Nollywood’s Journey to Global Domination in Film

  • 0

In 1992, several events reshaped history, such as the renaming of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Russian Federation, the end of minority rule in South Africa through a decisive referendum, the 25th Olympic Games in Barcelona, Bill Clinton’s election as the 42nd US President, and Michael Jackson’s commencement of his ‘Dangerous’ World Tour.


In Nigeria, another historic moment was unfolding that would transform the African film industry. Visionaries Chris Obi Rapu, Kenneth Nnebue, and Okechukwu Ogunjiofor collaborated to create what is now considered the first Nigerian home video blockbuster, paving the way for what we now know as Nollywood.


Today, Nollywood proudly holds the title of the world’s third-largest film producer. This industry is not merely producing films; it is a significant revenue generator and a global ambassador of Nigerian culture. Nollywood’s influence across Africa is a testament to its resilience and ingenuity.


According to Africa M.E., Nollywood produces over 2,000 movies annually and generates approximately $1.2 billion in revenue, marking it as one of the most prolific film industries globally. This thriving sector has created jobs for over 200,000 people and captivates audiences in more than 50 countries.


Nollywood has long been a treasure trove of content, releasing thousands of movies a year. Recently, however, it has evolved from a regional powerhouse to a global phenomenon. This boom is driven by affordable production technology, an increasing demand for diverse narratives, and the rise of streaming platforms.


The entrance of major streaming giants like Netflix into Africa highlights Nollywood’s significance. These international platforms recognise the immense value of Nollywood, brimming with compelling stories and a fervent audience. The decades of hard work and creativity by Nigerian filmmakers are finally gaining global recognition.


Dr. Young-Tobi Ekechi, Managing Director and CEO of First Generation Mortgage Bank (FGMB), estimates Nollywood’s worth at over $6.4 billion, surpassing even the online casino games industry, which earned more than $600 million in 2019.


Streaming services such as Netflix and Showmax are crucial to this global expansion. Showmax, Africa’s leading streaming service, heavily invests in original African content. According to Entertainment Partners, Showmax has a presence in nearly every African country and is considered the leader in African streaming.


Since its 2015 launch, Showmax has rapidly ascended to dominate the African streaming market, occasionally outperforming Netflix in specific regions. With an extensive content library and a strong focus on locally produced original material, Showmax has become a staple for online entertainment enthusiasts across Africa.


Several factors contribute to Showmax’s success. Its diverse content library includes a vast array of domestic and international films, series, documentaries, and TV shows, catering to the varied interests of its African audience.


These platforms offer a legal and convenient way for global audiences to access African films. The success of movies like “The Black Book,” a Nigerian action thriller that spent weeks on Netflix’s global top 10 list, demonstrates this growing appeal.


The rise of streaming giants is ushering in a new era for African cinema. “People were faced with difficulty, but they pushed past it,” said Enyi Omeruah, co-founder of ChudorMMC, highlighting the challenges producers overcome despite the industry’s boom. Increased investment enables filmmakers to produce high-quality films capable of competing on the global stage.


READ ALSO: Post-Colonial African Cultural Renaissance


This surge in investment is beneficial not only for Nollywood but for African cinema as a whole. “31 countries are observing an increase in productions thanks to a rise in investments in local content,” reports Entertainment Partners. From South Africa’s thriving industry to the burgeoning film scenes in Kenya and beyond, African storytelling is on the rise.


The future of African film is promising. With a growing audience, a wave of talented filmmakers, and robust support from streaming services, Nollywood and African cinema are set to make a significant impact on the global film industry. Get ready, because African stories are about to become a major part of the global film conversation.

Copper Mining and Zambia’s Debt Crisis
Prev Post Copper Mining and Zambia’s Debt Crisis
The Legacy of June 12: MKO Abiola’s Enduring Influence on Nigeria’s Political Sphere
Next Post The Legacy of June 12: MKO Abiola’s Enduring Influence on Nigeria’s Political Sphere