The Evolution of the Entertainment Industry
Entertainment is any activity that creates a pleasing diversion or allows people to be engaged, usually for fun, enjoyment, and laughter. At its core, entertainment is storytelling and storytelling is the social and cultural act of sharing experiences, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment.
Every culture has its own stories or narratives, based on its history, society and cultural values. These stories are then shared as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation or instilling of moral values. But if a people have lost its history and a sense of its own culture, what stories will it tell, what impact will those stories have and will they be authentic?
Historically, Nigeria existed as several separate Kingdoms, empires and peoples, with governmental structures, societal cultures and values of their own. By 1960, these diverse cultures and others from outside Nigeria were lumped together into one nation but the inherent diversity of the people still needed nurturing and developing into a united nation. It is indisputable that colonization threatened to destroy the rich cultural heritage of Nigerian societies. It certainly did not encourage the establishment of Nigeria as a united country but rather it differentiated, discriminated, and marginalized the people among themselves with its divide and rule policies, leading to social apartheid with division, hatred, unhealthy rivalry and pronounced disparity in development among the people. Professor Yosi Apollos Maton, of the University of Jos, estimates that there are over four hundred (400) ethnic groups in Nigeria.
While the three dominant tribes are Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo, there are many more minor tribes as well. Though the minority tribes outnumber the major tribes cumulatively, the major tribes have dominated the country politically, socially and economically since independence.
The Entertainment industry is part of the tertiary sector of the economy and it spans a number of sub-industries. It includes Exhibition Entertainment with Amusement parks, Art exhibits, Festivals, Museums,
Trade shows, Fun fares; Live Entertainment with Clubs, Concerts, Comedy, Dance, Drama, Jazz shows, Musical theatre, Parties, Performing Arts, Plays, Sports, Entertainment, Theatre; Film with Film Studios, Movie Theaters/Cinemas, Film Score, Film Production, Acting; Broadcasting with Television and Radio; Animation; Music with Composers and Songwriters, Singers and musicians, Choirs, Bands; New media with Web television; Fashion with Designers, Stylists and Models; and Electronic Entertainment with Video games and SMS content and marketing.
PriceWaterhouse Consulting projects that Nigeria will have the highest Entertainment & Media growth rate by 2021 with 12.1%. The Nigerian Entertainment Industry comprises Nollywood, the Nigerian Film Industry, Cinema, Music, Television, Radio, and Video game. Nollywood is by far the largest in terms of revenue generated and it is the second largest film industry in the world. It produces 2500 films a year, about 50 every week, employs over 1 million people, generates more than $7B annually, and contributes 1.4% to the national GDP. With new theaters opening and production quality increasing, Nigerian cinema is in ascendancy. Total cinema revenue is set to reach $22M in 2021, with 8.6% growth rate as Nigerian films gain international recognition.
But real challenges plague the industry: inadequate skills and human capital, poor technology and movie making resources; copyright infringements & piracy which discourages investment; lack of access to funds and weak Foreign Direct investments (FDI); and shortage of platforms to show
content. The Industry is not well structured and suffers from inadequate project development & business planning. But new cinemas are opening, and business plans are being developed to increase access to funds and FDI. Technological platforms such as the internet and apps are enhancing distribution through the likes of Irokotv, and Netflix. In addition, training and capacity building for cinematographers, scriptwriters, directors etc. and opportunities for equipment leasing are increasing.
Nigerian Music is also developing with new music and new artists constantly emerging. Some local artists have managed to ink deals with global labels achieving international prominence. Publicity is also coming from the music scores of internationally acclaimed and commercially successful films. Total music revenue in Nigeria is set to rise to $73M in 2021. But this sub-industry also has its challenges such as piracy, improper distribution of content, inability of artists to earn from their work, inadequate legal structure around contracts and record deals, mediocre players in the industry, shortage of skills and lack of production studios.
The good news is that the evolution of monetized platforms for music distribution, improvement in production skills and quality, establishment of state of the
art studios, and hosting of musical talent shows etc., are on the rise.
Television was introduced to Nigeria in 1959 by Chief Obafemi Awolowo with the first television station in Nigeria and Africa, and so he was able to tell his side of the conflict between him and the colonial administrators who barred him from using the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. Since then the Nigerian TV market has grown and is set to pass the $1B mark in 2021 with pay-TV revenues dominant at 64% and TV advertising accounting for 31% of the market. Nigerian radio revenue is expected to reach $76M in 2021entirely from advertising. The Nigerian video games market was worth an estimated $41M in 2016 but has been expanding and that trend is expected to continue. But broadband penetration is extremely low in Nigeria limiting the development of the Internet video market. There is a lack of high quality and locally relevant content, and the digital switchover is incomplete. However, new entrants such as DSTV
Nollywood is by far the largest in terms of revenue generated and it is the second largest film industry in the world. It produces 2500 films a year, about 50 every week, employs over 1 million people, generates more than $7B annually, and contributes 1.4% to the national GDP.
and international giants like Netflix and Amazon will help the industry develop further.
At its core, entertainment is story-telling and good entertainment will tell a good story that impacts the consumer positively. So, for industry players their focus must be on enhancing the user experience. Users want accessibility, affordability, authenticity, convenience, interactivity, entertainment, fun, participation, privacy, and spontaneity. A lasting user experience depends on rich and authentic content with a positive message. To provide such content requires research into the history and the culture of the people to understand how and why the people do what they do and are the way they are. We need to know our story to tell our story and with over 400 cultural groups, we have a rich store. Historical and cultural authenticity will ensure that the stories told — whether in film, cinema, television, music, radio, or via the internet — will be real and will move people and create those memorable experiences we all hunger for. We can tell our stories and communicate relevant and uplifting human values like selflessness and service, overcoming evil with good, love, reconciliation, transparency and accountability, integrity, tolerance, unity and peace.
At its core, entertainment is story-telling and good entertainment will tell a good story that impacts the consumer positively.
The Nigerian Entertainment Industry occupies a very important role in cultural and national development and cohesion. It is very critical in the making and uniting of Nigerian societies and cultures. Entertainment is a subtle and powerful tool in disseminating information and branding both domestically and internationally. Governments around the world use entertainment to communicate with their people and worldwide. Movies can be used as change agents to promote cultural values, development initiatives and aspirations. Music can be used to connect the diverse socio-cultural groups.
Entertainment can protect our rich cultural heritage and norms, helping to preserve them from eroding. Stars in the Nigerian Entertainment Industry ultimately become role models for the rest of us. We observe the way they dress, their attitudes, and lifestyles, the way they speak, walk, dance, and we emulate them.
The younger and more impressionable we are, the more influence they have on us. This is why stars must appreciate and take responsibility for their role as influencers and ambassadors in shaping and developing positive values and impressions locally and internationally. Ultimately, if Nigerians know their stories, and tell their stories in a way that appeals and achieves lasting impact, they will indeed be able to control the narrative and the Nigerian Entertainment Industry will become one of the largest and most compelling in the world.