BY MICHAEL CHIMA EKENYERENGOZI
The Nigerian film industry which comprises of Nollywood and Kannywood is estimated to be worth more than US$ 590 million annually; producing over 2, 400 movies annually and employing more than 1, 000, 000 people every year. But there are no statistics to confirm these reports, because they are not facts.
Only few of the active practitioners in Nollywood and Kannywood are comfortable.
The biggest problem and threat to the film industry is movie piracy. Movie piracy is a global crime that started even before the emergence of the Nigerian film industry. Piracy of movies has become worse with the development of new formats for film distribution using digital technologies of CDs, DVDs, VODs and online streaming platforms. And the pirates are not invisible, but they have become invincible. They have refused to stop their crimes all over the world. An wherever they cannot operate openly, they continue to flourish underground.
Movie piracy is worse in Nigeria, because the pirates operate with brazen impunity and are more powerful than both the filmmakers and film distributors. In fact, the filmmakers are afraid of the risks of confronting them. That is why the pirates are the biggest and largest distributors of movies in Nigeria with their vendors on every street and bus stop and also on the internet. And they continue to thrive, because they offer more movies at cheaper prices to the consumers than the filmmakers and their distributors. They can package dozens of counterfeit movies and TV series in one single DVD for less than US$1 or N150 when the original movies are selling for more than US$200 for one title.
There is no way you can talk about film distribution without talking about movie piracy. The tragedy of piracy in Nigeria is the fact that even the filmmakers, music producers, artistes, distributors, exhibitors and vendors are all consumers of pirated movies, music recordings or books online and offline. You will see the film producer cursing pirates of his or her movie going around the corner of the street to buy pirated music tapes or download the songs online. The musician or singer whining about pirates selling his songs illegally will turn around to buy pirated movies or download them from unauthorized websites.Bootlegging is also common in the Nigerian music industry. In fact, upcoming acts patronize the pirates to include their songs in pirated CDs and DVDs or mix-tapes to make them popular. Almost everyone has become entangled in the vicious circle of piracy. And this is the nightmare of every film distributor in every part of the world.
We might as well negotiate with the pirates of movies and songs and reach a mutual agreement with them for the general distribution of our movies and songs.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”.
~ Sun Tzu in “The Art of War”
The pirates have outnumbered the watchdogs. If you don’t believe that, ask the watchdogs. They’ve been toiling in vain to stem the onslaught of viewers flocking to free streaming websites in order to enjoy the latest episodes of “Game of Thrones”, “30 Rock” or “Dexter.” The watchdogs can’t possibly keep up—they’re overrun like a hobbled survivors fleeing a horde of zombies on AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
~ Karsten Strauss Forbes Staff A journalist covering entrepreneurs, technology & business.http://www.forbes.
com/sites/karstenstrauss/2013/ 03/06/tv-and-film-piracy- threatening-an-industry/
Almost 30% of Britons are now watching movies illegally online or buying counterfeit DVDs, costing the industry £500m a year
film/2014/jul/17/digital- piracy-film-online- counterfeit-dvds
Nigerian filmmakers need accountable and responsible film distributors who are honest and transparent and are not partners in crime with the pirates. If you give your movie to a film distributor, then you should also make sure that the film distributor will be responsible for the safety of the movie from the film distribution office to the cinema or from the street to the internet.
Can the film distributor be trusted?
There is no successful film distribution without film promotion.
Silverbird Film Distribution has the best publicity for movies, because the company is owned by the biggest independent entertainment corporation in West Africa, the Silverbird Group with STV national and international TV network and Rhythm FM radio stations and the largest West African cinema chain, the Silverbird Cinemas with 69 screens so far.
Followed by Silverbird Film Distribution is Blue Pictures Film Distribution with the best film distribution website in Nigeria and has engaged the best PR and media agencies for marketing and publicity of movies. Blue Pictures recently engaged one of the foremost Nigerian social media news and information companies, IDPN Limited that is also promoting Apple, GTBank, Emirates, P&G and other big brands and known internationally by all the leading filmmakers, film distributors and studios in the world. The other film distribution companies need to revamp their websites and engage world class PR and marketing agencies.
- Silverbird Film Distribution, http://www.silverbirdgroup.
com/film-distribution, http:// silverbirdfilmdistribution. com/about
- Blue Pictures Film Distribution, http://bluepicturesng.com/
- FilmOne Distribution is owned by FilmHouse Cinemas,http://www.filmhouseng.com/
- Golden Effects Pictures, http://goldeneffectspictures.
- Metro Classic Pictures, http://twentyten.com.ng/
- Xandria Distributions – http://xandriaproductions.com/
- Peculiar Communications, http://www.
- The Audrey Silva Company (TASC), https://www.facebook.com/
TheAudreySilvaCompany/, https://twitter.com/ AudreySilvaNG
- G-Media Film Distribution
- Nollywood Distributions