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Media (R)evolutions: The epic Nollywood machine

Roxanne Bauer's picture

New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.

Many global citizens recognize Hollywood films— they are easily identified by their high production values and mostly predictable storylines.  Many also recognize Bollywood films, with their glamor, romanticism, and show tunes.  However, many are not aware that Nollywood, the film hub of Nigeria, is the second-ranked film mecca in the world.

Nigeria’s film industry is prolific, producing as many as 50 films a week or more than 1,200 films a year. Nollywood surpasses Hollywood in sheer volume and is gaining ground on Bollywood in India, which overtook the USA as the largest film producer in the 1970s and now has about double the output of Hollywood.

Nollywood films are typically low-budget, and revenues are small.  One of the highest grossing Nollywood films so far is thought to be "Ije: The journey", which generated $500,000 when it was released in 2010. According to, the average production “takes just 10 days and costs approximately $15,000.”   

Bollywood generated revenues of $1.6 billion in 2012, and has been growing by around 10% a year.  By 2016, revenue is expected to reach $4.5 billion, according to the DI International Business Development (DIBD), a consulting unit of the Confederation of Danish Industry.  Bollywood also boasts intermediate production costs of around $1.5 million per movie.

Hollywood’s average budget per movie is $47.7 million per movie, with each taking about one year in production time.  However, ticket prices are much higher in the US than in Nigeria and India and Hollywood generates much higher revenue – as much as $11 billion annually.
Infographic- film industries 

Nollywood star Stella Damasus invites you to join a live discussion on gender based violence

Anne Dronnier's picture

A multi-disciplinary art exhibition on the topic of gender based violence (GBV) is opening today at the World Bank in Washington, DC. The exhibition is entitled “1 in 3,” since an estimated one in three women worldwide will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. “1 in 3” includes art from around the world - photographs, paintings, drawings, sculpture; films and videos; posters from advertising campaigns against GBV, and performing art. 

Nollywood has talent!

Ismail Radwan's picture

Lights, camera, action!  It’s a clichéd phrase that we more often associate with the movie business and not the World Bank.  In the past the Bank has financed schools, hospitals, power stations but now we are looking for new areas to finance.  So why the movie business?  Nigeria’s movie industry, euphemistically known as “Nollywood” is the world’s most prolific, churning out more than 40 full-length feature films every week. It employs about 500,000 people directly and perhaps double that indirectly. And yet there is tremendous scope for growth. 

Osuofia in London, 2003Most of the movies are low budget affairs. Want to make a movie in Naija – it only takes $25,000 and a couple of days with local producers using gorilla film-making techniques.  They make low budget movies filmed on site in cheap locations (hotel rooms and offices), with improvised sound and light. The result, sometimes grainy, sometimes inaudible, ham acting at its best – but for Nollywood fans it is totally watchable, gripping action that they can relate to. African stories for an African audience.