With nearly two decades of acting and filmmaking under her belt, Mary Njoku has long been a powerhouse in the African movie industry. Since she made her debut in 2004, Njoku has starred in over 100 films and TV series, mostly in “Nollywood” — the Nigerian movie industry, the world’s second-largest by production output. Over the last decade, Njoku has reinvented herself behind the camera, as an executive shaping the creation and distribution of African content for the streaming age. In 2013, she founded digital media company ROK, which operates four TV stations, and ROK Studios, a content production company for IrokoTV, a Nigerian streaming video-on-demand company started by her husband Jason Njoku.
ROK Studios films air on TV across Africa and the U.K. The studio produces films for diverse audiences, including the large African diaspora, with typical production budgets of just $20,000. Under her watch, ROK Studios has amassed a content library of over 540 films and TV series. In 2019, the French broadcaster Canal+ acquired ROK Studios, keeping Njoku in charge as CEO. “We are acquiring the talent of Mary,” Canal+ Chief Content Officer Fabrice Faux told TechCrunch in 2019. As the era of global streaming services takes off around the world, freed from the limitations of traditional cable and satellite TV packages, Njoku is well-positioned to be a market leader in meeting the growing demand for African content around the world.