By now the word “Hollywood” needs no description. And thanks to a steady stream of crossover movie stars and themes, the Indian equivalent, “Bollywood” is on its way to becoming a household name. But now there’s “Nollywood.” Say what? Nollywood, you ask. It turns out that Nollywood goes where the mainstream movie world doesn’t. It’s niche marketing in the most elemental sense. Billed in some circles as the third largest film industry in the world, Nollywood, a $250 million a year industry is the finest in Nigerian film making. Yes, that Nigeria, the one with a petroleum industry that supplies 10 percent of our oil while also keeping our e-mail accounts busy with mail. You know the ones, letters promising to share millions of hidden funds. It is said that Nollywood started with someone who had thousands of blank tapes without a purpose. Isn’t that how most entrepreneurs get started?
A report by technology journalist, Sarah Lacy, indicates that Nollywood may not care so much about the art of cinema as the art of making stuff that Nigerians want to watch with characters that Nigerian people recognize. And in the world of business, it makes sense. Figure out a void and fill it. While a Hollywood producer might seek out millions in funding for a movie, Nollywood uses modern day, digital technology to operate on a miniscule fraction of that. Lacy reported on one movie that cost $6,500 and generated gross sales of 100 times that. The movies aren’t shown in megaplexes anywhere. Instead they’re distributed on DVDs. Piracy is high but demand is also high as Nigeria has 150 million people – 50 million officially unemployed. Look Hollywood, Nollywood does it cheaper.
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