Home MIXED GRILL CNN Marketplace Africa showcases how Nollywood is conquering European market

CNN Marketplace Africa showcases how Nollywood is conquering European market


Nigeria’s movie industry, better known as Nollywood is the second largest movie industry by volume after Bollywood. This week, ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’ reports that iRoko, the biggest digital distributor of Nollywood films has created a new cable channel in the United Kingdom.
The programme attends an event in London to celebrate the launch, meeting and speaking to actors and filmmakers on a significant night for Nigeria’s film industry.
The Nollywood industry is estimated to generate $600 million, with the UK one of the industry’s most lucrative markets.
Nollywood actor, Bobby Obodo explains why the expansion into the UK is such a significant moment for Nigerian film telling ‘Marketplace Africa’: “We finally have the opportunity to showcase our talent, our craft. What we do to the rest of the world, you know? We’ve kind of been sort of constricted just within Africa. Now, this is like a global outreach.”
‘Markeplace Africa’ reports that the Office of National Statistics states that between 2001 and 2011, the black African population in the UK has more than doubled from 0.8 percent to 1.8 percent.
‘Marketplace Africa’ also speaks to Jason Njoku, the founder of iRoko, Africa’s largest distributor of Nigerian movies, on the potential of Nollywood TV channels in other international markets.
Njoku tells the programme: “There are billions of black Africans in the world. That’s one billion. I think we haven’t even gone as far as we’d love to go on this journey to actually connect with those communities… First and foremost, it’s about grabbing people’s attention. Making them fall in love with the channel.”
‘Marketplace Africa’ also hears the type of content iRoko are looking to distribute: “Make sure the stories resonate, make sure we are grounded in the reality of a lot of people. A lot of people are suffering so it’s about bringing aspirational stories. Make people feel good about themselves. Give people that confidence that you know what, we’re black, our lives matter, and we can really push forward and do some amazing things.”
The programme learns that Njoku’s wife, Mary founded Rok Studios, a division of iRoko, in 2013 and helped launch the Nollywood Movies channel on British television.
Mary Njoku outlines the scale of the Nollywood Movies channel, which is being produced both in London and Lagos: “As of today, we have over 150 movies and counting, produced in house with our partners, and we have over 12 TV series and counting. So basically like 80 percent produced in-house.”
Speaking to other guests at the event, ‘Marketplace Africa’ learns that Jason and Mary Njoku’s enthusiasm is shared by many I the film industry.
Actor and presenter Ozzy Agu tells the programme: “It’s a great partnership that I think great things can come out of, especially with our African entertainment going to the world, coming to the UK. And going from the Internet to homes, as well. It’s fantastic.”
‘Marketplace Africa’ also speaks to filmmaker Desmond Elliott, who explains the long-term impact of growing into new international markets producing Nollywood movies, which have previously mostly focused on quantity rather than quality.
Elliott tells the programme: “It couldn’t have come at a better time because Nollywood is evolving and I’m so glad that this is an opportunity for us to be able to showcase what we have… We need a lot of funding to help in telling the stories better. The reason why we rush a lot in our films is because we have to meet up with budgets.”
‘Marketplace Africa’ reports that with long-term financing in place and a platform to showcase Nollywood’s talent and craft abroad, the Njokus hope that Nigeria’s film industry can eventually become a success in the global economy. 

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