Okafor Buchi Kingsley works with IrokoTV as an Application Manager. A few weeks ago, he discussed “The Business of Cable Distribution Channels” with the Film Rats. Godwin Harrison handled the conversation, rattling some frequently asked questions as Rats gathered to nibble on cheese.
The transcript below has been edited for publication.
Q: As an aspiring producer seeking platforms to accept his contents, what are the criterion that need to be met for your film to be accepted, using ROK as a case study?
Okafor Buchi: For a movie to be aired on any platform it must go through certain processes and screenings. For ROK, we look at different things but most importantly your storyline. This has to be unique. We have audiences all over the world who are ready to give credit for having good storyline. We also look at picture and sound quality. I guess we all know that these ingredients are most important in making your content better than those in the competitive market. Similarly, the cast and crew must be watertight. Marketable faces are of great importance, but this is not to say upcoming acts should be ignored, but if they must be used, they must be those who are good at what they do.
Q: How does the cable station make money?
Okafor Buchi: We do in so many ways. There’s the IrokoTV application customers subscribe to for access to our movies and shows. Asides that, we have reputable terrestrial stations that draw advertisements for us. There is also our YouTube channel. Not all movies get to make it to our TV or the application. So for movies that can’t make it to those platforms, we upload on the YouTube channel. Thus, we are able to pay the producers of such films from the income generated from YouTube views.
Q: As a producer, how do I earn from your platforms?
Okafor Buchi: As a producer, once you are able to meet up with our terms and conditions, we buy your movie. No producer gives us movies for free, we buy and we upload them depending on the terms and conditions.
Q: If I make a film for about 1million naira, how much should I be expecting it to be bought for?
Okafor Buchi: Now, if you claim to have made a movie for that amount, we look at what you have invested in the movie and what you have been able to achieve with the said 1million. If your story and other technicalities are worth that amount, we buy it. Most producers will tell you that they spent 1million in making a movie with an output that doesn’t even come close to that amount. In such cases, we do not buy.
Q: So there is no standard price? Like how in Africa Magic Epic, they buy per scene and per face and the highest they can offer is 500k. So imagine I make a film with 2million and you buy for 500k, it’s a total loss.
Okafor Buchi: Every platform has its terms and conditions. Before we can buy your movie, it goes into private screening. The Nigerian Content Department will watch the movie and it will be sent to New York before we buy. That is why once you bring us a breakdown of the budge of your film, we need to see it in your product, it has to show. We cannot upload content that won’t satisfy our customers. It won’t make them renew their subscription once it expires and that will come at a loss to us.
Q: Do brief us on some things you think that filmmakers, especially the new stalks often neglect in their contents.
Okafor Buchi: Simply put. Good story. Good pictures. Good sound. Most writers are so lazy to think outside the box. They give us the same storyline every time. I can tell you the content of a full movie from the trailer.
Q: To have films up on your YouTube channel, does it need to go through the same strict screening like the TV? Plus what is the platform to producer ratio like?
Okafor Buchi: Every movie brought to us must go through that process. But then after screening, the movies that go to the YouTube channel are movies that are a little below average. Not that they are bad or too good but then we feel there is something missing, so we give them the credit to go on YouTube based on percentage agreement between both parties.
Q: Are there language restrictions to the contents you accept?
Okafor Buchi: No language restrictions. Permit me to share some pictures of the Yorùbá movies we have on the platform
Q: How many films do you need to have up on IrokoTV platform before you can apply to become a commissioned producer for Iroko?
Okafor Buchi: First we don’t have a commission manager/producer, once you have a movie and you feel like you need to bring it to us, good and fine.
Q: What’s the avenue for content submission to your platform?
Okafor Buchi: Once your content is ready, you send a mail attaching your content via a Dropbox link and we pick it up from there. You might not get a reply immediately but surely you will.