Major studios around the world are trying to figure out how to make money from movies online. I am sure that major studios are turning their ears toward Nigeria of all places. Why? A Nigerian tech business man claims to have developed the answer to making an impressive profit by streaming movies online.
Jason Njoku is the managing director of an online entertainment company called Nollywood Love. Based in Lagos, the company aims to bring the favorite of Nigeria’s “Nollywood” cinema to all of Africa and the global audience.
Last December, Nollywood Love started purchasing the rights to Nollywood movies and embedding them on a dedicated YouTube channel for viewing. Njoku told CNN, “I was swept up with this wave of amazing content, which when I looked at ways to actually consume it, there wasn’t any — the legal distribution infrastructure just wasn’t there, so I thought let me just try it and add some value.”
Njoku’s company is doing quite well and employs over 40 people with movies attracting over 2.5 million views around the world each week. Advertising before the films predicts a profit of $1 million in its first full operational year.
The formula for its success is really quite simple. Njoku told CNN that they try to keep it as non-intrusive as possible, so they explain to people that you just have to watch a few ads to watch the whole movie. The selling of ad space alone brought profits to Nollywood Love after just two months.
The most popular movie is BlackBerry Babes, a four-part comedy series following three materialistic women obsessed with their BlackBerry phones. The first part of the series has been watched 650,000 times.
Convenience and low-cost web platforms contributed to the early success. The video platform turns out over 2,000 movies every year, second only in number to India’s Bollywood. It looks like Njoku came into the Nollywood corporate and distribution process early enough to bring it out of non-existence and tap into a thirsty market for movies online.
Ninety percent of Nollywood Love’s traffic comes from outside of the continent. In regions that offer broadband services like the EU, North America, the Caribbean and the Middle East with large Nigerian Diasporas living in the regions.
Njoku hopes that more and more viewers from Africa will be Nollywood Love’s main audience. Njoku told CNN, “The wave of innovation coming across Africa is unstoppable. I think the rest of the world has stopped growing. People get exciting about 1-2% growth. In Africa, the market is just there — if you’re looking for a return on investment, probably one of the best places to find it is actually in Africa.”
“For me, it’s almost like being in Silicon Valley in 1994,” he says. “You can see the landscape changing, you can see the world waking up, or Africa waking up, to the real power of the internet.”
Njoku has harnessed the Africa’s internet revolution. He is right at the beginning, hopefully it will change the social and political landscape of the continent. Africa is such a beautiful country.