Nigeria Now Makes More Films Than Hollywood

Nigeria’s film industry—it’s called Nollywood—is exploding in popularity and churning out thousands of low-budget flicks every year. Nollywood production studios released more than 2,000 films in 2013, making it the second-largest film industry in the world, behind India’s Bollywood.

Nollywood’s films are known more for their cheap budgets and quick turnarounds than their quality. According to ThisIsNollywood.com, the average production “takes just 10 days and costs approximately $15,000.” Nigeria’s government says more than 500,000 people work in the industry.

Nollywood is also moving online. One of the country’s fast-growing startups, iROKOTV, is essentially a Nigerian Netflix. In the last year, the site has attracted thousands of users, and it claims to be the world’s largest distributor of African content online. Nollywood is also huge on YouTube—NollywoodTV, a popular YouTube channel, has over 140,00 subscribers.

Nigeria doesn’t have nearly as many theaters as the U.S., so most of these films are released on DVDs sold in “video parlors.” There are about 200,000 of these shops across the country.

The impact on Nigeria’s economy is huge. For the first time, Nigeria’s government began in 2014 to include Nollywood as an official line item on the country’s GDP. As The Sunday Independent noted earlier this year, Nollywood now represents 1.4 percent of the country’s GDP.

The paper added, “Perhaps the most remarkable part of the Nigerian GDP drama is the story of Nollywood.”

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