How 'Piracy' Helped Establish The Dominance Of Nigerian Films

from the it's-just-a-form-of-distribution dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about Kevin Kelly's fascinating look at the movie industries of India, Nigeria and China, which represent the three largest film industries in the world. Yes, all three are larger than the US. And all three are places known for extremely widespread "piracy." Given that Hollywood insists that "piracy" kills the movie industry, it certainly seemed worth noting that these three countries had hugely thriving movie industries despite (or perhaps because of) widespread infringement.

The Economist has an article looking much more closely at the Nigerian movie industry, known as Nollywood, which produces an astounding 50 new movies every week. Now, some will immediately point out -- correctly -- that these are much lower budget than our traditional Hollywood picture, but apparently, many of the movies have pretty good plots and acting -- and they seem to be doing pretty well across all of Africa (not just Nigeria). In fact, the report notes that the infringement may be a big part of why Nigerian films are so successful:
The merchants curse the pirates, but in a way they are a blessing. Pirate gangs were probably Nollywood’s first exporters. They knew how to cross tricky borders and distribute goods across a disparate continent where vast tracts of land are inaccessible. Sometimes they filled empty bags with films when returning from an arms delivery. Often they used films to bribe bored guards at remote borders. The pirates created the pan-African market Mr Akudinobi now feeds.
Once again, this is really a recognition of a point that has been many times around here: copyright infringement is often just a more efficient distribution system -- and if you can figure out how to use that distribution mechanism to your own benefit, you can be much better off. In fact, it sounds like many are doing that, and the massive success of Nigerian movies have opened up all sorts of new opportunities for movie makers:
African diasporas in the West pay good money to see films from home. BSkyB, a British satellite broadcaster, and Odeon, a cinema chain, both show Nollywood classics. Consumer-goods companies offer sponsorship deals.
That wouldn't be possible if the movies weren't getting so much attention. On top of that, for those who will continue to claim that the quality of these movies must suck, it appears that the quality is likely to improve. That's because with so much competition, moviemakers are looking to stand out from the crowd, and one way to do that is to improve your product. In other words, just as we've said for years, you've got a situation where competition is leading to innovation and higher quality, even in the absence of copyright protections... Funny, then, that some still insist that without copyright (or without strong copyright enforcement), no movie industry could exist.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 9:16am

    The distribution system works when you have nothing to lose.

    Now that they have something to lose, I am betting the tune will change over time.

    Also, can you show how big the mainstream movie industry was in Nigeria before? How many theaters, how many major productions, etc? How many national TV networks, how many video rental places, how large of a distribution, retails sales, etc?

    If there is no existing infrastructure in place, anything is better than nothing. But in the Western world where there are structures in place and we don't have to bribe border guards to be able to conduct legal businesses, we don't have the same issues.

    It's an amusing story, but is mostly indications of what people can accomplish with very little while living in the middle of a strife filled region that nobody else wants to serve.

    Oh yeah, their cell phones are cheaper than the US too. Another thing better. Perhaps we should all aspire to be Nigerians.

    I wonder how many of the movies are funded by 419 scams? I wonder if you could use that as a justification for those scams too. That would be classic!

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 9:37am

      Re: Statistics Fish

      The over-all factual statement here, summarized for the convenience of the puddings:
      Despite, or because of, the prodigious piracy of Nigerian movies there is now a burgeoning movie industry in Nigeria.
      That is all. End of line. Feel free to troll, offer up logical fallacies, what-have-you, but the articles' primary assertion stands.

       

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 9:52am

      Re:

      I love how you request a litany of data from Mike about the size of Nigeria's movie industry, and then a few sentences later you toss out the wild hypothetical implication that these movies are funded by 419 scams.

      So I wonder, can you show any evidence, or are you just making random suppositions?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re:

        419 scams are a huge source of cash money in the Nigeria economy. While it only represented about one tenth of a percent of the total economy in the country, it is all cash and all clear money.

        My only supposition is that if piracy is good for making the film industry grow, wouldn't participating in 419 scams to finance them also be good? Following the tortured logic of TD, it would suddenly make 419 scams good, because they are for freedom and artistic openness.

        See how it works?

         

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          ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          See how it works?

          Trolling? Yeah, but we knew that.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 11:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Not trolling, I am only using standard TD logic to make an extension, although it is in the opposite direction that TD usually goes. If piracy is good, 419 scams must be great!

             

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              harbingerofdoom (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              except, of course, for that pesky little fact that you are not using much logic at all to begin with.

              its not twisted logic to show that the larger the audience, the more likely you are to generate demand for your product. the article never actually said that piracy is good (thats a fallacy that you have to insert to the argument in order to make your following assertion even seem remotely logical). what was said is that figuring out a way to jump on that piracy and use it to your advantage could be a financially smart move and that there is some data to support that idea.
              The reality is that the piracy is there and as a result has generated demand outside the local market. you can either run with it and find a way to capitalize, or you can stand there waving your arms around like an idiot... but trying to stop it isnt going to work (and as a side note, might i remind you that these pirates are WAY more likely to be armed and not so worried about shooting people that get in their way unlike the 16y.o. down the block who's most dangerous skill is building a high level mage)

              if you cant see the difference (or in some peoples cases, wont see the difference) then there is really not much hope for you to move forward in the world as you will just be stuck in once place while the rest of the world zooms on past you. does that mean i support piracy? no, not really... but i do see that you're not really going to stop it.

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          copyright infringement = stealing and fraud

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Buy a movie at the theatre, then buy a movie in VHS then buy the same movie in DVD then buy again in Bluray = stealing and fraud

             

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          TPBer (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The 419 scams are good, it keeps the troll population down.

           

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            chris (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The 419 scams are good, it keeps the troll population down.

            i like to think of it as a tax on being old and retarded.

             

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              freak (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 11:41am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I really can't see the people pulled in by those scams as anything but victims.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                A guy giving money for the nigerian astronaut in orbit for 10 years to get the resources to come back to earth and redeem its immense fortune in salary and extra hours, its a victim ??!!

                 

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                PaulT (profile), Dec 29th, 2010 @ 2:37am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yes and no. They are being scammed, but the entire purpose of the scam is to prey on the greed of the victim. They work by presenting the victim with a huge potential fortune if only they follow certain instructions that may or may not be legal (otherwise why would that prince need help getting his fortune through a random stranger)?

                They can be tricky and use a lot of underhanded tactics, but they do rely on the victim allowing his baser instincts to override common sense. I tend to lack sympathy for those who do.

                 

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          My only supposition is that if piracy is good for making the film industry grow, wouldn't participating in 419 scams to finance them also be good?

          The point is that widespread copyright infringement provided significant benefits to the Nigerian film industry without causing any evident harm to anyone. The harm caused by 419 scams is clear.

          You are trying to create a ridiculous slippery slope by suggesting that if someone disagrees with one part of the law they must disagree with all of the law.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            419 scams don't hurt nigerians at all. In fact, for the scammers, it is a perfect line of work that pays off well. It's a great business.

            They only do it because they didn't have the startup money to run a pirate site full of ads.

            See?

             

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              TPBer (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              This sounds like Hollywood, at least the first part, not the part about money.

              They stole plenty of that from the consumers over the years making them pay for the pure crap they disguise as entertainment.

               

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              Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              What?

              You've veered off into some realm of nonsense logic and I can't even follow your points anymore... so we are only taking into account harm done to Nigerians in this discussion?

              So I suppose you think that by pointing out the benefits of piracy in this situation, we are also condoning kidnapping tourists and holding them for ransom, or shooting them and taking their money?

              Yeah, totally, you nailed it - that was my point in a nutshell: there are some significant problems with copyright law in many countries, ergo all law should be abolished and we should live in anarchy. Your ability to read, comprehend and summarize is truly impressive.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2010 @ 9:20am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Your ability to read isn't that good either, is it?

                My point is only that if piracy (illegal) is so good, because it helped the industry grow, would it not also be good to take the near 200 million a year taken in 419 scams and invest it in movies, therefore going for the double? After all, if one crime (piracy) is so good, aren't other crimes equally good? 419 scams don't cause physical harm, they only move digital representations of money from one bank to another.

                It is just a kick at the stupid logic of the end justifying the means that TD often seems to adhere to.

                 

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                  PaulT (profile), Dec 29th, 2010 @ 9:47am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Once again for the short bus people..

                  "419 scams don't cause physical harm, they only move digital representations of money from one bank to another. "

                  ..and thereby causing a QUANTIFIABLE and MEASURABLE loss of money that has been DIRECTLY taken without permission. Whether the money itself is physical is irrelevant, because the damage is the same (the money is now missing). Whereas, a digital file being copied (the file is still there and can still be sold) causes none of the losses directly associated with stealing a physical item (manufacture, shipping, packaging, restocking, etc.).

                  As soon as losses from "piracy" can be quantified and measured in such a way, then your idiotic analogies might hold some water. Right now, they just make you look like you have no idea what the people you argue against are actually saying - par for the course if you're the AC I think you are.

                   

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          Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 1:35pm

          Re: 419 Scams

          That’s like suggesting that, if there were no Enron or Bernie Madoff, there would be no Hollywood.

           

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      Ron Rezendes (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 9:56am

      Re:

      "But in the Western world where there are structures in place and we don't have to bribe border guards to be able to conduct legal businesses, we don't have the same issues."

      In the US you just lobby Congress to be your policeman and protect you from the bad guys (consumers) who MUST all be guilty of something because we can't sell as many shiny plastic discs as we used to.

       

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      sad Nigerian, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:21am

      Re:

      As a Nigerian,I find your statement not only insulting, but extremely narrow minded. Yes, we have lots of problems. Yes, the infrastructure is not as is found in the US and other parts of the world. However, to insinuate that Nollywood movies are funded by 419 scams is taking it a bit too far don't you think? What people often tend to forget is that, Nigeria is a country of over 150 million people. The percentage of those people involved in 419 scams and the like do not even register. Yet, to most people, all Nigerians are fraudsters and should not be trusted. This is a very bad outlook and should not be encouraged.
      Nollywood is one of the few (but increasing) number of things that actually work in Nigeria. It is an industry full of professionals who are using the little they have at their disposal to create surprisingly high quality movies. It should be encouraged and comments such as yours do nothing to help the struggling actors/produces/directors in their cause.

       

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      bigpicture, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 11:30am

      Re: Conditioned Viewpoint

      Your viewpoint is conditioned by your culture and social environment. Indicating that it is only relative, other than that it has no relevance apart from another American trying to foist their version of selfishness and corruption on the rest of the world. Y eh for Wiki leaks! Why is the American version of corruption superior???

       

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    aj00200 (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Research Shows That

    Research shows that, despite what people might thing, each pirate download of a movie, game, or what have you, does not represent a lost sale. Instead, each 1,000 downloads represents 1 lost sale.
    There are many movies people would love to have, but they just don't have the money to pay for all those movies (and who would considering the massive amount of profit the film industry produces each year?

     

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    Ibrahim Sheme, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:25am

    It's Plain Stealing

    You cannot change the meaning of the word stealing by trying to justify it through the antics of pirates. Piracy is stealing, that's the plain truth. Imagine the profits Nigerian movie producers could have been making today had it been there was no piracy at the level that it is going on. The absence of structures is no excuse for the rampant thievery going on against the movie producers.

     

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      Freak, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:29am

      Re: It's Plain Stealing

      "Imagine the profits Nigerian movie producers could have been making today had it been there was no piracy at the level that it is going on"

      I'm imagining.

      What's the cost of advertising that would've been necessary to reach the audience they have today? Would they have been able to afford it?

       

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:30am

      Re: It's Plain Stealing

      You cannot change the meaning of the word stealing by trying to justify it through the antics of pirates. Piracy is stealing, that's the plain truth. Imagine the profits Nigerian movie producers could have been making today had it been there was no piracy at the level that it is going on. The absence of structures is no excuse for the rampant thievery going on against the movie producers.
      I just stole your words!
      Since I have them, you now do not. You may not use MY words any longer.

       

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        harbingerofdoom (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 12:56pm

        Re: Re: It's Plain Stealing

        i would like to know if you would be okay with me borrowing these words.... i realize that you stole them so they arent actually yours, but possession is 9/10ths & all that.

        i could trade you some very nice adjectives if you're interested...

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:42am

      Re: It's Plain Stealing

      Funny how, in your whiny lecture about not changing the meaning of the word stealing you...change the meaning of the word stealing.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:45am

      Re: It's Plain Stealing

      You cannot have art without some from of unlawful copying but you can have art without any laws whatsoever. Funny how that works.

       

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      chris (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:59am

      Re: It's Plain Stealing

      Piracy is stealing, that's the plain truth.

      it's not, but even if it was, it doesn't matter. you can't stop it. piracy is a fact of life and there's not a damn thing that you or anyone else can do to stop it.

      if you don't like your movies being pirated, then stop making them. if you're not prepared to stop making movies, then crying about piracy won't do you any good.

       

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      vivaelamor (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 10:59am

      Re: It's Plain Stealing

      "Piracy is stealing, that's the plain truth."

      You know, you're allowed to hate copyright infringement without calling it stealing. Stop trying to hijack the word.

      "Imagine the profits Nigerian movie producers could have been making today had it been there was no piracy at the level that it is going on."

      Why do you believe that they would make more money? I genuinely don't know whether they would make more or less and am anxious to know what your insight is.

       

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 11:00am

      Re: It's Plain Stealing

      Piracy is stealing, that's the plain truth.

      No, sorry, it isn't. Not in the eyes of the dictionary, not in the eyes of the courts, not in the eyes of the law as written, and not in the eyes of anybody who is committed to intellectual honesty.

      You will notice that people who infringe on copyrights in the United States are not charged with theft. Why do you think that is?

      In fact, if copyright were the same as theft, we wouldn't need or have copyright laws would we? We could just deal with all instances of infringement under existing theft laws. Think about that for a few minutes and hopefully you'll see why it doesn't work.

       

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

      Re: It's Plain Stealing

      Ibrahim I just looked at your blog and saw you are a Nigerian journalist. So I'm interested to know if you have perspective on this Nollywood story. Given your belief that copyright is theft, do you also believe that the widespread piracy in Nollywood was not in fact beneficial? If not, I'm curious why.

       

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        Michael Lockyear (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 5:42pm

        As a result of widespread piracy movie producers get about 2 weeks to monetize a movie...surely a constraint on investment (of money and time) and probably also quality?

         

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 29th, 2010 @ 6:47am

          Re:

          As Mike points out below, that only takes into account the primary revenue stream - and more importantly, a growing input is a good thing.

          The exact timeframe in which creators can maximize profits is going to fluctuate always, and perhaps two weeks feels a little short, but overall that's much, much better than the western system where a person can create one popular work and live off the royalties for the rest of their life, then pass it down to their children, giving them no incentive to ever create anything again.

          Given the choice between a system that encourages prolific creative output with the risk of sometimes over-pressuring creators, and a system that overprotects creators at the risk of depriving the public of creative works, I would choose the former.

           

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          PaulT (profile), Dec 29th, 2010 @ 7:20am

          Re:

          "As a result of widespread piracy movie producers get about 2 weeks to monetize a movie"

          Even before online "piracy", this could often be the case in Hollywood. Thanks to a concentration on the lowest common denominator and an obsession with opening weekend grosses, most American films see a drop of between 50-90% in the first week, and even the market as a whole fluctuates wildly from week to week (http://boxofficemojo.com/weekly/). It can be difficult to see anything but the top 10 movies *anywhere* outside the major cities because the major studios are so invested in this tactic.

          As to how this translates to the Nigerian and African markets, I don't really know enough to comment knowledgeably. But, it stands to reason that a market that produces 50+ movies per week is going to be an incredibly competitive market with short shelf lives for its products, with or without piracy.

           

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        Ibrahim Sheme, Dec 29th, 2010 @ 10:39am

        Re: Re: It's Plain Stealing

        Marcus, copyright infringement is not a right, but a crime. Some guys here, strangely, seem to believe that stealing one's work of art and circulating it around the world is beneficial to the creator of the work. I don't think so. Nollywood producers had been trying to circulate their movies through legitimate means, and they would have succeeded in making the world aware of their creation even without the so-called "help" from pirates. Pirates are only an anathema; they could have only been of any value if they were purchasing the movies legitimately and distributing them in the open market rather than be committing this daylight robbery.

         

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          PaulT (profile), Dec 29th, 2010 @ 2:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: It's Plain Stealing

          "Pirates are only an anathema; they could have only been of any value if they were purchasing the movies legitimately and distributing them in the open market rather than be committing this daylight robbery."

          A pretty large statement, and one that is pretty much without a solid foundation. If we were just talking about the physical pirate market (e.g. the African and Chinese people I regularly see selling pirated Hollywood DVDs here in Spain), selling to a local market that's already aware of the work, then we would agree. Those people are working for their own profit, at a potentially tangible loss to the industry.

          But, an online market is important for promotion in three ways. First, it's very cheap to the distributor - that is, use the internet effectively, and you can reach a far larger audience than you can offline. Secondly, users are far, far more likely to branch out into material they are not already familiar with if the cost is low, or zero. Thirdly, those users promote the material as well, for free, guaranteeing a wider secondary market at no further cost to the producer.

          Now, as always, I have to place the disclaimer that I'm not necessarily defending piracy and admit that it is a very grey area morally if not legally. But, an intelligent business admits that it exists and uses these qualities to its own advantage. A dumb model fights it. Nigerian film, for all the problems it still faces, seems to be a model of the former rather than the Hollywood-driven latter.

          I wish you and your fellow countrymen the best, but I think you're very wrong if you're going to try and follow the American model.

           

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        CM, Mar 26th, 2012 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re: It's Plain Stealing

        Not only is Ibrahim a journalist, he is also a film producer. So he has some idea of what he is talking about when he talks about piracy being stealing. It has personally hurt him.

        That said, piracy has opened up the Nigerian film market in a huge way (from all over Africa to London to Dubai to Kingston to Brooklyn etc), and it would be fantastic if legal marketers could actually find some way to work with pirates to create a legal distribution system that spanned the globe.

         

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    Kevin (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    Mission Troll

    I blame Will Ferrell for the fall of the US movie industry. That man can't act and needs to go quietly into that good night where he cannot offend the ears and eyes of moviegoers any longer.

     

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    cybernia (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 2:53pm

    I think you're creating a logic that isn't there. Later in the article they talk about the "mating season"; that there is a two week window in which the producers have to make their money back on any given film before the pirates take over.

    Then, they are "forced" to look for the next project in order to keep the money coming.

    The pirates may have created the demand beyond the local market but they are the ones making the money off the sale of pirated films, not the people who created them.

    What wasn't noted in that article is that the Nigerian filmmakers and musicians have been ramping up their efforts to stop it and that it is a big deal over there.

    Here's another take from the website, Modern Ghana, "Kanayo Kanayo, an actor, blamed the NCC for the increase in piracy and the low quality of films produced in the Nigerian Film Industry. Kanayo divided people who work in the industry into two categories, the professionals and the prostitutes.

    According to his analysis, the professionals were the ones who concentrated on their primary roles as actors or directors while the prostitutes were the jack-of-all-trade who juggled work in the movie industry with political appointments or business activities. He said that the surge in piracy has driven many professionals in Nollywood to become prostitutes and some have even left for good because they could not make returns for the money spent on making a film."

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

      Re:

      Agreed. The idea that this is "good for Nollywood film" as some larger entity ignores the fact that it's not good for the individuals who actually make the films, whose products are financially viable for them for only the period before pirates have spread them across the market. I would suggest the documentaries "Nollywood Babylon" and "Welcome to Nollywood" if you really want to have a better understanding of this industry and how it works.

       

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 29th, 2010 @ 12:49am

        Re: Re:

        Agreed. The idea that this is "good for Nollywood film" as some larger entity ignores the fact that it's not good for the individuals who actually make the films, whose products are financially viable for them for only the period before pirates have spread them across the market

        If a larger market has been created, and you as the original product creator are not capturing a large enough segment of that market, the onus is on YOU to *improve your business model*. Blaming pirate is a cop out for people with no business sense.

         

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 29th, 2010 @ 12:46am

      Re:

      I think you're creating a logic that isn't there. Later in the article they talk about the "mating season"; that there is a two week window in which the producers have to make their money back on any given film before the pirates take over.


      Using a straight business model of just trying to sell the movie, sure, but watch for other business models to start to develop that are "piracy-proof."

      Then, they are "forced" to look for the next project in order to keep the money coming.


      In other words, the system encourages more content creation. Isn't that what we want?

      The pirates may have created the demand beyond the local market but they are the ones making the money off the sale of pirated films, not the people who created them.

      But they're creating a huge opportunity for those filmmakers to make money there in the future -- as is explained later in the article as well. Those films are now getting licensing and satellite deals in other countries because of their success and the demand for them.

      What wasn't noted in that article is that the Nigerian filmmakers and musicians have been ramping up their efforts to stop it and that it is a big deal over there.

      That's not a surprise, but is meaningless. Of course they want to stop it. It means they have to work harder, but it's short sighted of them.

      Here's another take from the website, Modern Ghana, "Kanayo Kanayo, an actor, blamed the NCC for the increase in piracy and the low quality of films produced in the Nigerian Film Industry. Kanayo divided people who work in the industry into two categories, the professionals and the prostitutes.

      Again, is it really a surprise that those who benefit from monopolies ask for monopolies?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    Michael Lockyear (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 5:36pm

    I would like to question the assertion that the Nigerian film industry is bigger than that of the US. It just doesn't make sense. It does not compute.

    The Sundance Film Festival ALONE receives nearly 2 000 US feature film submissions every year! (1 943 for 2011 - http://www.sundance.org/festival/article/2011-competition-film-announcement/ ) Other festivals, like Slamdance, receive thousands of submissions every year as well.

    If we take these into account, as well as the major studio releases, made for TV movies and direct-to-DVD movies it would be difficult to conclude that the US makes less movies than Nigeria.

    In terms of revenue it has been estimated that Nollywood is worth $200 - $300 million per year...in other words the equivalent of 1 US hit movie!

     

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      PaulT (profile), Dec 29th, 2010 @ 2:56am

      Re:

      "I would like to question the assertion that the Nigerian film industry is bigger than that of the US. It just doesn't make sense. It does not compute."

      It could be an exaggeration, but I get the feeling that it's not far off. It's not totally relevant, though. The larger point is that these films are being made without the overbearing copyright protections that Hollywood swears are necessary for any kind of production.

      It's also worth noting that the definition of "film" might be in question here - for example, Sundance includes a lot of documentaries. Are these being counted among the Nigerian figures? Do Nigerian TV stations also produce TV movies that aren't being counted? etc.

      "In terms of revenue it has been estimated that Nollywood is worth $200 - $300 million per year...in other words the equivalent of 1 US hit movie!"

      By definition, a movie that appeals largely to North America and Europe (as with most Hollywood productions) will make more money than those aimed at African audiences - the tickets are likely to be a *lot* more expensive in the developed world. I'd be interested in seeing admissions data rather than ticket revenue as a comparison.

      Just as Avatar isn't even in the top 10 of the most successful movies ever made, if you take into account ticket prices and inflation, I wonder what the most successful industry is based on ticket sales alone...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    faceless (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 7:07pm

    some of the movies are indeed pretty good.

    i've watched a dozen or so of them because my mother has a nigerian friend who sends them to her and i borrow some. they're better than Tyler Perry movies!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    chimere okoro, Dec 31st, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    Romantised Examples

    "The merchants curse the pirates, but in a way they are a blessing. Pirate gangs were probably Nollywood’s first exporters. They knew how to cross tricky borders and distribute goods across a disparate continent where vast tracts of land are inaccessible. Sometimes they filled empty bags with films when returning from an arms delivery. Often they used films to bribe bored guards at remote borders. The pirates created the pan-African market Mr Akudinobi now feeds."
    This quote is inappropriate and just plays up the 'CNN Africa' that many like me know does not exist. In Africa smugglers trade in banned textiles, petroleum products, electronics and cheap Chinese goods. Pirates just need a single copy of the movie on DVD or Video CD and the begin the process of mass production in back alleys and market industries its this simple.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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