One of the slogans of President Tinubu’s campaign was “Emi lo Kan” which is a Yoruba expression for “It is my Turn”. Entertainers and media practitioners look forward to the impacts the new administration would have on the Nigerian entertainment industry and earnestly hope that it would be the Industry’s turn to receive special attention towards development.
The entertainment industry has had a profound impact on the Nigerian economy, as it is one of the country’s fastest-growing sectors. According to a report by Stears Business, the Nigerian music industry is the second-best performing entertainment and media consumer market globally, behind only the American music industry. Additionally, Nollywood is recognized as the world’s second-largest film industry, with a market value of approximately $6.4 billion as of 2021.
The entertainment industry in Nigeria is largely private sector driven and has seen several Nigerian musicians gain global attention, with major record, distribution and music publishing companies in the US, UK, and other parts of Europe playing significant roles in their successes.
The Nigerian entertainment industry has the potential to become the major contributor to the nation’s economy, creating job opportunities for millions of Nigerians
Nollywood filmmakers are creating high-quality movies with funding from their personal purses and some investments from private investors and video on demand platforms. VOD streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video are investing heavily in Nollywood by acquiring local content and commissioning original Nigerian movies and TV shows for distribution on their platforms. In a recent report, Netflix disclosed that it invested $23.6million in Nigeria between 2016 and 2022, producing and co-producing about 250 local licensed titles and commissioned projects.
How the Tinubu administration can improve the Nigerian entertainment industry
1. Enhance internet speed and regulate data prices
To improve the entertainment industry in Nigeria, the government should focus on enhancing internet speed and regulating data prices. The internet plays a vital role in the distribution and consumption of music, movies, and other digital content, and the availability of fast and affordable internet will contribute to increased revenue for creators. The government should review the Nigerian Broadband Plan (2020-2025) of the immediate past administration and consider ways to improve it to actualize affordable internet in Nigeria.
2. Provide funding for the entertainment industry
Another way to improve the entertainment industry in Nigeria is by providing funding through policies that offer loans and grants as intervention funds for professionals in the industry. The new administration should ensure that these intervention funds are widely publicized so that industry professionals have enough information about their availability and the application process.
To ensure that these funds are accessible to industry professionals, the requirements for qualification should not be overly stringent, and ownership rights in projects should not be required to be ceded before qualifying for funding provided by the government. To administer these funds, a special government committee should be established
3. Legislative intervention
To enhance the regulation and growth of the Nigerian entertainment industry, the enactment of Nigerian Media and Entertainment Act is recommended. This Act should serve as a legal framework that regulates the industry and provides tax credits for the production of certain media projects, as well as tax holidays for investors.
In particular, the Act should make adequate provisions supporting songwriters, regulating record deals, royalty and licensing, music publishing, music distribution, film distribution, and other aspects of the entertainment industry. The Tinubu administration may sponsor this Act as an executive bill and provide support to the National Assembly to pass it into law.
With a broader perspective, the Nigerian Media and Entertainment Act should put into consideration similar laws such as the Music Modernisation Act applicable in the United States, Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act applicable in state of Georgia, United States, Entertainment Industry Act applicable in New South Wales in Australia, etc.
4. Invest in infrastructure
The government should prioritize investments in infrastructure to foster economic growth and social development. One way to achieve this is by establishing state-of-the-art arenas and coliseums in strategic locations across all the geopolitical zones in the country.
These venues will provide much-needed spaces for large-scale musical concerts and performance arts that can compete globally, thereby boosting the country’s cultural and creative industries. This will promote social cohesion and a sense of national identity, which are essential for the country’s growth and stability.
5. Invest in tourism and security
To boost the economy and increase revenue, it is imperative for the government to prioritize investment in the tourism sector. There are numerous tourist attractions in Nigeria that have been overlooked and require attention. For instance, the Sular Cultural Landscape in Adamawa, Ancient Nok Settlement, and Yankari National Park are just a few examples of untapped potential tourist sites that could be revived.
To maximize the potential of these tourist attractions, the government must prioritize the provision of basic amenities such as transportation, accommodation, and security. Security is pivotal to the development of the entertainment industry.
For the entertainment industry to live to its full potentials, the industry players have to feel safe in Nigeria. Government must assist in proving security for entertainment events, film production locations, tourist attractions, talents, investors, etc.
The Nigerian entertainment industry has the potential to become the major contributor to the nation’s economy, creating job opportunities for millions of Nigerians and improving the country’s image on the global stage. However, this requires significant investment, both from the government and private sector. Government should collaborate with industry stakeholders to promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and talent to the rest of the world.
By implementing the strategies outlined in this article, the Nigerian government can help transform the entertainment industry into a much more thriving sector that benefits both the economy and the citizens.
Olayode is an associate at RBMM Solicitors (Media, Entertainment and Corporate Commercial Attorneys) in Lagos.