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Entertainment business in Nigeria

Updated on January 13, 2010

Progress of the Entertainment Industry in Nigeria

Hi all, this article is written to show to the whole world how entertainment business has been growing since it became not only viable but also lucrative.

Nigeria’s entertainment industry is one of the world’s fastest growing with many opportunities springing up with the possibility of Nigerian entertainers being among the world’s best paid and remunerated professionals. Only a few years ago precisely before 2003, Nigeria’s entertainment industry existed only in name as most artistes could not hold on to something tangible to match their efforts. They lived in poverty and there was hardly any support or encouragement coming from the Nigerian public. However, that has changed of late, particularly following the international success story of one of Nigeria’s foremost music artistes 2face Idibia. Apart from music stars, local movie stars are also giving a good account of themselves globally with many of them becoming famous outside their country of origin.

Classification of entertainment in Nigeria

Nigeria’s entertainment industry comprises the very popular but not so well organized Nollywood industry, the music industry, stand-up comedy and other auxillary service based industry such as mechanical rights bodies and associations that look after artistes’ welfare.

Timeline of entertainment and show business in Nigeria

The past

In the past, Nigerian entertainers were among the poorest and least respected people in the country. It was common place to see many well known actors, musicians and comedians taking public transportation because they did not have cars of their own or live in crowded apartments because exclusive apartments were beyond their reach. This in part was because the entertainment industry had not become commercially viable due to a lack of professionalism both in the management and actual use process of producing artistic works for the public to consume.

In the 1960s to parts of the late 1980s, Nigeria’s leading entertainers with the exception of musicians and dancers were mostly employees of government with some of them being contractors. Their roles were limited to produce and participate in local television dramas, soaps and so on. Some of the notable dramas that were government sponsored include; behind the clouds, cockcrow at dawn, tales by moon light, village headmaster among others. The actors that starred in such soaps were famous and many of them are legendary in their own right. In this league of actors and actresses are (many known by their stage names) Madam Kaffo, Samanja, Jaguar, Zebrudaya, Jegede Shokoya among others. Today however the picture is different as the private sector takes charge of film and movie production.

Launch of Nollywood

The term Nollywood was not officially accepted until sometime in 2005 when a popular Television program “Inside Nollywood” began showing behind the scene clips and videos of many locally made movies. Today the term is used even officially. However since the successful airing of checkmate and ripples in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Nigerian film industry was born. With the successful launch and release of Nigeria’s first locally made movie in 1993, “living in bondage”, the birth of a film industry occurred. Today, on average movies are produced locally and in some cases exported to other countries were they are in high demand particularly other English speaking African countries and countries with a high population of Nigerians such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.

The Present time

The movie industry known as Nollywood is the local industry responsible for producing film and movie content. Although not well organized, there are efforts by regulatory bodies such as the national film and video censors board to make the industry more organized and responsive to the needs of the local market. There are several associations in the industry such as the association of film and movie producers of Nigeria as well as the actors’ guild of Nigeria. Top actors in the Nigerian film industry earn 7 digit incomes. Other players in the movie industry also include music video directors and producers.

Music industry

At the moment, the rave of the Nigerian entertainment industry, music in Nigeria doesn’t just serve the primary purpose of entertaining the public but it has also become a method of branding which many big corporate players especially drink makers, telecommunications companies among others are leveraging on. Other establishments in the music industry include the distributors and marketers, music producers, record labels, event planners and a host of other stake holders. Among the most successful music acts in Nigeria are 2face, Dbanj, 9ice, Banky W, Dare and Psquare who are in their own right are wealthy and influential.

Comedy and humor industry

The comedy and humor industry in Nigeria is made up of many talented and bold stand-up comics. Until recently it was thought that stand up comics were worthless or idle hands wanting to occupy their hands but the success of gurus such as Basket mouth, Alibaba, Julius Agwu, Tee A and others who are university graduates has altered the impression people have about stand up comedy. Some of these comedians are now so wealthy that they can afford to buy expensive antiques and jaw dropping automobiles.

The future

The future of entertainment is very bright with advanced technology, the promise of improved infrastructure and the enforcement of anti piracy laws and other laws that will encourage the growth of the music and film industry among other factors gradually taking a foothold. What’s more there is an endless supply of all manner of talents and as Nigerian music and films improve in communication, so too will the revenue potential and acceptance among Nigerians and other Africans. Nigeria at this rate is an emerging world entertainment power. Watch out!!!!


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