Over the last decade, film and music making in Nigeria has considerably grown in Nigeria. In 2021, cinema revenue was recorded as $6.6 million and there is a projected increase to $12 million by 2026. The OTT video streaming ecosystem of Nigeria include players like Showmax, Netflix and Prime Video with $14 million in 2021 and a projected $26 million in 2026. Between 2016 and 2022, an investment of $23 million was channeled to either license local titles or commission original Nigerian content by Netflix. This act marked Nigeria as one of the three priority markets for film in sub-Saharan Africa, together with South Africa and Kenya.
Giving insights on how state governments in Nigeria can transform Nollywood and local tourism, Niyi Akinmolayan, a filmmaker, stated that there is a lack of connection between the industry and government stakeholders. Nollywood is majorly financed by the private sector and actors are beginning to land big deals that are worth millions of dollars with Amazon, Netflix and others. Connecting filmmaking with tourism is more like a propaganda as the beauty of a state is showcased. States are therefore advised to develop a liaison and begin to lobby filmmakers.
Movies should be permitted shoots in tourist sites.
The filmmaker added that filmmakers are tired of filming in Lagos and would really love to film in other Nigerian states with tourist sites. Anthill Studios shot ‘Prophetess’ in Liberty Stadium, Ibadan; ‘King of Thieves’ was shot in Oyo Town; a yet-to-be released movie was shot around all existing mountains in Ondo State, Nigeria, all without the support of the government. Akinmolayan advised that the states governments alert filmmakers on festivals they do so that they can creatively film along with the festival. By doing so, the world becomes aware of this festival when they see the film. This step is necessary because the value and quality of film has improved.
In his opinion concerning the construction of an Hollywood-like district, he said it was a good idea for its ability to create job opportunities. Having film cities to shoot movies help production to enable effective management of resources. However, it is impossible to take land anywhere, so there has to be incentives that make land cheap and secure. An entire district could be assigned for the sole purpose of a permanent filming location, while filmmakers are called upon to purchase land. Shooting movies in that space should also grant them relief, perks, among other things.
South African film market is larger than Nigeria’s.
According to the socioeconomic impact report of Netflix, it was revealed that between 2016 and 2022 the company invested $125 million in South African content and $23 million in Nigerian content. Speaking on this disparity, Akinmolayan asserted that South African original productions are much more than Nigerian’s. He added that in the aspect of production, South Africa spends more for creation in its market and also, Netflix has been in South Africa somewhat longer than they have been in Nigeria. Also, he said that Netflix runs a subscription-based and Nigeria’s subscription numbers are lower than South Africa’s.
Additionally, the South African market is larger than the Nigerian film market because Nigeria does not produce movies that can be considered as international in scope and scale unlike South Africa. South Africa’s film industry has a solid establishment technically and in many other ways. Nigeria lacks technical growth and support to produce movies with admirable technical capacities. The country also lack special effects companies that are capable of handling works that are related to action films. However, South Africa already has an industry that is growing around technical capacities.
Governments and people should invest in and prioritize trainings.
Highlighting possible solutions to improve the country’s film industry, the filmmaker called on the country to invest across all its value chains. There are many movie producers but very few good cinematographers and sound experts. Investments should be channeled to schools in partnership with established special effects and VFX studios abroad to launch a branch in Nigeria. There is also a need for training to be prioritized as the country lacks technical capacity. Nigeria’s Nollywood industry will be great, so far Afrobeats in music is making Africa known across the world, Akinmolayan concluded.