Nollywood-The New Oil Boom

Nollywood is the next oil boom to look out for in Nigeria as it has gone beyond its teething period to becoming a major contributor to the National GDP and the major catalyst that earned Nigeria the largest economy in Africa.
 The Nigerian film industry is one of the most criticized industries in Nigeria and even among Nigerian living in Diaspora and yet it is growing into a formidable industry that cannot be ignored.
The industry which is over two decades old has experienced remarkable transformation and had evolved from “Old to New Nollywood”. It is worthy to note that Nollywood is subdivided into Hausa movies, Yoruba and English movies.
One of the criticisms of the industry is that it portrays themes that celebrate occult, rituals, gender discrimination, domestic violence, etc. Its players had been tagged “unprofessional” and accused of churning out content unfit for consumption.  At the same time, people say that the industry is merely a reflection of the society in which it exits. Prof Hyginus Ekwuazi in a documentary called Nollywood “the house that naija built”.
I am sure it is no news to you that Nigeria is now officially Africa’s biggest economy. Its GDP was revised up to £307bn in April, after economists re-adjusted the way they calculate the figures for more than 24 years although most other countries go through this process every five years. Nollywood was one of the notable industries that that gave the Nigerian economy this quantum leap.
According to a report from The Guardian on Thursday 10 April 2014, “Nollywood produces more films a year than any other country except India. In 2006, when the last comprehensive data was collected by Unesco, Bollywood released 1,091 major feature films, Nollywood 872, and their namesake, America’s Hollywood, trailed with 485. If you include the smaller, lower budget films Nigeria’s rises to more than 2,500 movies per year. Motion pictures, sound recording and music production are collectively now worth billions of pounds, and constitute 1.4% of the country’s £307bn GDP, according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics”.
It further stated that “Unesco has attributed much of Nollywood’s success to the fact that it relies on low-budget productions (usually under £20,000) which are released on video CDs, a cheaper alternative to DVDs, and are usually sold for about a dollar each. The 2006 study estimated that 99% of screenings were in informal settings, such as people's homes rather than cinemas. Yet piracy is a huge problem for filmmakers, with an estimated five to 10 illegal discs circulated for every genuine one”
Viewing Nollywood with the lens of an investor, one can safely say that Nollywood is the next big thing in Nigeria.
In spite of these accolades, it is no contention that Nollywood content needs a revamp. Films making has gone beyond quantity to quality. Nollywood has gone past the stage of celebration; it is at a phase where the requisite structures needs to be in place.
Nollywood is a platform that gives voice to the Nigerian story. It is the next oil boom; it is the next big thing. It is a place to look at!

Written by
Ryta Moemeke.