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Nigeria's 'Nollywood' attracts global entertainment brands

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on September 10, 2019 - Duration: 02:05s

Nigeria's 'Nollywood' attracts global entertainment brands

Nigeria's film industry, the world's second-largest, is increasingly grabbing the attention and financing of international investors eager to get access to a growing African market.

Alexis Akwagyiram reports.

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Nigeria's 'Nollywood' attracts global entertainment brands

On the top floor of a Lagos hotel, the scene is all lights, camera, action.

A local film crew has gathered to shoot for a comedy series.

It's produced by Nigeria's ROK studios.

The show is called "What Are Friends For", and it will be among many new shows aired by French pay-TV group Canal+ in the coming months.

Following its acquisition of ROK, which is one of Nigeria's top film studios.

Nigeria's film industry is popularly known as "Nollywood".

And it's attracting a surge of foreign investors.

They're all eager to tap into its abundant content and audience that stretches across Africa and beyond.

(SOUNDBITE) REUTERS NIGERIA BUREAU CHIEF, ALEXIS AKWAGYIRAM, SAYING: "I'm Reuters Alexis Akwagyiram in Lagos.

Investment from rival firms has set up battles between pay-tv companies like Canal+ and streaming firms like Netflix.

It comes amid dwindling viewing numbers in more developed countries.

And it's all because Nollywood is big business.

Nollywood is the world's second-largest film production hub after India's "Bollywood" and ahead of Hollywood.

Nollywood creates around 50 original films each month." Rising mobile phone usage, faster broadband speeds and rapidly growing populations all make Africa an enticing market for streaming services.

As does a largely unreached audience of around one billion people.

But investing in Nigeria's film industry is not without its drawbacks.

Mobile data is expensive compared to the cost of living in many African countries.

That makes regular video streaming unaffordable for many, some of whom turn to cheap pirated copies of films. Such problems form a bump in the road investors would have to negotiate to be successful.

Many are trying regardless.

U.S. streaming giant Netflix has already been negotiating license deals for Nigerian films. Including a comedy directed by a Nigerian filmmaker, which debuted on the platform in March.

Pay TV services like Canal+ have seen their viewing numbers dwindle in rich nations.

They're banking on African countries bucking that trend due to their high data costs.

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