This is the second and final part of the series on Nollywood and Piracy. Part 1 was posted last week and can be found here.
So, where was I? Yes, I was talking about silly people posting brand new movies on youtube, just to get a few cheap thank yous while the producers suffer. But that is not the half of it. I have also come across bloggers who post brand new movies just to attract traffic to their site. Initially, I thought people did things like that out of ignorance. But I have since changed my mind. They don't post Hollywood movies. They don't even post Tyler Perry movies. They know they could get into all kinds of trouble doing that. So they try to bankrupt a growing industry to satisfy the desires of a few (actually very many) cheap consumers.
Alright, moving on to the fourth group of people killing the industry:
IV)Those would be the cheap consumers I was just writing about. It is very unfortunate, but many of our people don't like to spend money to support anyone doing anything. Make we talk true jo. Our people like their stuff as free as possible.
An anecdote: When Tade Ogidan made his "OGD all Stars Jamz" ÔÇô the dvd cd combo featuring a galaxy of Nigerian stars making sonorous music or trying to (*ahem* Ramsey Nouah *ahem*), the combo was selling for $10. Pretty reasonable for a dvd and cd combo right? Problem was that the product was shamelessly pirated and then sold for half the price. One of the legitimate sellers told me that they were selling it at a Nigerian event, and that people would buy from them, discover that someone was selling it for half price down the road (even if pirated) come and return the original, and go buy a pirated copy. Yes ke. Das rite. And all this youtubing and free uploading that we are complaining about sef, is it not our people encouraging it? Check under any trailer of any Nigerian movie on youtube, you will always find some cheap consumer begging for the full movie to be uploaded ÔÇô even if the movie is widely available. And yet the whole thing is illogical ÔÇô these are the same people who complain about the poor quality of movies. Our people say : soup wey sweet, na money kill am. How can they make better movies when you insist on watching the movies for free?
Na real wah!
So the problem is complicated. Myopic and uncreative producers + blood sucking pirates + idiotic youtubers + cheap consumers = bad nollywood movies.
Its not rocket science my people. If you want Nollywood to progress, we must as a people reject pirated products, either in Nigeria or abroad. And please, our producers, be a little more proactive and creative in making the movies available, you hia? Ehn? Using Ebay or Amazon is not that hard, believe me. Or stream your movies on your own websites. Or sell on your website. For example, Tyler Perry's movies are on Netflix, in Walmart, and in theatres. And yet, if you go to his website, his movies are available there too. Yes, his stuff is widely available, so that pirates can't really find any gaps in distribution to exploit (okay fine, they still pirate his stuff, but at least, he is able to make some money first).
So what am I saying? There is no hope for Nigerian movie producers? Weeeelll, change is acoming people. There is hope!! It turns out that if you are willing to invest in making a good movie, Nigerians are willing to go to the cinema to see it. Yes, the cinema culture is coming back ÔÇô at least in Lagos, and some of our better local producers are benefiting from it.
For instance, I hear that Stephanie Okereke has been making a fistful of money with her movie Through the glass. Usually, movie theaters in Nigeria show mostly foreign movies, and snob all but the best Nigerian movies. Actually, they had to be wooed and persuaded (paid actually if the whispers are true) to show the better movies. I am guessing Steph's passed the test and really glad that the gamble paid off. Homegirl is making a ton money! By the time it finally comes out on dvd, the pirates can no longer destroy her.
Kunle Afolayan is also following the same path with his movie Araromire, which I hear is really darned good. Actually, in addition to showing the movie in Nigerian theaters, he has also been premiering the movie all over Africa, the US and Europe. See details on the first US premier slated for next weekend here. Once again, he can make his cool money before releasing the movie on dvd. Good for him.
So is cinema the solution to Nollywood's woes? This reporter seems to think so. Okay, so the article is hyperbolic, and not particularly well written, but it does send a message ÔÇô that there might be a good return to making high quality movies after all. Hopefully the market responds appropriately ÔÇô encouraging good movies like Kunle's and Steph's while leading to the sidelining of the more embarrassing Nolly products. We can only hope!
Other producers are also changing up their strategy For instance, Emem Isong, speaking on her new movie guilty pleasures in this interview explains why she had it released in the US first.
BA: I understand Guilty Pleasures has already been released in America.
Emem: That doesn't matter. It doesn't affect sales in Nigeria. Remember we are over 120 millionÔÇŽsome say 150 million. At least a fraction of that will buy or watch the film.
BA: why did you decide to release it in America first?
Emem: Because when you release it here, people carry it over there and pirate it. So we decided to go one step over the pirates and release it there first, before doing it here.
BA: So will the film be released straight to dvd like the others?
Emem: No, this one will be shown in the cinemas, precisely in SilverBird Cinemas in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Accra then it will be released on dvd.
I am not sure if that is a good policy or not. The movie has already been extensively pirated, so she is going to have to come up with a better plan than that. Somebody has to come up with a more organized plan for distributing movies in the diaspora. No way should all that revenue be going to people who had nothing to do with the creation of the movie.
I close with some more ÔÇścheery' news: I hear that the Chinese are joining the piracy party. They are now selling dvds that hold up to as many as 80 movies at a time. Heheheh! On the streets of Lagos o. Yes ke, one disc, 80 movies, and the thing sells for less than one original movie. I hear even the pirates are terrified by this new development. Na wah o! Some more on that subject here.
So what have we learned? We are all killing the industry. As much as lies with you, buy an original movie. Please. Support those who put in all that work. And if you think a product is bad, then respond by ignoring, not be pirating it. The principle is also same for the music industy . A lot of Naija music is now available on itunes and amazon. Stop downloading for free. Support the artistes!
Movie Recommendation: Now that I have fully introduced the industry, I am going to start closing my articles by introducing you to some of the better Nigerian movies out there. My first movie recommendation is the movie 30 days. I recommend this movie with this article because 30 days is a movie that actually largely escaped being pirated ÔÇô mostly because it was widely unavailable. It was only sold via the movie web site. I think it was also the movie that re-introduced the premiere system to Nigerian cinema ÔÇô it was premiered in London, the US and Lagos before being released on dvd. I have always wondered if they made their money back. But anyways, far as I know, it's still available via the site. For a full review of the movie and information on where you can get it, check here.