Movie theaters are making a big comeback in Francophone Africa

3 May 2018

Distribution

Francophone Cinema

As recently as 2015, there were no cinemas in Cameroon and filmmakers bold enough to brave the odds could only get their movies across to audiences through DVDs.

 

Indeed, that reality was true across many African countries where many cinemas had shuttered after a vibrant reign in the 1960s and 1970s. For example, there were up to seven cinemas in Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital city alone, back in the 1960s. Cinema chains started to return in several countries in the mid 2000s but that progress has not come at an even pace. Whereas a country like South Africa is home to scores of movie theaters and on the back of Nollywood’s success, Nigerian entrepreneurs have been rebuilding its homegrown theaters, across much of Francophone Africa, theaters had all but disappeared.

 

But that’s slowly changing with international media and tech giants making a play for a youthful market with over 120 million people across 24 countries in West and Central Africa. Orange, the dominant French telecoms giant in Francophone Africa, is partnering with CanalOlympia, the cinema network owned by French media giants Vivendi, to equip its chain of eight 300-seater cinemas which have been opened in the past two years across seven French-speaking countries, including two in Cameroon. Vivendi plans to grow its chain of cinemas in the region to 20 by the end of the year. Read the full article on Quartz here.