Is the heavenly reward no longer worth waiting for?Over the years, the value and importance of stories have continued to increase as more people search for new experiences. For each story told through song, film, or dance , cultures have been uplifted and the economy of nations boosted even as new stars are born.

This phenomenon is very well documented in the Korean Wave, which is often referred to as Hallyu. Hallyu describes the South Korean Government’s use of South Korean cultural content as a tool to connect more with the rest of the world, entertain it, earn from it and ultimately influence it. The government’s plan included elements like the set-up of a Cultural Content Office with a sizable budget to cover talent training, investment in broadband technology within the country to grow viewership and a coordinated distribution plan that birthed embassy-like centers in different countries of the world to promote Korean culture.

The impact of all these is clearly felt in the growing contribution of tourism to the country’s economy, an over $1billion local box office scene, prominence of boy bands like Bangtan Boys, better known as BTS and movies like Parasite, and a K-pop ecosystem with fans in almost every country of the world.

Today, Nigeria stands where South Korea stood over 20 years ago, but with some good grounds already covered.

The first and most prominent sign of Nigeria’s closeness to global content glory is Nollywood, its film industry which supersedes Hollywood in annual production volume, with about 2,500 movies produced per year as stated in 2020 by the International Trade Administration. This places it at second globally, only behind India’s Bollywood.

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The industry, which from a recent PwC report will hugely contribute to a projected $10billion Nigerian Entertainment and Media Industry come 2023, has been an ever-evolving one led by veterans and excellence-hungry newbies, interpreting scripts of unique stories about the world’s most populous black nation and those of other African countries, supported by a daily improving distribution network.

In 1992 when Nollywood released its first home video Living in Bondage, it birthed the now prominent distribution hubs in Alaba, Onitsha and Aba, but by 2018 when it experienced one of its largest and most recent booms in revenue, an almost 8% growth rate, major distribution was now being driven by Pay TV, specifically by industry leader – DStv Nigeria.

DStv is a Direct-To-Home (DTH) satellite platform from MultiChoice Africa, a video entertainment provider which started in 1994. Unlike the South Korean Government which deployed culture offices around the world, with presence now in 25 countries and an Africa office, MultiChoice, which is a privately owned company distributes content such as sports, local shows, international movies and documentaries directly to subscribed homes in 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the International Trade Administration, In 2018, this model of content consumption accounted for 72.26% of Nigeria’s total TV and video market revenue, thus making it an all important part of Nollywood’s journey to greatness. Over the years, the platform has given Nollywood’s diverse storytelling streams life, dedicating several channels on its Pay TV plans catering to Nollywood content, from the tribal content hubs whose content appear on Africa Magic Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba to the more centralized hub with shows and movies produced in English readily available on other Africa Magic channels as well ROK channels.

This masterstroke move has helped the Nigerian film industry establish continental relevance, with most of its actors and films becoming reference points for African pop culture, even internet meme-culture.

Exploring Nigeria’s Potential Of Becoming The Content Capital Of The World- Vanguard

Over the years, the value and importance of stories have continued to increase as more people search for new experiences. For each story told through song, film, or dance , cultures have been uplifted and the economy of nations boosted even as new stars are born.

This phenomenon is very well documented in the Korean Wave, which is often referred to as Hallyu. Hallyu describes the South Korean Government’s use of South Korean cultural content as a tool to connect more with the rest of the world, entertain it, earn from it and ultimately influence it. The government’s plan included elements like the set-up of a Cultural Content Office with a sizable budget to cover talent training, investment in broadband technology within the country to grow viewership and a coordinated distribution plan that birthed embassy-like centers in different countries of the world to promote Korean culture.

The impact of all these is clearly felt in the growing contribution of tourism to the country’s economy, an over $1billion local box office scene, prominence of boy bands like Bangtan Boys, better known as BTS and movies like Parasite, and a K-pop ecosystem with fans in almost every country of the world.

Today, Nigeria stands where South Korea stood over 20 years ago, but with some good grounds already covered.

The first and most prominent sign of Nigeria’s closeness to global content glory is Nollywood, its film industry which supersedes Hollywood in annual production volume, with about 2,500 movies produced per year as stated in 2020 by the International Trade Administration. This places it at second globally, only behind India’s Bollywood. The industry, which from a recent PwC report will hugely contribute to a projected $10billion Nigerian Entertainment and Media Industry come 2023, has been an ever-evolving one led by veterans and excellence-hungry newbies, interpreting scripts of unique stories about the world’s most populous black nation and those of other African countries, supported by a daily improving distribution network.

In 1992 when Nollywood released its first home video Living in Bondage, it birthed the now prominent distribution hubs in Alaba, Onitsha and Aba, but by 2018 when it experienced one of its largest and most recent booms in revenue, an almost 8% growth rate, major distribution was now being driven by Pay TV, specifically by industry leader – DStv Nigeria.

DStv is a Direct-To-Home (DTH) satellite platform from MultiChoice Africa, a video entertainment provider which started in 1994. Unlike the South Korean Government which deployed culture offices around the world, with presence now in 25 countries and an Africa office, MultiChoice, which is a privately owned company distributes content such as sports, local shows, international movies and documentaries directly to subscribed homes in 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the International Trade Administration, In 2018, this model of content consumption accounted for 72.26% of Nigeria’s total TV and video market revenue, thus making it an all important part of Nollywood’s journey to greatness. Over the years, the platform has given Nollywood’s diverse storytelling streams life, dedicating several channels on its Pay TV plans catering to Nollywood content, from the tribal content hubs whose content appear on Africa Magic Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba to the more centralized hub with shows and movies produced in English readily available on other Africa Magic channels as well ROK channels.

This masterstroke move has helped the Nigerian film industry establish continental relevance, with most of its actors and films becoming reference points for African pop culture, even internet meme-culture. But all of these remain a piece of what the company’s presence has done for Nigeria’s emergence in the content and culture space.

In 2018, the company began investing in movie professionals through the Multichoice Talent Factory (MTF). The platform runs different programs including a 12-month fully-funded training program where admitted talents are taken through hands-on classes in cinematography, editing, audio production and storytelling. 60 people are selected yearly, and Nigeria is the selected training hub for West Africa. There are also the MTF Masterclasses where industry professionals are taught unique strategies by industry experts and the MTF Online Classes that provides open access to film creatives to keep learning.

While this is a legacy project for DStv Nigeria’s parent company, MultiChoice, the fruits are already being reaped. In the last couple of years, there has been a huge leap in the quality of stories being told, the way these stories are delivered and the appeal they have on the eyes. The improvement in talent quality for an industry like Nollywood has also translated into more investment for higher budget movies as investors are now almost assured of good returns which would only continue to grow as the industry continues on its path of excellence.

Fortunately, Nigerian content is not only being shared with the world through film but songs as well. In fact, the Nigerian music scene is almost at par with Nollywood, forming a tag team that has experienced a symbiotic relationship the country and continent are thankful for. Nigerian artistes who have carried the afrobeats sound to the nooks and crannies of the world, often utilize their lyrical content for stories about their life experiences and spend their music video budgets further showcasing Nigerian history and current stories to a global audience. In some other cases, they make acting crossovers which provide movie producers a casting boost that often increases revenue and extends reach for Nigerian stories.

Luckily, the Nigerian entertainment scene goes beyond just music and films. The real beauty and strength of Nigerian content lies in the many untold stories and in the different forms available for it. There are the stories told only through fashion, some others, very personal and unique, best told on live TV via reality shows, and many more which are experienced through the pens of everyday people. There is also the place for synergy of all these parts, which DStv Nigeria has shown with the Big Brother franchise. BBNaija – a revenue powerhouse delivering everything from new stars to evergreen content.

For all that Nigerian film and music has achieved, both content forms are only just forerunners, opening the door for more content to flow. The impact both have had is undeniable and the distribution structure around it, impressive. What this means for future creators and whatever format of expression they pick is simply a highway to global dominance.

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