By Rita Okoye
He has worked in five different companies before establishing one of the largest video-on-demand online platforms, IbakaTV.
Blessed Ilukor Idornigie, in this interview, talks about his foray into the entertainment industry, his plans and expectations.
How and why did you set up IbakaTV?
The hunger to come up with something more innovative and competitive has always been my drive after venturing into so many online businesses, from e-gold to multilevel marketing. At 27, I have worked in five different companies before discovering that Nollywood needs more competitive and more innovative ideas in online movie streaming and distribution, content immortalisation and security.
I decided to make more research about the industry and found out that Nollywood content is in high demand within the country and in the Diaspora. That began the journey of IbakaTV. The aim for me was to create a platform that will become the viewer’s choice destination in African Internet entertainment. That was the idea behind IbakaTV – a new distribution platform for Nollywood, giving viewers a plethora of exciting choices in accessing the much-desired Nollywood movies. Now IbakaTV is one high rising Internet company to watch out for!
Has the journey always been rosy?
I started the business in my room with a laptop and with the support from friends and family members. The company was birthed in 2011. I later brought in partners that injected some funds into the business. September 2012 marked the turning point for IbakaTV, after it acquired YouTube premium partnership and with four major channels, IbakaTV|Nollywood, IbakaTV|Yoruba, AfricaMagicClip and IbakaTV with a monthly hit of about six to 20 million at Estimated Watch Time of about 80 to 200 million as at today. This success on YouTube was one of the motivating factors that inspired the company to create its own official online movie-streaming platform.
What makes your company unique?
IbakaTV is unique because of our passion in ensuring that our customers are satisfied with our services. Like our slogan ‘customer satisfaction is our passion’ and this is what drives us to get the best of Nollywood content on our platforms at any cost.
Are you not afraid of competition?
Not at all, rather it makes us as a company to always checkmate and improve on the quality of the services we provide to our clients. Competition or criticism only makes us to be on our toes, to ensure that we render to our clients quality and effective service.
What are the challenges in your line of business?
Because the Internet or online movie streaming business is relatively new in Nigeria and Africa at large, this makes our kind of business a bit challenging, because we don’t get the right attention we need in terms of financing and government policies. This is the major challenge we face in this line of business.
What do you hope to achieve with IbakaTV?
What I hope to achieve with IbakaTV is to have a platform that will become the number one viewers’ choice destination in African Internet entertainment that will give our viewers a plethora of exciting choices in accessing the much-desired Nollywood movies.
What kinds of programmes are on IbakaTV?
IbakaTV is the world’s largest online catalogue of premium Nollywood movies, with over 15,000 hours of incredible movie and TV contents streamed on-demand. We are number one in delivering video-on-demand (VOD) in Africa. We deliver the easiest, safest and most affordable means of watching the very best of Nollywood content. We provide an SVOD service where, for as little as $7/month, subscribers can access our vast catalogue, wherever they are in the world, at home or on the go, via an Internet-connected computer, tablet or mobile. Our primary focus is to make our content as easily accessible as possible; to create the shortest distance between people and what they watch. We couldn’t do this without a sophisticated and unswerving technology powering everything we do, from streaming in different bandwidths, to providing downloads in Africa, to providing 24/7 excellent customer service and managing buffering issues, which is why we are recognised as being one of the continent’s leading technology companies.
Are you also on mobile App?
Our reach is felt across various mobile devices. In a bid to make Nollywood entertainment easily accessible to all classes of our audience, we introduced the IbakaTV mobile app. This guarantees audience satisfaction and makes viewing and access to Nollywood, Ghallywood and other African entertainment easier.
Tell us more about yourself?
I was born in Lagos, the son of Pa Anthony Idornige. I am from a family of seven, a graduate of Computer Science, with technological and technical proficiency in Electrical/Electronics (NPA). I have Advanced Diploma in Information Technology and Electrical/Electronics (City & Guilds of London), Higher Diploma in Network Engineering (NIIT) and Microsoft Certified Software and Hardware Engineering etc. I have worked in five major companies before leaving to start IbakaTV.