A few days ago, Nollywood enthusiasts cheered as Canal+, a French film/TV studio, and distributor, made a move to penetrate the African movie market with its acquisition of ROK, one of the leading film studios and international TV networks in Africa. This is the first of its kind acquisition in Nollywood’s billion-dollar industry.
The brains behind ROK
So far, ROK has been capturing the minds of African movie enthusiasts globally, and Nairametrics found it imperative to profile the brains behind this innovative company. On this week’s Founder’s Profile, we present to you Mary Njoku, a movie entrepreneur whose excellence is top-notch in a male-dominated industry.
Asides being the pillar of ROK, Mary Njoku is a famous Nollywood actress, producer, and TV personality. Her ventures in the entertainment industry have made colleagues and stakeholders label her as one of the richest actors in the country.
She is among the few celebrities in the entertainment industry who have so far struck a laudable balance between their families and businesses. Not many can explore the idea of running a business venture with their spouses. Njoku isn’t just running a business with her husband, Jason Njoku, who is a film magnate but running a successful business that is essential to the Nollywood industry.
Njoku’s early life and education
Mary Njoku was born on March 30, 1985 in Mile 2 Estate, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos State, where she had her primary school education. She attended Amuwo Odofin High School, National College Gbagada, and Navy Town Secondary School, all in Lagos.
In 2010, Mrs. Njoku, who hails from Nsukka, Enugu State, enrolled to study English Language at Lagos State University (LASU). She also attended London Film Academy in the United Kingdom (UK), where she took a course in Producing: ‘Movie Magic Budgeting & Schedule.’
Mary Njoku debuted her acting career in 2004, when she featured in a Nollywood movie ‘Home Sickness’, alongside Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha. She came to the limelight after featuring in a Nollywood blockbuster, ‘Blackberry Babes‘ in 2011.
Between 2011 and 2013, Mrs. Njoku produced iROKtv, a YouTube platform that featured interviews with Nigerian celebrities, as well as coverages of Afrobeats and Nollywood events. In 2015, she became Chief Content Officer at IROKO Partners. In the same year, she held the first world premiere for her film, ‘Thy Will Be Done’ at the BFI IMAX London, the first-ever Nollywood film premiere in IMAX.
[READ ALSO: CANAL+ Group Acquires ROK]
Njoku’s ROK at a glance
In August 2013, Mary Njoku founded ROK Studios. Since the company has been launched, it has produced Nollywood movies and TV series, that include Festac Town, Single Ladies, Body language, Losing Control, Husbands of Lagos, amongst others.
In 2016, the movie entrepreneur launched ROK on Sky, a network airing across the UK at the Nigerian High Commission in the UK.
To meet ROK’s growing demand on DSTV, ROK Studios launched two channels, ROK 2 and ROK 3. While the former delivers content showcasing the origins of Nollywood, the latter showcases a variety of Ghanaian talents and has a music channel feature in addition to the 24hrs movie and series selection.
Her personal life
On August 18, 2012, Njoku married British-born Nigerian entrepreneur, Jason Njoku, in Festac, Lagos. They are blessed with 3 children: Jason Obinna Njoku (July 30, 2013), Nwakaego Annabelle Njoku (August 24, 2015), and Amber Nnenna Njoku (August 4, 2017).