• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nollywood content outpaces distribution channels

Nollywood turns to film schools as varsity graduates fail to impress

As more films are produced, the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, is faced with fewer options to distribute content and recoup invested cash.

With over 2,000 Nollywood movies produced annually, making it the largest in Africa and the second highest producer in the world after Bollywood, only a few of them get released theatrically or even make the International Festival rounds and ultimately attract international distribution.

However, this indicates that the sector is lacking sufficient digital platforms and cinema screenings to support such an amount of production.

Traditionally, Nollywood has relied on the physical distribution of its movies through DVD sales but this method is becoming outdated, as more and more consumers are turning to digital platforms for their entertainment needs.

Read also: Amazon Prime premiers first African original movie in Lagos

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have disrupted the traditional film industry, and Nollywood needs to adapt to these changes to remain relevant.

Joy Efe Odiete, CEO/president of Blue Pictures Entertainment, said investors are losing money.

He said: “It may not be apparent but it will eventually become clear to investors, contents are not able to turn around the invested funds because the option for distribution is limited.

“We urgently need to create an enabling environment and the Nigerian government to encourage more digital platforms to get in and make available funding for the expansion of cinema to independent cinema owners and of course encourage international partnerships and collaborations between countries.”

In recent years, Nollywood has made some strides in this area, with the launch of several digital platforms dedicated to Nigerian and African content like iROKOtv, Africa Magic Go, and EbonyLife ON.

According to Nnamdi Adigwu, an international film and TV executive, there is a need to improve Nigeria’s domestic distribution windows by investing in more theatre screens and formulating effective policies via the Film Commission to encourage local filmmakers whilst attracting foreign co-production. “Ultimately this will increase demand for our content globally.”

Adigwu also said there is a need to create a supportive ecosystem for the industry to thrive in terms of production value, financing, exhibition facilities, and co-production opportunities.

In the past few years, Nollywood has not only caught the eyes of the world with quality movies, but investors have also taken notice and are taking positions in the market.

According to Omotayo Queen, a film lawyer, there is an urgent need for Nollywood market expansion because once investors realise that investing in movies is not as lucrative as they thought, they would start searching elsewhere for investment alternatives.

Experts predict that with additional digital platforms and cinema screenings to accommodate the amount of content generated, Nollywood will continue to expand and thrive, confirming its position as a significant player in the global film industry and attracting more investors.