News / Arts & Entertainment

Nigeria's Film Industry Enters S. African Market

The movie "Covenant of the Ancestors" is shot in the creeks of Sagbama near Yenagoa in the volatile Niger Delta region of Nigeria August 14, 2006.
The movie "Covenant of the Ancestors" is shot in the creeks of Sagbama near Yenagoa in the volatile Niger Delta region of Nigeria August 14, 2006.
Nigeria turns out full length feature films at a rate second to only India. Nollywood, the movie-making industry of Nigeria - known for shoe-string budgets and lax editing - is now maturing in quality and looking to expand its reach. iROKOtv, a website that streams movies and also a DVD distributor, has just entered the South African market - hoping to gain new interest, new customers and establish a strong African foothold for Nollywood films outside of Nigeria.

At the C.C. African Shop and Supermarket in central Johannesburg, there is a stand full of iROKO-branded Nollywood movies set up next to a heavily fortified cash register.

Charity Udeze, the shop’s owner, says iROKO approached her to sell its movies because the neighborhood has a lot of Nigerian immigrants and she keeps her shelves full of Nigerian beans and plantains not always found in Johannesburg shops.

"They came and approached us that we should advertise it and sell it for them…. They have sold many of it anyway. From here we have sold up to 50 pieces," she explained.

iROKO has offices in Lagos, London and New York - all places where it has a significant customer base. But now the company has turned its hopes to South Africa.

"In general yes, we want to grow everywhere," admitted Genevieve Dumorne, the director of the new Johannesburg office for iROKO.

"The continent is definitely our growth strategy, like where we would like to make an imprint, and then have people come to know our name. And also come to know our products…. So South Africa is one of the first places outside of Nigeria that we would like to grow that base."

iROKO opened offices in Johannesburg in January and launched a DVD distribution operation in June.

The Nigerian movie business, Nollywood, turns out more 1,000 movies a year. The movies are shot on small budgets and are notoriously lengthy, dealing with issues like greed, faith, relationships and crime.

The South African market isn't brand new to Nollywood movies, but the often pirated movies have usually been hawked by street vendors or streamed online through iffy websites.

Dumorne said that's where iROKO is hoping to make its name.

"What we did bring to the table is the higher level of quality," Dumorne noted. "If you go to our website it's not going to be some shady Nigerian website that you are afraid to watch because it will download malware or spam on your computer."

The company is following the models of the popular American sites Netflix and Hulu, which stream television shows and movies online.

But in order to do that, iROKO made some changes to its strategy.

South African Internet can be slow, expensive and unreliable. So the company is offering up DVDs of the movies usually set behind the site's paywall, in hopes of enticing South African customers to become Nollywood fans.

The DVDs are edited down from a three to five hour length to about two hours, something more digestible for someone new to the Nollywood phenomenon, Dumorne explained.

At CC African Shop, Udeze said the clientele isn't just Nigerian.

"South Africans, they love it a lot… Even if they are not Nigerians. South Africans, they love watching them, they do buy them," she said.

For Nollywood, that's good news.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."