Foreign Investors Flock To Nigeria's Nollywood
30 July 2019
Nigeria's film industry, Nollywood, has long kept viewers entertained with stories of riches and romance, now foreign investors are increasingly looking to be a part of the action.
US giant VOD platform Netflix, China's StarTimes and France's Canal+ are among those making major moves in the world's second-largest film industry, which rolls out more than 2,500 films annually and is topped only by India's massive Bollywood film industry.
At a recent event in Lagos potential investors from France mingled with Nigeria's film directors and politicians as they explored the possibilities on offer.
Nollywood films have historically been known to be low-budget productions, often marred by poor image and sound quality. But in recent years, higher-quality Nigerian-made films have been having more impact at the box office.
The Wedding Party and The Wedding Party 2 in 2016 and 2017 raked in over $2 million, beating some US blockbusters for the first time. After that, the comedy Chief Daddy brought in over $600,000 last year.
The figures are minuscule compared to the massive amounts grossed by Hollywood hits, but Nigerians who can afford the movie tickets are willing to pay to go and see local productions.
It is these movies with higher production value that have been attracting investors from overseas.
Canal Olympia, a division of the French media giant Vivendi, has cinemas across the continent and features at least one Nollywood film in its line-up each week.
The group plans to open two cinemas in Nigeria next year, and currently offers Nollywood TV to all its subscribers in Francophone Africa.