Trends that will rule movie business in 2019
No doubt, the Nigerian mov i e industry, aptly tagged Nollywood, has made an impressionable mark in the global movie industry.
The industry, which surpassed Hollywood as the world’s second largest movie industry by volume, right behind India’s Bollywood in 2009, as well as achieved an industry record of N853.9 billion ($5.1 billion), and about 1.4 percent contribution to the Nigerian economy in 2014, hopes to achieve more this year.
The industry is expected to play a key role in achievement of $8 billion revenue target of the entertainment industry to the Nigerian economy in 2019; a target set in 2014 when the industry reached the $5 billon revenue mark.
However, the movie industry stakeholders, especially filmmakers and producers, are now leveraging on improved strategies, efficient marketing and distribution to ensure sustainability of their business and also to woo investments into the industry.
So far, the investments in the industry have impacted positively on the quality of the production, storyline, quality of cast, equipment and techniques.
To sustain the development, the industry is leveraging on some of the proven trends and strategies more in 2019.
One of such trends is movie premieres. This year, filmmakers hope to collaborate more with cinema houses and film distribution companies for movie premieres and effective film distribution channels that will fight-off piracy, optimise revenue and safeguard investments in the industry.
Since 2014, an average of five new films premiere on at least 20 cinemas across the country in a month and this has given rise to growing investments in cinema business.
Speaking on the growing movie première trend, Kennis Ikwuagwu, a Nollywood content creator/ CEO, July Films, noted that the three most grossing films in Nigeria The Wedding Party, A Trip to Jamaica, and 10 Days in Sun City, which grossed N 453,050,000, N178,500,000, and N177,000,000 respectively, achieved the box office grossing breakthrough through premieres at cinemas across the country and the world over.
But while movie premiere is trendy, investment in more cinemas seems trendier for investors now because of the high return on investments. Currently, the cinema business attracts over N15 billion investments in big screens across the country with the likes of Filmhouse, Silverbird, Genesis among other cinemas opening at every corner, especially shopping malls.
As well, movie producers are now working more with movie distribution companies to ensure optimal revenue collection. Leading the pack is FilmOne Distributions, which controls a lion share of the movie distribution business followed by Silverbird Film Distribution, Blue Pictures and a few others.
These companies will be busier this year than in 2018 because of the many movie projects that are ongoing and in the pipeline.
Moses Babatope, CEO, Filmone Distributions, believes Nigeria needs more cinema screens around the country to encourage cinema culture and appreciation of Nigerian movie content. For him, effective film distribution network and movie premieres are the key to fighting piracy.
Another trend that will change the industry this year is the many start-ups in digital media marketing, which movie makers are now leveraging on. They will do more this year because of their proven track record of paying what is due to the movie makers.
Foremost of the digital platforms are online streaming outfits such as IROKO Partners, which licenses and streams Nollywood content to global subscribers, who pay $1.50 a month.
According to Jason Njoku, founder, Iroko Part- ners, “The focus is to take this popular movie industry, digitise it, and put the right framework around it to capture the proper value. The revenue is already there, it’s just scattered. If stakeholders can invest in Nollywood and make back profits, it will lead to larger budgets and better quality content.”
Beyond Iroko partners, Netflix, an American digital content distributor, is becoming trendier for movie makers.
In 2015, Kunle Afolayan, one of the leading Nollywood directors, signed a deal with Netflix to distribute his award-winning psychological thriller, October 1, set around Nigeria’s journey to independence in 1960.
Just three years later, Netflix is now riding on the successful distribution of Nollywood content to owning a whole production right. Its recent $12 million movie rights purchase of Nigerian novel Beast of No Nation, to star Idris Elba has encouraged a lot of movie makers to think digital now.
As well, most are ready to sell to Netflix following the successful acquisition of Genevieve Nnaji’s “Lion Heart,” the first original Nollywood film to be bought by the American movie streaming platform.
Beyond Iroko, Netflix, Youtube is becoming a competitor, while NVIVO TV, a new OTT streaming video service, powered by the Cisco® Infinite Video Platform, is holding forth at home.
However, the success so far with digital platform is due to increasing internet penetration across the country, with more gaining access every day as the penetration increases.
As well, investors are looking at building more cinemas, with Filmhouse leading the pack with 25 new cinemas target even in secondary cities.
With the trends, the biggest losers are pirates. But they are also devising means of continuing in their illegal business, meaning that movie makers should also not rest on moving on to more formidable platforms to remain in business in 2019 and beyond.