How Nollywood evolved from ordinary passion to multi-billion dollar industry — Odugbemi

Femi Odugbemi
Femi Odugbemi [Photo credit: Femi Odugbemi's Facebook page]

“If there has ever been an industry that created digital dialogue from the word go, it would be Nollywood.”

The above was the sentiment expressed by Femi Odugbemi, CEO of Zuri24 Media Limited, who discussed the Nollywood revolution to industry thought leaders at the Digital Dialogue Conference holding in Dubai.

The Conference is facilitated by MultiChoice Africa.

Speaking on “The development of Nollywood Industry — The current Position of Nigerian Films and Creativity”, Mr. Odugbemi reflected on Nollywood’s exponential growth since 1992 with the release of the classic ‘Living in Bondage’ to 2014 when it was declared a $3.3 billion sector by the Nigerian government.

“In 2016, Nollywood’s combined Box Office topped a staggering 3.5 billion naira ($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,” the filmmaker said.

According to Mr. 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 1,500 Naira per month on movies, equating to a staggering annual revenue of 585 billion Naira ($ 2 billion).

• 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.

• Nollywood amounts an average of 50 filmmakers per film set, 2,000 film projects in Nollywood per year and estimated 2 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.

• 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.

Mr. Odugbemi 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 2018 Digital Dialogue Conference is a thought leadership platform facilitated by MultiChoice Africa to foster a better understanding of the future direction of the pay-TV industry in Africa.

This is the fifth edition of the conference which 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.

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