Nollywood, as the Nigerian film industry is more widely known, is now acknowledged as one of the biggest in the world. Star actors, better production values, and passionately enthusiastic global audience engagement are all present in the nation’s developing film industry. But these developments didn’t happen until recently when it transitioned from the Golden Era’s direct-to-video hits to its current state—the new wave, which is more contentiously referred to as “New Nollywood” (Ogobude,2021).

These plays may now be recorded and shown in teeny theaters throughout the business because of the development of technology. The local content was therefore displayed on a large screen. They were able to reach a broader audience in this fashion, and this increased significantly in the 1970s. The majority of Nigerians’ purchasing power had increased by the 1980s (all thanks to the oil boom of the late 70s). As more people could spend more money at the movies because of this one decision, there was an increase in movie going. It also saw the widespread adoption of home televisions in Nigerian households. (Ogobude,2021).

These television shows were then made available on video, which sparked the growth of a small-scale black market for videos and the much-discussed video boom of the 1990s. Despite its overall success, Nollywood’s golden age was not without its share of mistakes. The oil business was impacted by the crash, just as the oil boom had a significant impact on purchasing power. Other problems included a lack of funding and marketing assistance, a lack of conventional film studios and production tools, and, most critically, a lack of experience among practitioners. (Ogobude,2021).

The vigorous revival of upper- and middle-class cinemas began a few years into the new millennium. Televisions were still popular during this period, and movies switched from VHS (Video Home System) to VCD (video compact discs). However, there was a growing desire for social engagement of some kind. Given that they were situated in well-known and crowded malls, the cinemas provided people with some kind of social interaction as well as a modified form of amusement beyond viewing movies. One of the first important investors in this area was The Silverbird Group, which established a high-end mall on Victoria Island with a theater and other entertainment options. Following Silverbird’s success, a growing number of theaters appeared in the less wealthy areas of the community. (Ogobude,2021).

Additionally, incentives were offered to filmmakers during this time by the government and various institutions to help them create high-caliber films and support appropriate distribution at a time when piracy was severely damaging the business. Some of these incentives allowed filmmakers to enroll in film programs and study at respected universities. According to reports, the movie business brought in $1.72 trillion by the end of 2013. After a year, the business had grown to a value of 853.9 billion, making it the third most valuable film industry in the world, behind India and the United States. (Ogobude,2021).

Nigerian movies are now more sophisticated than they were before the video boom thanks to New Nollywood. They can step up the storytelling because they have much larger budgets, longer film production schedules, and better resources. The choice of stories to convey was also given a bit more latitude. One could argue that New Nollywood may not have mastered storytelling as well as its forebears, but there still seems to be time to fix that oversight if the industry wants to. (Ogobude,2021).

Beyond serving as a mirror of the globe, the film business is quickly becoming a significant section of the global economy. Over 2,500 movies are made each year, according to Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, who acknowledged that the film sector contributes 2.3% to Nigeria’s GDP. However, the cinema business offers humanity the reflected prism to pierce the minds of men to capture history, project the future, and depict the monuments and heritage that construct civilizations. This goes beyond its economic value. (Akingbolu,2022).

According to UN research on cinema on the continent, the film industry in Africa has the potential to triple its earnings to $20 billion (£15 billion) and add 20 million new employment to the creative sector. Nollywood, the second-largest film industry in the world by output, is booming in Nigeria, and Senegal is another example of an African nation with a developed business model and expanding opportunities for local film productions, which are increasingly sought after by television and streaming services like Netflix and Disney+.
According to the report, there was the potential to create 20 million additional jobs in addition to the estimated 5 million already present in African nations. The majority of the continent’s creative industries were severely underdeveloped, in part because local and national policymakers neglected to safeguard and support the audio-visual sector. According to Audrey Azoulay, director-general of Unesco, the research, which evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of each nation’s film and audio industry, “showcases the immense potential of Africa’s audio-visual sector both in terms of creativity and growth.” To allow filmmakers from all nations to express themselves and build thriving and competitive cultural and creative sectors, she stated that international cooperation needed to be strengthened. (Akinwotu,2021)
New generations of directors “may now survive off the cash produced online by their work in countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Senegal,” according to research, as a result of the lower cost of digital cinematographic equipment. New options to distribute and monetize live content are available thanks to websites like YouTube, Netflix, and regional mobile video providers. It claimed that these adjustments had sparked “the formation of a new economy for African content providers, who are now doing without traditional players.” (Akinwotu,2021)
Jason Njoku, a 32-year-old chemistry graduate who has made a successful career as an entrepreneur, is Africa’s largest distributor of Nigerian films and has made over $8 million since establishing Iroko Partners in 2010. He enthralled a crowd in Texas, United States, in December 2012 during a conference as he told the tale of his success following various failures in earlier business endeavors. In Lagos, London, and New York, Mr. Njoku currently employs 71 people. He frequently brags that “these people are working for us in a country with 50% unemployment.” He was just named one of the top 10 young African millionaires to watch by the American business magazine Forbes (Unesco,2013)
Undoubtedly, the Nigerian film industry contributes to job growth in a nation where the economy is mostly based on oil and agriculture. The industry today employs over a million people, making it the second-largest employer in the nation after agriculture. According to the African Development Bank, Nigeria’s economy will expand by 7% this year; nonetheless, there is still not enough employment to accommodate the country’s expanding youth population. (Unesco,2013)
Nollywood makes more films than Hollywood in the US at a rate of 50 per week, second only to Bollywood in India. Despite having lower profits than Hollywood and Bollywood, Nollywood nevertheless brings in an amazing $590 million each year. The World Bank is currently aiding the Nigerian government in developing a Growth and Employment in States project to promote the entertainment industry along with other businesses because it believes that if the industry is effectively managed, a million more employment might be produced in the sector.

According to Chioma Nwagboso, a World Bank finance, and private sector specialist, the bank is aware of the Nigerian film industry’s potential to create jobs and the want for a “fruitful export for the country.” Nollywood established itself in the position it is today without early government assistance, and a small boost might catapult the business too much higher heights, she continues.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, stated that it was necessary to recognize and honor Nollywood actors and actresses as well as other members of the Nollywood entertainment sector because over 2,500 films are produced each year. He continued, “Nigerian filmmakers developed an internationally competitive entertainment business despite the hurdles and limits in the nation’s environment with skill, courage, and incredible perseverance.” “Nollywood will expand beyond our present dream and surpass our highest ambitions with enough investment, a supportive regulatory environment, greater training, and capacity development. To help the industry reach the heights that everyone knows are achievable, he said, “it depends on all of us in government, the business sector, and across the society to identify methods we can do so.”

According to the World Bank, nine copies are pirated for every legal copy sold. The majority of the exports of these films are pirated, according to Ms. Nwagboso. “In terms of exports, these movies are purchased and seen around the world – in other African nations, Europe, the USA, and the Caribbean. She continues by saying that because there are now so few legitimate avenues for exporting movies, the producers receive little to no compensation and the government receives virtually no income. Therefore, many observers believe that the existing partnership between the World Bank and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, the Nigerian Copyright Commission, and the National Film and Video Censors Board is essential.

The attendees of the last Nigerian Film and TV Summit, or NIFS, emphasized the necessity of using film frames, screens, and tubes to positively represent Nigeria and Africa. They emphasized the need to convey African stories better—true African stories—from the perspectives of Africans, using genuine African artifacts and settings.

Ijeoma Onah, the founder and convener of NIFS, underlined her commitment to the growth of the Nigerian film and television industry. “I want to declare the Nigerian Film and TV Industry’s enormous potential as the summit’s opening statement. However, with the NIFS, we remain committed to highlighting these potentials through the ongoing and deliberate confluence of local and international film industry professionals to ensure that we fully harness these enormous commercial potentials.”

She also took the chance to introduce UniNigeria, a new industry initiative from the NIFS stable. She states that “UniNigeria is a non-profit initiative that will support local distribution businesses and assist everyone who is in the business of distributing content for film or TV to get access to and participate in all the major international film and TV content markets in Asia, North and South America, Europe, the Middle-East, and anywhere else there is buying and selling of content. For local distribution firms to continually promote the international distribution of Nigerian content, UniNigeria will seek out and get the necessary funding.

The NIFS Founder continued by saying that UniNigeria will assist and support regional distribution firms who sign up for this industry assistance program and have the necessary resources to participate, exhibit, and conduct business internationally. In addition, “we hope to build capacity with UniNigeria through periodic training, roundtables, and workshops, on film finance, distribution, marketing, and packaging, as well as content distribution, acquisitions, and licensing for film and TV programs; and most importantly how to navigate and attend international markets.”

Executive Producer of Red Media, Bola Atta, discussed the untapped opportunities for the Nigerian film industry in her keynote address on “Streaming and Convergence: The Untapped Opportunities for the Nigerian Film Industry.” She said that while Nigerian filmmakers would like to tell stories about Africa and Nigeria, they are constrained by a lack of funding. “We have the skills, but we lack the funding.” Similar to how the industry’s players function in Hollywood, she pushed for collaboration among them. She stated, “Hollywood works together to make it happen. She stated that conventional TV will probably become extinct in response to the inquiry regarding its future. TV will become obsolete. According to her, more people are spending money on computers and phones than on televisions.

In his presentation, BUFF Studios’ Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe, a UK delegate, and speaker agreed with Bola Atta that collaborations in the business are necessary to produce high-caliber films. “Yes, there is still a quality problem. It takes a lot of effort to make movies that will draw interest and investment from around the world. The problem of quality extends beyond finances. We are excellent storytellers. However, we require the funding for the tales as well as the expertise and know-how to put them into action, according to Anyiam-Osigwe.

Ayanna Lonian, Director and Head, WW Major Studio Licensing Strategy, Amazon Prime Video, moderated a keynote discussion on “Streaming Wars: The Implications on the Future of Content, Monetization on Film and TV Content.” She believed that the company would offer the highest quality content that would please her customers. We provide the most international local services. To provide the greatest local content to a worldwide audience, Amazon Prime Video collaborates with local creators. Lonian continued, “We are enabling the sector to exploit these prospects via cooperation and investment in training and capacity building,” noting that there are significant opportunities in the Nigerian Nollywood business.

She claimed that while African films have a strong ability to convey tales, they must also be of high quality if they are to be successful on the global stage. She gave Nigerian filmmakers the advice to write real tales and to be real in the acting and staging of such stories. She continued by saying that Amazon Prime Video promotes excellent narratives and superb animations that are skillfully crafted and made with genuine African sensibilities.

Anabel Grundy, who spoke at the British Film Institute (BFI) presentation and focused on the UK cooperation with the British Institute, brought up the concerns of authenticity and quality. She talked about the opportunities that Nigerian producers can take advantage of if they collaborate with the British Film Institute. She also discussed how local producers can use this collaboration with the BFI to access funding and navigate the distribution systems for Nigerian films on the global stage.

Along with the Indian high commissioner to Nigeria, Shri G. Balasubramanian, and the host, Ijeoma Onah, Hamisha Dayani Ahuja, CEO of Forever 7 Entertainment, celebrated Nollywood’s arrival in India with the audience while examining the confluence of cultures and co-creations in the film business. Hamisha emphasized the need for Nollywood and Bollywood to work together to further the cultural overlap between these two friendly nations.

The French Embassy, in collaboration with Animation Nigeria, a group of animation professionals, emphasized the need of concentrating on the use of animation to portray African stories in the spirit of animating a people’s cultural essence via films. In addition to highlighting the need for more animation education, Christophe Pecot, of the French Embassy in Nigeria, reaffirmed the French embassy’s commitment to working with Animation Nigeria to build capacity and take advantage of the numerous opportunities available in the global animation market. More training is required, and there should be international cooperation with institutions and organizations like the French embassy, said Agnes Soyode-Johnson, co-founder and general manager of Limitless Studios and a member of the Animation Nigeria group.

The film industry has elevated itself to a key global basic in any country’s development. Through foreign direct investments, economies are built. By providing knowledge and instruction, it develops minds. Images that show and represent people and locations in time and space help to construct civilizations. The worldwide issue of developing Nigeria’s film and TV business to compete advantageously in the global visual domain means that the film industry in any country canno longer be neglected (Akingbolu,2022).

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