When people think of Nollywood –  Nigeria’s film industry – they think of the stereotypically shitty, low-budget films with terrible acting and unoriginal storylines. Compared to the more developed film industries of the Western world, it’s treated as a joke, but there’s more to the industry than the stories of random white people and the exorcism films they star in:

It’s Bigger Than Hollywood

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By sheer volume, Nollywood’s film output leaves Hollywood in the dust. According to a UNESCO report, the industry surpassed its American counterpart to be recognised as the 2nd largest film industry in the world (after Bollywood) with an average of 1,000 – 2,000 films a year!

It’s Worth $5 Billion

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Despite each film costing a thousandth of a typical Blockbuster, the industry was estimated to be worth $5 billion in 2014. However, while thousands of unauthorised video tapes and DVDs are sold on market stalls around Africa for a couple of dollars each, only a small fraction of this makes it back to the film’s producers.

It’s Driving Innovation

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It’s this fight against piracy that’s driving Nigeria’s tech industry to innovate. The physical media-based distribution methods of old are being replaced by online streaming services such as iROKOTV and Netflix Africa. While home internet still has a long way to go, these platforms have adapted for the country’s 92 million mobile users through the development of Android apps.

It’s Built By Rebels and Entrepreneurs

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While older film industries are subject to a deeply-entrenched studio system, Nollywood is still dominated by independent filmmakers. What began in the 90s as a small industry in a country where most of the cinemas had closed down has become a market flooded with home movies and maverick directors.

 

 

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