Nollywood, the Nigerian movie industry has seen a number of progress and breakthroughs in the past few years but none can be said to have equaled the latest developments— Netflix announcing its presence in Nigeria, and the contract with Mo Abudu, a prolific Nigerian movie producer and media entrepreneur. The industry was said to have emerged in the 1960s when the first movies were released, and there was no major breakthrough until the late 1990s when the industry started to take advantage of digital technology and internet distribution.
Mo Abudu announced the partnership between Netflix and her production company, Ebony Life TV. Quite a number of Nigerians have expressed their excitement at the news, and are anticipating the adoption of Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, Wole Soyinka’s Death and The King’s Horseman and some other Netflix originals as announced.
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives will be the first adapted movie to hit Netflix but the topic of contemplation is “Who Are The Cast?” Casting is a very important factor in filming, and essential at portraying the characters in the best possible way. Mo Abudu took to her social media channels to ask for suggestions on casting. Sola Shobowale and Rachel Oniga were recurring names to play the roles of Baba Segi’s Wives while some other reactions were saying they were tired of seeing those faces over and over again on their screens.
Netflix will be bringing creativity to our screen as recent movies have shown cramped creativity, especially in their choices of storyline, plots, and themes. Nollywood has shoved movies with similar plots and recurring themes down our throats in recent times, and this is evident in movies like The Wedding Party, Merry Men and several other recent releases overusing the wedding theme. We saw high production quality and low content, overrated movies and now, the adaptation of classic literary works means a lot for Nollywood.
This is a welcome development to the Nigerian entertainment space as it poses a lot of benefits to Nollywood, as it is said to be the second-largest employer in Nigeria after Agriculture. It helps solve several problems, the most persistent of all, piracy. Over the years, the industry has lost a huge amount of money at the end of the distribution chain to piracy-related issues. It allows for creative freedom, and proper copyright process. This benefit is however not limited to new productions. Netflix also buys the license to feature previously released movies on its streaming platform. As the recent contract with Ebony Life TV also confirms Netflix’s readiness to work with the production of Nigerian movie productions. Nigerians are now looking forward to more high production movies, also, that Netflix promises wider visibility and increased viewership, and consequently more return benefits to casts and crews of Nollywood. Better promotions and speculations suggest that the future is bright for Nollywood.
However, Netflix is not the first platform to have made this move. Iroko TV, another streaming platform that started in 2011 employs an almost similar approach but Netflix is known for its aggressive business strategies and it has the resources to protect its business and legal interest. This also may have its downside on Nollywood, as there rumoured inefficiencies, implying that Netflix investment may be a waste but that’s not what this post is about. Leave your comments below if you’ll like to read a post on the downsides of Netflix in Nigeria.