...On The Question Of Rebranding:
(Published in LEADERSHIP September 5, 2009)
According to reports by the Global Media Entertainment outfit commissioned by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), the motion pictures industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world economy.
The sector turns out billions of dollars and generates millions of jobs worldwide. The PWC reports projected that the global entertainment industry generated over $470 billion by 2005.
The term ‘film industry’ is generally used to describe an umbrella of creative industry production activities, including film, television (drama and documentaries), commercials, still photography and multi-media.
The Nigeria Movie Industry (NMI) is comprised of the combined forces of Nollywood and Kannywood have made the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to acknowledge the three main video and movie production centres of Lagos, Onitsha and Kano. Nollywood refers to movies produced in the production centres in Lagos and Onitsha as Nollywood, while Kannywood simply refers to the Hausa film industry domiciled across the North but with the marketing and production hub in Kano. It produces about 30 per cent of Nigeria’s movies which are predominantly in Hausa language but with few others in Fulfulde, Nupe, Kanuri, Tiv and English languages.
Presently, the NMI is the second largest producer of straight-to-home video entertainment movies in a whole world. According to the survey conducted in 99 countries by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Institute of Statistics (IS), and with the result released in May 2009, the year 2006 recorded feature length films produced video format, which shows India with 1,019, Nigeria 872, and United States 485. This record clearly shows Nigeria as the second largest world’s producer of films and Africa’s largest movie industry in terms of monetary value estimated at $250 million; the sheer number of 200 videos produced every month. Based on report, the Nigerian model has the multi-lingualism advantage as 56 per cent of the films are produced in local languages: Yoruba ,31 per cent; Hausa, 24 per cent; Igbo, 1 per cent and English films accounting for 44 per cent accordingly.
The Nigeria film industry has significantly more than any other endeavour in the last 15 years played a central role in establishing an international profile for the country’s culture. It is an industry of national importance and has been one of the greatest ambassadors for Nigeria around the world.
The Nigeria film industry has been identified as one of the top five growing sectors and has been selected as one of the key activities likely to produce economic growth.
The Nigeria film and television industry is a significant component of our economy as it provides an important source of economic growth and employment. The creative process of putting a story into film is a complex, expensive and labour-intensive business operation. Thus, like any major business operation, film and television productions require a wide range of services and scores of personnel from frontline actors and directors to behind-the-scenes employees like sound engineers, set designers, and caterers. In meeting these material and resource demands, companies provide substantial economic benefits to a wide range of industries in the locality where production takes place. The economic significance of the film, television and video industry could be demonstrated by identifying the links between this sector and the rest of the economy. The film sector is one of the few sectors that could add value to a wide range of other sectors in the economy through the creation of demand for production and services. In general, the film industy outwits the rest of the economy: over the last nine years, the sector has grown by over 40 per cent. According to Leke Adler, the market potential of the industry in Nigeria is relative to the size of each state's economy, at least by N522.5b per annum.
The spin-offs of the film industry could be identified by studying its value chain. Each production results in jobs for camera operators, sound and lighting technicians, caterers, plumbers, carpenters, animal trainers, truck drivers, make-up artists, graphic artists, photographers, set designers, painters and actors. Production budgets are spent on a range of production from hardware to props, plants to steel, paint to timber, draperies to carpets, furniture to portable dressing rooms, generators to saddle makers, and restaurants to hotel rooms. The value chain of the film, television and video industry extends to many other sectors of the economy creating a catalytic growth effect. The economic multiplier used to calculate the amount of money generated by film production is estimated to be 2.5. This means that for every N1 spent on production, N2.50 goes into the local economy.
The export earnings and economic benefits of feature film, television and commercial production cannot be singularly directed towards industry-related services, facilities, equipment rentals or production purchases. Instead, the benefits are part of a wider economic platform of job creation, retail sales, manufacturing, travel and tourism earnings that would otherwise not be injected into the state.
Film production also creates a resource that has considerable export value.In the United States, film entertainment remains the second biggest export earner. In recent years, developing countries have realised the value of marketing locations for film, television and video production. Most developing countries only attract medium to low budget production, which results in limited benefit and spin-offs. These benefits are optimised when domestic film production companies generate a larger share of total production within a region or country.
Film production is a “locomotive” industry, similar to housing construction and automobiles, in that the number of production workers directly working in the industry belies the true impact of the industry on the economy because so many upstream, downstream, and peripheral industries depend on the primary production plant. Unofficial industry statistics indicate that over 300,000 jobs in Nigeria are directly involved in film production - more than the number of workers directly employed in any other sector. Once again, these statistics do not measure the number of workers in secondary and tertiary industries that are directly involved in film productions. This would include carpenters, electricians, caterers, drivers, seamstresses, construction workers, and many other professions that may not be exclusively or primarily devoted to film production.
Re-branding, as far as I know, is to harbour a wind of change in character, nature and general orientation of the people in a certain community or society. Also, it may be termed as an act of reverting to status-quo. When applied to Nigeria, it means characterisation to the best. In so doing, this great nation will revert itself to its former state of uniqueness. Critics opined that there would be no rebranding without the motion picture industry as its main canvassers. Talking movies, re-branding is the change in the way we depict the image of our country and culture in our movies, both locally and internationally.
The epicentre of this workshop is the motion picture practitioners of Kannywood who have for long been exposed to a programme similar to what we are talking about today. Section 36, sub-section 1A and B of the NFVCB enabling law, explicitly coincide with the re-branding of Kannwood/Nollywood project where only films that promote Nigerian culture, unity, interest and which are not likely to induce the corruption of private morality, among others, are to be censored and classified for exhibition and distribution, both in and outside Nigeria. The point here is that NFVCB will ensure that only movies that re-brand Nigeria will see the light of the day.
Re-branding the Nigeria film industry is crucial as the sector has significantly more than any other endeavour in the last 15 years played a central role in establishing an international profile for our country and our culture. It is an industry of national importance and has been one of the great ambassadors for Nigeria around the world.
Consequent to the growth and development of the Nigerian Movie Industry, the NFVCB believes very strongly that the Nollywood/Kannywood and Nigeria in general should define their identity, character, image and influence from the movie’s global window.
I hope the practitioners of Kannywood will utilise this workshop to provide integration of cultural values and cohesion within the Northern film industry thereby desisting from the Indian-type films the region is known for.
At this point, I would like to inform the partcipants and resource persons at this workshop that the director-general of the NFVCB has brilliantly initiated a New Distribution Framework (NDF), which if fully implemented through the board’s shared responsibility plan with state governments, will have a national coverage and serve as a medium through which Kannywood will be re-branded.
•How can we rebrand Kannywood?
Considering the following facts, I believe Kannywood will come to stay if and only if:
-Movies are produced in the context of the religion and culture of the people represented.
-All industry activities are conducted in the context of the religion and culture of the people represented.
-Motion picture practitioners are adequately, religiously, culturally, and professionally trained.
-Film making is not considered unislamic.
-Film makers Are not stigmatised or exposed to stigma by clerics.
-Our religious and cultural institutions appreciate the value of the film industry and engage in sensitising and educating the practitioners through seminars and workshops.
-The Northern businessmen and women appreciate the industry and invest in it.
-Due process and rule of law are absolutely observed.
-Kannywood is sanitised through sensitisation, stakeholders/consumer education, monitoring and legal action taken against recalcitrant producers, distributors and unyielding pirates.
-The cultural, national values and dignity are not compromised while educating and entertaining the public.
-Professional guilds and associations are empowered.
-Stringent conditions imposed on practitioners by some government agencies are softened.
-All industry stakeholders unite, develop, and implement a programme of action that could move the industry forward.
-The Northern Nigeria is perceived as the premiere location offering the film industry a unique blend of professional services - locations, skills, and other support services.
-Locations, facilities, and services are of the highest quality and offer some of the best value for money.
-Kannywood is regarded as an important contributor to the region's economic growth, and is identified as a priority sector, supported by the community at large.
-The Northern state governments offer competitive incentives to attract inbound production activities.
-Filming contributes significantly to creation of new jobs and increasing number share directly in the benefits derived from the industry.
-Filming becomes an all year round cultural and economic activity.
Lastly, I would like to urge both the regulators and operators to adhere to the rule of law and due process in all their endeavours and fight all forces that hinder the growth of the industry. Thank you.
Dr. Sarari is North-West zonal coordinator of NFVCB. He delivered this paper at the just concluded workshop organised by Zaria Film Makers, at Congo Confrence Hall, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.