In the country that now represents Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria’s film industry has exploded in recent years, outstripping the more established Hollywood and Bollywood in various statistics.
Over the last 20 years, Nollywood’s indomitable rise accounts for more than 1.4 percent of Nigeria’s GDP, which amounts to US$7.2 billion, according to the Oxford Business Group. With some 1 million people working in film (including distribution and screening), it is the nation’s second largest employer after agriculture. Furthermore, the CEO of the government-owned Nigeria Export Import Bank, Robert Orya, said this year that Nollywood generates at least US$590 million annually, behind only Hollywood and Bollywood. He also explained that Nollywood, which is the largest and most profitable film industry in Africa, will play an important part in the continent’s projected 5.2 percent growth for last year.
Despite these advances, Nollywood still has a little catching up to do with its U.S. and Indian counterparts. While Nigeria produces twice as many professional films as Hollywood each year (some 2,000, according to CNBC Africa), it is far behind Western countries and Bollywood in terms of box office revenue. Nigeria has just 100 screens (in just a few dozen movie theaters) to the U.S’s almost 40,000, according to UNESCO, and as a result most of the movies go straight disk, selling for US$1-2 in a market whose material is 90 percent pirated.
But that is changing. It has been widely noted that the industry’s films are improving in quality and garnering higher budgets; the number of films shown in movie theaters before going to DVD is also growing. One of Nollywood’s premiere streaming sites, iRoko, became subscription only in 2014 (it was previously free), in a bid to boost the industry. Then there’s high-profile industry events, held in international venues: even in Hollywood. Finally, 2015 has seen the big transition from Nollywood-specific streaming sites to the multimedia international Netflix.
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Source : TeleSur, July 17, 2015