A while ago I sat down to have an honest conversation with two of my friends in regards to the state of the Nigerian film industry. They are both producers and directors, who have produced amazing films and the major topic of discussion was about how they are both struggling to recoup the investment they made in the films they produced and how for some reason things are getting worse in regards to the deals they are getting from content buyers.

To some extent there is currently an oversupply of content. Some content buyers are dedicating more resources into the business of creating content themselves, so independent creators are in big trouble. 


I was trying to reconcile the current reality faced by my friends with the idea that in 2019 Avengers Endgame became the highest-grossing film of all time raking in approximately 2.8 billion dollars this is equivalent to N720 billion, to put this in context this is more than the entire 2019 budget of Lagos state also it is more than the combined 2019 budget of the whole Southeastern states. Wedding party 2 the highest-grossing film of 2018 in Nigeria made N512,000,000 this seems huge but when you convert it to dollars it is just $1.4million to put this in context Robert Downey Junior made $75 million for his role as Tony Stark in Avengers Endgame.

You may state that it is not fair to compare Hollywood to Nollywood because they both exist in different economies.

Let’s come home according to reports by the government Nollywood is estimated to be a $3.3 billion sector, what are you serious?

Because how do you explain the fact that as an actor or actress you have to shoot several films a year is to be able to provide a living for your family and even successful actors are seen to suffer financially.  Most production companies struggle to break even.

It is at this point that it hit me that to fix Nollywood the most important question every player in the industry should be asking is “How can this industry be a financially viable one for everyone?

If we can solve this problem can change the course of this industry?  Personally, I believe that the solution lies in fixing distribution,  this is my position because of the following.


  1. There is a market for Nollywood content across the country and continent. The challenge we have is how to capture it and extract value from this market.

The fact is that Nollywood content is widely received across Nigeria and Africa, due to its family-oriented stories and cultural similarities. Africa has a combined population of 1.3 billion people that is a lot of eyeballs waiting to be fed with content. We’ve not yet factored in the diasporan market but let’s stop here.

The fact is there is a huge market for African content it may not be large when compared to her western counterpart but it is quite significant. Sadly due to factors like piracy and poor distribution channels we are unable to benefit from the full potential of this market and a lot of it’s potential is in informal markets that are out of the reach of most creators and investors. According to a survey by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), it is said that 9 out of 10 copies of Nigerian films are pirated. Nigeria has a population of 180million people but currently, we have only 128 screens in 28 cinemas across the country and its not like the existing cinemas are finding it easy to operate no thanks to how difficult it is to run a business in the continent. The DVD sales infrastructure is not well structured, streaming is quite expensive due to data cost and for some reason, the culture of free content is ripe across the continent.

Amidst all this, the fact is whoever can fix our distribution problem will have unknowingly changed the industry forever this feat will be as significant as the birth of the direct to VHS market that gave birth to the current iteration of Nollywood.

The fact is that a better distribution channel or channels that unlocks the potential of the creative industry will achieve the following ripple effects

  • Enable the industry to attract significant investment: If we fix distribution creators can be certain that they can recoup their investment and therefore the industry will become attractive to investors because of the availability of data, structure and success stories to enable producers to make a business case to new investors.


  •  Talents will get better at their craft because with distribution fixed and more investment trickling into the film industry the industry now stands a better chance of recording huge profits. There will be more demand for excellence and this demand will, in turn, drive supply because more people will be willing to make the necessary investment to be good in their craft knowing fully well that it is the only way they can earn well and work on top-quality projects. This will also put pressure on creative institutions to improve the quality of their curriculum and programs because now you have more talents willing to pay a premium to improve their craft.


  • Overall content quality will improve, because it now makes sense for all players in the industry from producers to talents to invest time, expertise and resources on a single or fewer project than spreading themselves thin on several projects, because of the certainty that at the end of the day the can make enough money from the market per film to justify the resources they put into it. The viewers enjoy and thus spend more time and money consuming Nigerian content.


  • Standard of living for all players in the industry will improve because there is more cash in circulation.


So what I am saying is simple, it is okay to dream of making Nigerians next big blockbuster, It is okay to aspire to run and operate the best film academy in the continent, it is okay to dream of making the first 3d and visual effects film that will break records, It is okay to spend years trying to win awards in the next film festival but my friend the most important problem the industry needs you to help solve is distribution.