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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 

As of 2014, Nollywood was worth US $5.1 billion and made up 1.4% of Nigeria’s GDP.  For the first time, Nigeria’s government began in 2014 to include Nollywood as an official line item on the country’s GDP. 

Nollywood is also Nigeria's second biggest provider of work, employing directly or indirectly more than one million people, according to the United States International Trade Commission.

Locally, in Nigeria, many films are released on DVDs sold in “video parlors” because there are few theaters in the country.  There are about 200,000 video parlors across the country.
Nollywood is also moving online, with video-on-demand (VOD) services. One of the country’s fast-growing startups, iROKOTV, is essentially a Nigerian Netflix, and it licenses and streams Nollywood content to global subscribers, who pay $1.50 a month.

However, reliable Internet–a requirement for streaming VOD–is still a problem in African countries. In response, iROKO has tasked its developers with creating smaller Nollywood movie files and more direct download options. Another Nigerian startup, SOLO, is bridging the device and broadband gap by offering entry level smartphones that cost around $75, and its View App allows customers to buy and rent digital content at download hotspots throughout the country.
Nollywood is also huge on YouTube—numerous channels dedicated to Nollywood have more thank 200,000 followers on YouTube, and iRoko has 530, 000 followers on the video platform.  Nollywood films are also available through Amazon and Distrify. 

Source: Vice

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Submitted by Olisaemeka Okolie on

With GSM service providers venturing into the IPTV space, this will provide more opportunities for content providers and the whole value chain. The video on demand platform is bracing for a short in the arm with the licensing of MTN into this sector. The South African company has over 60 million subscribers, this gives them a solid headstart amongst their own subscribers to sell content to and Nollywood has choice but to keep growing.

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