If this is the first time you are hearing of the term ‘Nollywood’, then chances are, like I didn’t, you have no clue as to what it could be. Nollywood refers to the film industry of Nigeria, and in terms of output, it is the 2nd largest film industry in the world, only trailing the Indian film industry, Bollywood. Nollywood films are shot on a tight budget, varying anywhere from $10 000 to $50 000, and does not have the video quality of say a higher budget western produced film. The distribution of Nollywood films is generally done by selling them in the format of DVD on street corners or vendors, for a few dollars each. Because of the low budgets and high sales of films, film making is very profitable for Nollywood film makers. Although this doesn’t seem like a great amount, Nollywood has been great for the Nigerian economy, as it is estimated that 150 000 – 200 000 home made films are sold each day, and that Nollywood contributes to 1.4% of Nigeria’s GDP.
Now that the world has increased access to more affordable technology, such as internet and high quality video recording devices, it is worth considering that the Nollywood film industry has excellent grounds to increase the production quality of its films whilst remaining on a low budget, and to possibly even become the biggest film industry in the world. So what exactly is the future of Nollywood? Could it possibly become the New Hollywood?
If we look at how Nollywood has progressed during it’s lifetime, we can see that it has had an amazing growth. Onookome Okome tells us in his article ‘Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and Sights of Consumption’ about the origins of Nollywood, that a trader in the Idumota area of Lagos discovered a way of disposing VHS cassettes, using them to record local theatre performances for video film. As people caught onto this, Lagos quickly became the mecca of home video production. Currently, it is estimated that Nollywood produces between 1500 and 2000 home video films per year, and that in the years of 2010-13, the film industry generated in-between $300 million and $800 million. Also, in 2014, Nollywood was valued at $5 billion.
So how is Nollywood expanding its ventures in a modern day context?
Nollywood has begun to take advantage of the internet and social media as a means of distributing their films. iRokoTV, dubbed ‘the Netflix of Africa’, is a streaming service that is home to more than 5,000 Nollywood films. Alfred Joyner’s article exploring the future of Nollywood says that this will allow more people around the world to have access to Nollywood films as they are no longer exclusively available in a hard copy. iRokoTV allows anyone with an internet connection access to Nollywood films. There is also a youtube account titled ‘Nollywood pictures tv’, which is loaded with Nollywood films and has over 200 000 subscribers.
So what does this mean for the future of Nollywood? Well, as Nollywood films are now accessible all around the world, it is sitting on great potential to become even larger than it already is. By utilising new technology, Nollywood producers can produce higher quality videos whilst remaining on a small budget, and can also use services like YouTube and iRokoTV to distribute films more vastly, and possibly one day become, the New Hollywood.
- Joyner A, (2014), ‘New Nollywood? The Future of World’s Second Largest Film Industry’, News Article, Viewed 2nd September 2015, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/new-nollywood-future-worlds-second-largest-film-industry-1442857.
- Tolchinsky M (2015), ‘Nigeria’s Nollywood is putting Hollywood to shame’, News article, Viewed 2nd September 2015, http://globalriskinsights.com/2015/01/nigerias-nollywood-putting-hollywood-shame/.
- Okome, O (2007). ‘Nollywood: spectatorship, audience and the sites of consumption’ Postcolonial Text, 3.2, pp. 1-21, viewed 31st April 2015.