“If there has ever been an industry that created digital dialogue from the word go, it would be Nollywood”. That’s Femi Odugbemi, CEO, Zuri24 Media Limited, unpacking the Nollywood revolution to industry thought leaders at the Digital Dialogue conference facilitated by Multichoice in Dubai.
At the event, Odugbemi reflected on Nollywood’s exponential growth since 1992 with the release of the classic, ‘Living in Bondage’ in 2014, when the industry was declared a $3.3 billion sector by the Nigerian government.
He stated that in 2016, Nollywood’s combined box office earning topped a staggering N3.5 billion ($11.5 million), and in 2017, Nollywood was named one of the priority sectors identified in the Economic Recovery and Growth plan of the federal government of Nigeria, with a planned $1 billion in export revenue by 2020.
According to Odugbemi, digital solutions opened up a number of possibilities across Nollywood’s sub-sectors including distribution, production, manpower and governance.
“Beyond the big screen, small screens are creating a world of opportunities to 130 million active GSM subscribers of which 25% can spend N1,500 per month on movies, equating to a staggering annual revenue of N585 billion ($ 2 billion),” he said, adding, “filmmaking in Nigeria is gradually becoming more sophisticated because of the growing options that digital filmmaking avail filmmakers, such as applications that can create a virtual rendition of a scene.”
For the ace producer, Nollywood amounts an average of 50 filmmakers per film set, 2,000 film projects in Nollywood per year and estimated two million in its workforce. “A sizeable part of Nigerian film industry remains informal, however, there is a new thinking in Nollywood that is reshaping the industry and gradually creating formal structures that allows filmmakers to access public and private funding to address the business of filmmaking,” he stressed.
Odugbemi explained further: “In terms of governance, business proposals, right contracts, and chain of title agreements are becoming a necessary part of the business of Nollywood, helping to create a new line of roles and new businesses. There has been increased government participation in Nollywood in the areas of funding and grants, copyright legislation, and taxation. The industry is also being closely watched by guilds, lobby groups and other relevant stakeholders.”
He, however, concluded that despite ongoing developments, the DNA of Nollywood remains constant along with its reputation of being an artistic platform for telling stories that resonate with audiences around the world.
The Digital Dialogue Conference is a thought leadership platform facilitated by Multichoice Africa in order to foster a better understanding of the future direction of pay-TV industry in Africa. In its 5th edition, the conference was established in 2012 to create a better understanding of Digital Migration and its impact on Africa’s digital landscape. Since then, the independent and growing platform has been critical in fostering a better understanding and building knowledge on the pay-TV and Digital terrestrial markets, while creating necessary conversations with thought leaders about various industry-related issues.