Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood, is the third largest movie industry in the world. Despite little or no support from the government and virtually no foreign investments, it has grown so huge that in 2008 alone, it produced over 1000 movies and in 2010, its revenue was estimated to be $250 million.
But how has this small sector of the Nigerian economy become such a huge deal?
If there’s one thing that can be said about Nigeria, it probably has something to do with corruption. Just take a look at the amount of rich and powerful people (and their families) who fled the country over allegations of corruption: former military head of state Obasanjo, ex-Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the former Governor of Lagos State Babatunde Fashola.
Nigeria’s government has been plagued by accusations of corruption for years, so much so that whoever takes over in power is expected to be corrupt as well – which makes it no surprise that Nigerians are always looking for alternative ways to make a living since the economy is controlled by those who have political connections.
In 2008, Nigeria’s film industry grew at such a rapid pace that it became the third largest movie industry in the world.
How Hollywood and Nollywood Compare
Hollywood has been the undisputed king of movie-making for many years now, and it shows no sign of slowing down since its revenue in 2010 was estimated at $30 billion. In comparison, Nollywood produces about 100 times fewer movies annually from a much smaller budget.
But despite its small size, it has managed to grow so big that in 2009, the United Nations named it the second largest film industry behind Hollywood. The Nigerian government’s poor management is probably one of the main reasons why this sector has grown so much – not only is there little or no funds allocated for filmmaking, but piracy is one of the main challenges facing Nollywood.
Any reputable casino wants to associate itself with the film industry and in Nigeria it is still the same thing.
It is very difficult to compete with some of the world’s biggest movie-making companies when they have such a huge budget and support from their governments – that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. In fact, in 2002 Nigeria passed a law preventing unauthorized duplication and distribution of films, and it seems to be working.
How Nollywood Manages to Survive Despite the Odds
Nigeria’s film industry has managed to thrive despite piracy and other challenges such as a lack of funds and little or no support from its government. But how does it do it?
One reason why Nollywood is so huge is that as early as the 1980s it started catering to Nigeria’s huge population – and now that its numbers have grown, even more, that strategy has paid off.
The fact that there is so much piracy has made Nollywood look for alternative ways to make a profit – by selling their movies on DVDs and charging entrance fees during movie screenings. There are about 100,000 video clubs in Nigeria and they charge membership fees to allow their members to access films – while some are free, others cost as much as about $10. Nigeria’s film industry has managed to thrive despite piracy and other challenges such as a lack of funds and little or no support from its government.
While Nollywood may not rival Hollywood in terms of revenue, it is a very successful industry – and with the world’s population expected to reach 8.3 billion by 2030, Nollywood may become a much bigger player as it caters to more people.