“Nigerian-born Jason Njoku is at the vanguard of Nollywood’s digital revolution. (Nollywood, remember, is Nigeria’s booming movie industry.) In his early thirties, Jason is the founder of NollywoodLove, a YouTube channel that streams the most recent Nigerian movies for audiences scattered across the world. In less than a year since launching, Njoku has built one of Nigeria’s most recognizable web brands from his base in Lagos. NollywoodLove is the most subscribed YouTube channel in Nigeria, and upload views are heading toward the 50 million mark. NollywoodLove is also profitable, though its founder politely declines to reveal revenue and net income figures.
I chatted with him via email recently, where he recounted his startup story, and voiced his thoughts about the future of Nigeria’s movie industry.
You started NollywoodLove in September 2010, but in less than a year, you’ve built one of Nigeria’s most renowned web brands. NollywoodLove already attracts more than 1.2 million views from some 230 countries on a monthly basis- an unprecedented record for a Nigerian web brand. How did NollywoodLove start? What inspired the conception of NollywoodLove, and how did you manage to make a runaway success of it so quickly?
To be honest I have been completely overwhelmed by the scale and speed of NollywoodLove’s success. In November last year it was me alone in my bedroom. Now it’s a much bigger project than I ever really anticipated. Nollywood as a phenomenon has been one of most underappreciated social, cultural and economic movements coming out of Africa. I believe that Nollywood is Nigeria’s national treasure-an amazing way to crystallize our culture, aspirations and attitudes today. My goal in starting NollywoodLove was to support the industry from a distribution and infrastructure standpoint by instilling the basic building blocks to help push Nollywood amongst the only real competing film industries: Bollywood and Hollywood.
The demand was always there. I simply made it easy for Nollywood fans globally to re-connect with their heritage and culture. Mixing the world’s number one video sharing platform (YouTube) with Africa’s most popular content was a potent mix. Anybody anywhere globally can access a plethora of Nollywood movies within seconds. That is the power of super distributing content on the Internet. Our success is merely a barometer of the success of Nollywood as an industry. . .” More on Forbes.com.