BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Fast-growing Nollywood creates the most jobs in 5yrs

Nollywood, the world’s second-largest film industry, employed close to 300,000 persons in 2021, the highest in five years, according to BusinessDay estimates.

The estimate was obtained using Jobberman Nigeria’s interview findings from filmmakers on the capacity that a single movie production can employ, which is an average of 100 persons from pre-production to post-production, and movie production data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The latest figure by the NBS is for the first and second quarters of 2021, which shows that 416 and 635 movies were produced, respectively. Going by the run rate of previous years, BusinessDay estimates that an additional 854 and 1,073 movies were produced in the third and fourth quarters, which gives a total of 2,978 movies.

By multiplying the average of 100 persons by 2,978 movies produced in 2021, BusinessDay arrived at 297,800 persons that the industry might have employed. And using the same method, about 45,000 were employed in 2017, 56,500 in 2018, 70,000 in 2019, and 259,900 in 2020.

From the data above, the number of movies produced surged by 561.8 percent in 2021 compared to 2017. And the higher the number of movies produced, the more employment it generates for Africa’s biggest economy struggling with a youth unemployment rate of 42 percent.

According to Taiwo Ogunlade, an official at FilmOne, a Nigerian cinema company, we are getting to see the industry rise to become a key employer of labour for the Nigerian youth.

“The youths are very creative and are looking for places to secure their talents and potentials, and the movie industry creates that opportunity,” he says.

Similarly, a 2021 Creative sector report by Jobberman stated that interviewed filmmakers’ projects that Nollywood, with proper structure, will deliver a tremendous contribution to the economy and reduce youth unemployment.

Nollywood is a significant part of the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, which contributed about 2.3 percent (N239bn) to the nation’s GDP as of 2016. The industry is reported to generate between $500million and $1billion annually and is usually busy towards the end of the year.

And with more than one million people currently employed in the industry, it is seen as a major source of employment for the young population.

Recently, a report by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation projects that film industries in Africa could quadruple in revenue to $20billion and create an extra 20million jobs in creative industries.
And also by 2025, Jobberman projects that Nigeria’s creative sector in which Nollywood is part of could create an additional 2.7 million jobs in 2025.

Read also: Nollywood rides digital adoption to get world’s attention

“It would do Nollywood a lot of good to foster and not stifle these young filmmakers because they are the ones reinventing the wheel, breaking from the norm, crafting fresh narratives and style on how we tell our stories,” Robert Onyeri, a professional filmmaker says.

Last year, Nigerian Cinemas that were closed for six months had to depend on quality local movie content from Nollywood to stay afloat because of the drop in foreign content.

Quality local contents like Omo Ghetto, Fate of Alakada, Quam’s Money, Dear Affy, Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story, Who’s the Boss, This Lady Called Life, Voiceless, Ìfé, Introducing The Kujus, glued the Nigerian audience to cinemas across the country, which helped them to stay afloat.

Last year also saw Netflix, a global on-demand movie streaming company, increase its Nollywood originals on its video streaming platform and also collaborated with Nollywood directors and producers to churn out more local Netflix originals.

Despite the potentials that the industry holds, challenges such as poor financing, infrastructure, capacity, copyright infringement, and piracy as well as a lack of proper distribution and marketing channels, hinder its full potential.

“Piracy tops the list of film industry’s many challenges fuelled by weak enforcement of Nigeria’s copyright law. In the digital era of today, piracy has morphed into illegal download and distribution of movies without paying for them,” the analysts at FBNQuest say.

According to the World Bank, as of 2014, an estimated N82 billion was reported to have been lost by Nollywood alone to piracy.

Nigeria could take lessons from India, the largest producer of films in the world in terms of quantity for rapid growth in its film industry.

The country, which has the second-largest population in the world, has a mandate to create 1.2 million skilled workforces by 2022 in its media and entertainment sector.

Some of the key government initiatives taken to achieve this are the collaboration of veteran actors and filmmakers with the government institutions in offering film courses by giving training lectures, holding workshops, and implementing mandatory internships, which will help build on theoretical know-how.

Another one is developing higher skill programmes for shorter durations intended for seasoned professionals to enhance and refresh their skills as well as learn about emerging technologies.

For solving the issue of piracy, PWC recommends research and multi-media campaigns, training programmes for relevant authorities on the Copyright Act, and the inclusion of anti-piracy awareness material in school curricula.

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