some other service providers allow the movies to run for 14 days, especially Nollywood movies. Some of the providers do not have download limit while others have a limit to the number of movies you can download. Platforms like Netflix can cost as much as N2,900 to N4,400 access subscription while some others like Solo View can go for as low as N200 to N350, depending on the movies. Users can rent movies from these platforms, pay monthly subscription to have access to the movies or pay per movie download.
The VOD platforms are flexible and personalized sources of entertainment and other contents. In Nigeria for instance where there is epileptic power supply, VOD users can download movies on their android phones and watch latest blockbusters even without worrying about putting own generating sets. Just get a power bank to support your phone and you’ll have unlimited fun. The VOD services have become alternative to television as a source of entertainment to many users.
In the USA for instance, some of the most popular VOD service providers among film viewers are Direct TV Now, Netflix, HBO Now, Crackle, tubi tv, Hulu, View Star, and YouTube TV. These platforms have become very popular among film audiences in the Western world. A few of them also have presence in the movie markets in Africa.
Data cost and Nigeria’s struggling internet penetration contributes to the low adoption of VOD in the country. Despite these challenges, VOD services have grown in presence in Nigeria’s entertainment industry, especially among Nollywood fans and other movie lovers.
There are several VOD services Nigerian film audiences patronize to gain access to Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood movies. Some of these channels are owned by foreign firms but they also stream Nollywood movies, which makes them popular among Nigerians. A number of these services are owned by Nigerians. Here is a list of top VOD services that are very popular among Nigerian movie lovers;
This is the leading VOD channel in Nigeria for Nollywood movies. It is an indigenous streaming service that was launched in 2011 by Jason Njoku. It is very popular among Nollywood movie fans in Nigeria. This platform provides paid-for Nigerian films on-demand. It is one of the first movie streaming platforms in Africa. There are popular Nollywood movies available on Iroko TV and they include My wife & I, 93 days, Banana island ghost and many more. Subscription for Using IrokoTV starts at N3,000 to N5000 every 12 months.
Next to iROKOtv in the Nollywood industry is ibaka tv. This platform is also owned by a Nigerian. It is among the market leaders in the VOD business for Nollywood movies, with thousands of fans patronizing the platform. iBAKA tv is primarily for streaming movies, as downloads are not allowed on the platform.
This is a free and subscription VOD service with its global headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was launched in Nigeria in 2017. Subscription to iflix gives users unlimited access to content on the platform and ability to stream on up to 5 devices at once; mobile phones, laptop, tablet and or television. Users can sign up for a one-month free trial. Iflix goes for a monthly subscription of ₦799 and an annual subscription of ₦6,392 which is a 33% discount off the monthly rate. Iflix has heavy presence in the Nigerian market. It is also very popular for streaming Nollywood movies.
This is one of the leading VOD service providers across the world. It is known for streaming interesting variety of latest movies produced in different movie industries across the world. Netflix also has presence in the Nolllywood market as it streams latest movies from the local industry which Nigerians watch on this platform. On 7th September 2018, Netflix acquired Lion Heart, a movie produced by popular Nigerian actress, Genevieve Nnaji. The movie became the first Netflix original film produced in Nigeria. Streaming of Nollywood films has made Netflix popular among movie fans in the country. Among the popular Nollywood movies on Netflix are King of Boys, Up North, The Vendor, Moms at War, Mokalik, and Chief Daddy. The monthly subscription for Netflix in Nigeria starts from N2,900 for the basic plan, N3,600 for the standard plan, and N4,400 for the premium plan. Netflix is one of the leading VOD platforms for foreign movies among Nigerian movie fans.
This is an innovative film rental platform which was launched in 2014 as brainchild of the Solo Phone Nigeria brand. It brings a library of fresh Hollywood content, exciting Nollywood films, TV series and other great video content to Android devices in Nigeria. Solo view is one of the most affordable VOD service providers with rental per movie going for between ₦200 and ₦350. Hollywood movies can be rented for up to 48 hours from the first viewing, while Nollywood films can be rented for up to fourteen days. Available on all Android Smartphones and Tablets, Solo View offers the audiences diverse film catalogue of the latest movies from various entertainment industries across the world.
This is a VOD platform launched in Nigeria in 2020 by Bharti Airtel Limited, also known as Airtel, a global telecommunications services company based in New Delhi, India. The Television app is a one-stop platform for all visuals including music videos, news, sports and live TV. AirtelTV is available to only Airtel subscribers across Nigeria at no subscription fee. Anyone who is an Airtel subscriber has access to the VOD platform which offers diverse programmes from movies, to news content.
This platform is for streaming Hausa language movie and diverse programmes. It was launched in 2019 by Arewa24, a northern Nigerian language channel. It is a global subscription VOD and OTT streaming service which aims to bring Hausa language speaking audiences in the North, other parts of Nigeria and in the Diaspora, together on a television platform. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Arewa24, Jacob Arback, describes the platform as “Netflix for Hausa content”, meaning that it offers all genres content, including drama, music, sports, etc. Users will get unlimited access for $ 4.99 per month and $ 48 per year. This service is available on the Arewa24 website and iOS and Android apps. It provides no-ad experience to users. Arewa24 is very popular among Hausa language movie lovers in Nigeria.
This is another popular streaming service provider in Nigeria. It was launched in South Africa on 19th of August 2015 by MultiChoice Group. Showmax contains a diverse category of video contents which makes audiences excited to patronize the platform. It is also popular for streaming Nollywood movies. Among the Nollywood movies people watch here are The lost cafe, Ojukokoro, Roti, 93 days, and Banana island ghost. Showmax starts its monthly subscription at N2,900. It has a free trial period of 14 days.
NollyLand is a popular VOD for Nollywood movie lovers in Nigeria. It was launched in 2014 by Nollyland Direct Ltd, a start-up based in the US and Nigeria. The founder and CEO of the company, Dr. Ngozi Uti, has a vision to make this VOD the biggest Nollywood movie streaming service in Nigeria and Africa. It streams Nigerian and African movies to mobile phones, tablets, TVs, media players, and computers. There are thousands of Nigerian & African movies people can download or stream from this platform. Nollyland offers a subscription model and also in-app credits for users to watch movies. Some features of the app include adaptive video streaming, automatic bookmarking of movies, watch list and more. It also has relatively affordable monthly subscription of $6 for access to enjoy thousands of diverse content.
This is a mobile app created by FilmOne Distribution, a popular Nollywood movie distributor in Nigeria. In addition to VOD services, the company also operates one of the largest cinemas in Nigeria. It has diverse number of Nollywood content. Renting a movie on Filmhouse costs N500 while purchasing the movie for download costs N1,000. It is popular in the Nollywood industry as a streaming service provider for movie lovers.
This is an indigenous streaming platform which was established in March, 2013 with headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria. It is an entertainment on-demand (EOD) video and music streaming service. This VOD platform began as an indigenous, Nigerian-only, video streaming company but expanded in 2014 to include streaming of other categories of movies. Dobox tv partners with telecommunications giants like MTN and Etisalat to offer exciting contents for free to users. Any user who is a subscriber to any telecommunication network that partners Dobox tv will not have to pay any subscription fee once the person has airtime on his or her ohone. Dobox tv offers thousands of music videos, trailers, and TV shows straight onto a user’s phone or tablet. The videos are downloadable and could be watched over and over again. While the subscribers will attract airtime charge, no data charges will be required thus enabling them to download music videos, movie trailers, short Films and documentaries, TV series as well. Dobox tv competes favourably with other streaming services for audiences’ attention and it is relatively affordable.
Startimes On is the VOD service of a big Chinese electronics and media company, Startimes, which primarily offers digital terrestrial television and satellite television services, among others, to consumers. It joined the VOD market due to rising demand for such services and is becoming popular in Nigeria’s entertainment industry. Startimes On is a popular video streaming service for watching live TV, TV episodes, movies, live sports and TV shows on phone. In addition to live television, StarTimes ON also offers a VOD service with a catalog of 20,000 hours of programming.
This is a popular streaming platform across the world and it is free. YouTube has so many channels that share Nollywood movies. What users do to watch movies via YouTube is search for the title or identify the specific channels to subscribe to. This way, you can be notified once they upload any movie. Though using YouTube is free, there’s a premium option that gives a better, no-ad experience. So many Nollywood films are contained on YouTube.
Afrinolly is a popular mobile application which first came into limelight in September 2011, after it was announced winner in the Entertainment category of the first Google Android Developers Challenge, Sub-Saharan Africa held in Nairobi, Kenya. The application enables users to watch African movies, movie trailers, short films and music videos that have been made public by content owners or their legal representative, particularly from the Nollywood film industry. The CEO of Afrinolly, Chike Maduegbuna, after excelling at the Google Android Developers Competition, took the platform to another level as one of the leading streaming service providers in Africa. In May 2012, Afrinolly signed a partnership deal with leading African telecommunications provider MTN Nigeria to help drive app consciousness among Nigerians and promote the Nollywood industry on mobile devices. The co-branding deal yielded results which heralded the formation of MTN/Afrinolly partnership. Subscribers of MTN across Nigeria began to enjoy the Afrinolly exciting content. Today, Afrinolly is among the most sought-after platforms for African movies.