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Op-Ed

How piracy created and maintained Nollywood’s success

Jeffery Uzoukwu writes that piracy was actually good for Nigeria’s movie industry

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A man cycles past a billboard promoting the premier of Nollywood film "93 Days" in Lagos, Nigeria - AFP

If you ask anyone involved in the film business in Nigeria what the biggest challenges they face in the industry are, the answer would be a resounding word: piracy.

Several studies into the prevalence of piracy in the Nigerian movie industry have been reported, so much so that Nollywood has become synonymous with the dreaded P word. But, while piracy remains an issue in the industry that generates between $250 and $500 million per year, it is also a factor that contributed to not only the establishment of Nollywood, but also the maintenance of its success.

A brief history

It is no news that majority of Nigerians have been disenfranchised from formal networks of survival, a network which links them to the official world economy. Consequently, Nigerians have worked hard in creating a means of survival through the creation of informal networks. Simply put, formal networks refer to the extent to which industries are regulated, maintained and ruled by government and corporate bodies. Informal networks are industries that operate outside this sphere.

The disruption of formality to informality in the Nigerian film industry can be traced to the colonial days, where the British Colonial Film Unit created a marketing infrastructure in Africa. When the British government eventually left Nigeria in 1960, most infrastructures, including the film unit gradually collapsed because they did not maintain any link with Nigerian film industry, unlike their French counterparts in the Francophone African film industry.

The newly independent state created the national Nigerian Film Corporation. This struggled to stay afloat, thanks to the advent of technology – video cameras, DVDs, neo-liberal privatisation of the media landscape. The previously regulated media freed up to private bodies; government demonstrated a lack of interest in media, paving the way for piracy and unauthorised distribution network.

In a normal situation borne out of a functioning infrastructure, piracy is a criminal act, the unauthorised replication of an intellectual property. But in the case of Nollywood, it is a major factor that led to its success. What happens in a case of infrastructure’s failed promises of arranging and regulating? Piracy in this case, is an attempt at rearranging and reconfiguring these failed promises, because, as Nigerians say, ‘man must survive’. Piracy becomes a means of survival in a country where infrastructural irregularities is the norm.

Breaking the financial bondage

Kenneth Nnebue is a man famous for the classic Living in Bondage that pioneered Nollywood. Before venturing into filmmaking, Nnebue imported blank cassettes, which he used to pirate foreign films. He produced and distributed them locally through a system of mini shops and rental clubs. This informal networks of distribution of pirated films not only ensured that power and control were maintained by marketers, but it also sparked an idea in Nnebue.

After coming up with the story for Living in Bondage, he teamed up with fellow screenwriter Okechukwu Ogunjiofor and they presented the finished product to the director Chris Obi Rapu. Rapu was an ambitious filmmaker who wanted to shoot his own films. But this desire was crippled by the lack of funding and functioning film industry, because shooting on celluloid was, at the time, expensive.

Using the same business model as his pirated films, Nnebue set sail to Taiwan, where he purchased thousands of blank VHS tapes, which was used in making the film. It is true that a film made cheaply lacks in the quality of the finished product, but this did not impede Rapu’s desire to make his own film, nor did it restrict Nnebue’s commercial venture, his desire to get rich quick. It comes as no surprise then, that the film itself presents these themes, themes that explore the idea of quick fortune, of grass to grace, of the consequences attached to these fortunes. It is ultimately a film about the extent to which humans are willing to go for the acquisition of wealth and societal status. The plot is simple: wretched Andy uses his wife for money ritual, whereupon he is made to face the consequences.

Living in Bondage was popular amongst Nigerians not only because of its escapist themes, but also because it was the first film to offer an alternative to cinema culture with its ‘direct to VHS’ model. At a time of political and financial uncertainties in Nigeria, cinemas and cinema going culture died, permitting a retreat into the private sphere – the home. Nigerians had little choice but to embrace the only form of film entertainment available to them.

In this light, Living in Bondage became a bestseller when it was released in VHS. Even though it was shot entirely in Igbo language, it sold over 500,000 copies, kick-starting Kenneth Nnebue’s successful film career. He would go on to write and produce Glamour Girls, another best seller which was also shot in VHS. This form of filmmaking, release, marketing and distribution would inspire other budding filmmakers, or so to speak, business women and men, who saw filmmaking as a means of making quick money. It would carry on to the 21st century, building a name for itself, so that Nollywood would rank amongst the three biggest film industry in the world, including Bollywood and Hollywood.

Another idea:

If you’re looking for artistic African films, Nollywood is not the place for you. Look to Francophone African films.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News Central’s editorial stance.


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Op-Ed

Wanna meet your match? 5 best makeup tips to keep you winning

Here are some recommendations that could come in handy when you go makeup shopping, unsupervised

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Wanna Meet Your match? Use These Unbeatable Tips | News Central TV
Photo credit: House of Tara International

One of the most difficult things for women when getting their makeup (when there are no makeup tips) done by themselves is getting their foundation shades right.

Most times, the shade appears correct but the texture is all wrong, leaving them with a ‘cakey’ finish or simply a dripping hot mess! Sometimes, it oxidizes during the day and leaves an ashy shade.

It’s almost like we never win! Well, we spoke to some makeup artists to get tips that would save you from this recurring facial misadventure.

5 Best Makeup Tips

Here are some recommendations that could come in handy when you go makeup shopping, unsupervised.

1. Know your skin type

Wanna Meet Your match? Use These Unbeatable Tips | News Central TV
Photo credit: House of Tara

Sometimes, your skin can be oily, dry or a combination of both. Whilst knowing your skin type will not automatically help you pick your right shade, it would help you know the right foundation type for you.

To narrow down your options:

  • Choose cream or stick foundation if you have dry skin
  • Choose a matte finish or oil-free liquid or powder foundation if you have oily skin.
  • Choose a powder foundation if you have combination skin
  • Choose a foundation that offers full or medium coverage if you have an uneven complexion and want to cover most of your skin

2. Test under natural light

Find a door or window to see how the foundation holds up in daylight. Sometimes, what you see isn’t always what you get.

3. Test before buying

Wanna Meet Your match? Use These Unbeatable Tips | News Central TV
Photo credit: House of Tara

Choose the foundation shade that looks closest to your skin tone. Test by swathing on your jawline (it is the closest to your natural tone and would show you better how the foundation matches against your neck).

The idea here is to find one that blends in perfectly, not one that you can easily see.

The best foundation will disappear into your skin and provide an even canvas for your other makeup application.

4. If it’s broken (or wrong), fix it – of the very essential makeup tips

Some of us have multiple bottles of wrong shades of foundation- too light or too dark. Don’t throw them away because you now know the shade is wrong. Fix it and use it!

When it is too light, customize to get your right shade by mixing the foundation with a darker shade of concealer, foundation or powder.

When it is too dark, mix with a lighter shade.

5. Choose a Beauty Store that has artists or beauty experts

They would help you narrow down your options and even teach you some cool tricks.

Some other helpful makeup tips:

  • Change makeup sponges regularly if you use them to apply foundation because they can harbour germs and bacteria.
  • Always remove makeup and apply moisturizer before bed. Your skin will repair itself when you sleep.
Wanna Meet Your match? Use These Unbeatable Tips | News Central TV
Photo credit: House of Tara

There are over 21 shades of foundation and 15 shades of powder to choose between.

Hopefully, with our tips and tricks, you would find your match in this mix and maze of shades.

Now you never have to use your face as a permanent testing ground. Find your match and make your move.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News Central TV’s editorial stance.

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All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

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Op-Ed

Nigeria’s economy: Preview of the week ahead

This week’s major risk event will be Thursday’s annual meeting at Wyoming where leaders from major central banks gather

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Nigeria's economy: Preview of the week ahead | News Central TV
(File photo)

Lingering concerns over a global recession will continue influencing market sentiment in the week ahead, with world equities, emerging markets and riskier currencies in the direct firing line.

Although treasury yields are recovering from record lows, the movements in bond markets are poised to be closely monitored by investors.

In Nigeria, there will be a strong focus on the second-quarter GDP report which should provide fresh insight into the health of the Nigerian economy.

A disappointing figure is seen fuelling expectations over the Central Bank of Nigeria cutting interest rates. Markets are predicting growth of 1.8% during the second quarter of 2019.

READ: Will oil prices help or harm Nigeria’s economy in Q3?

Across the Atlantic, Dollar traders will be closely looking at July’s FOMC minutes for clues on the future pace of rate cuts. Market expectations over a September rate should rise if the minutes are presented with a dovish touch.

However, some are still questioning whether the Fed will move forward with further rate cuts given how US retail sales grew 0.7% in July and the latest job report suggested moderate growth. 

This week’s major risk event will be Thursday’s annual meeting at Wyoming where leaders from major central banks gather. If major central banks express a readiness to cut interest rates further and implement new quantitative easing programs, the mood across markets has the potential to improve.

READ: Gold: Positioned to thrive in low-interest-rate environment

Appetite towards Gold will be influenced by trade developments, the Dollar’s valuation and global growth concerns. The precious metal could still hit $1550 once bulls can secure control above $1530.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News Central TV’s editorial stance.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

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Op-Ed

Gold: Positioned to thrive in low-interest-rate environment

Rising concerns surrounding the health of the global economy is another one of the engines that will help drive Gold prices

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Gold: Positioned to thrive in low-interest-rate environment

The investment case for Gold is set to remain robust as speculation mounts that major central banks will ease monetary policy in an effort to counter a global economic downturn.

The yellow metal shone with extreme intensity during the second quarter of 2019, rallying roughly 9 per cent to levels not seen above $1,435 in over six years, thanks to an environment that included ongoing global growth concerns, geo-politics, trade tensions and Dollar weakness.

Weak macro data, which reflects downward revisions in global growth over the past 12 months, is prompting a handful of central banks including the European Central Bank (ECB), Federal Reserve (Fed) and Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to signal a willingness to ease monetary policy and increase economic stimulus to support growth.

In a low-interest-rate environment filled with chronic uncertainty, Gold can climb another 5 per cent over the course of Q3 – claiming the title as one of the high flyers among safe-haven assets, in competition with the Yen. 

Will Gold’s fortunes hang on the Fed’s actions?

Will Gold’s fortunes hang on the Fed’s actions?

What investors need to watch as the second half of the trading year gets underway are the actions of the Federal Reserve. Will the US central bank confirm market expectations and cut interest rates as early as July? If it fails to do so, Gold risks rapidly surrendering its second-quarter surge.

Essentially, if the Fed sits on its hands beyond July, profits will be taken from the table on the $120+ rally that transpired in Gold throughout June. 

Unfavourable global conditions to keep Gold in fashion

Rising concerns surrounding the health of the global economy is another one of the engines that will help drive Gold prices.

Although a sense of optimism has returned after the Trump-Xi Jinping meeting at G20 ended in a trade truce on tariffs, it does not change the reality that global growth is decelerating.

The World Bank recently downgraded it’s 2019 world growth forecast to 2.6 per cent from 2.9 per cent and if the recent disappointing PMI releases across the manufacturing sectors in Europe, China and the United States are anything to go by, global growth is moving towards the lower bound of 2 per cent as the decade draws to a close.

Warning signals over potential cracks in the largest economy in the world, indications of tepid growth in the EU, disappointing data from China’s manufacturing sector and lacklustre growth in the United Kingdom amid Brexit-induced uncertainties are likely to sweeten appetite for safe-haven assets. 

It’s all about central bank stimulus and lower yields 

In the longer term, Gold should also find support from lower treasury yields, especially if the 10-year treasury dips below 2 per cent again as persistent growth fears and trade developments result in lower interest rates across the globe.

While the outlook for the precious metal points to the upside, potential roadblocks on the horizon include easing trade tensions and signs of global growth stabilizing. Both outcomes would pose a challenge to buyers.

What do higher Gold prices mean for African markets?

What do higher Gold prices mean for African markets?

Gold-producing nations on the continent, like South Africa and Ghana will certainly benefit from higher prices.

Economic conditions in Africa’s most industrialised economy remain unfavourable thanks to a tornado of domestic and external risks. Economic growth contracted by 3.2 per cent during the first quarter of 2019 thanks to a sharp decline in manufacturing, agriculture and mining.

Given how Gold remains one of South Africa’s most valuable exports, rising Gold prices have the potential to stimulate growth – especially when factoring in how exports account for roughly 30 per cent of GDP.

Economic growth in Ghana remains robust with GDP expanding 6.7 per cent during the first quarter of 2019. With Ghana claiming the title of Africa’s top Gold producer, higher prices will be supportive of the mining sector which expanded 20.9 per cent in Q1.

When adding to the fact that roughly 5.7 per cent of Ghana’s GDP and 40 per cent of gross foreign earnings are acquired from the mining sector, Gold’s bullish outlook brightens Ghana’s growth prospects.

Gold bulls to dream big and reach for the stars 

Taking a look at the technical picture, Gold remains firmly bullish on the monthly charts as there have been consistent higher highs and higher lows.

Prices have scope to push higher on the monthly charts should $1360 prove to be reliable support.

For as long as bulls are able to defend $1360, there should be enough confidence to challenge $1430 and $1500 – a level not seen since April 2013. Alternatively, a decline back below $1360 will most likely swing open the doors towards $1324 and $1300, respectively.

This bullish setup becomes invalidated if prices find comfort below $1300.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News Central TV’s editorial stance.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

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