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CinemaCon Celebrates Nigerian Cinema with the Emerging Market Award

From left, Emerging Market Spotlight Award winners Moses Babatope, Managing Director FilmOne Distribution, Thomas Adedayo, NFVCB, Nigeria and Kene Okwuosa, CEO, Filmhouse Cinemas during the International Day Lunch held at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on April 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging for CinemaCon)

The Official Convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), CinemaCon recognized the Nigerian movie industry with the Emerging Market Award at Ceasar’s Palace, Las Vegas, U.S.A.

The award was presented to CEO of The Filmhouse Group, Kene Okwuosa and MD, FilmOne Production and Distribution, Moses Babatope.

This award comes as no surprise as the 2010s spelt growth for the cinema culture with various cinema brands popping up to create competition in the space for already established players.

At this time, thanks to globalization, the concept of cinema viewing had become popular, and it was ripe for a company serious about bringing the movie-going experience to the masses emerged.

At this point, record-breaking revenues in the amount of N1.72trillion (2013) was being reported with the industry valued at N853.9billion (third in the world after the United States and India).

From left, Arturo Guillén, VP, EMEA and India, Comscore, Emerging Market Spotlight Award winners Moses Babatope, Managing Director FilmOne Distribution and Kene Okwuosa, CEO, Filmhouse Cinemas during the International Day Lunch held at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on April 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging for CinemaCon)

Nollywood was responsible for 1.4% of Nigeria’s economy. In 2013, FilmHouse decided to take on the challenge of entering the market to expand the cinema industry to a wider population.

Today, far from the middle and upper-class activity cinema-going used to be, with 44 cinemas across the country (up 29% increase from 2017), serving an estimated population of 190 million Nigerians – though not yet saturated, the growth of this culture and incidentally the industry connected to it is undeniable.

FilmHouse, dedicated to opening as many branches as time and space would permit even with 23% of the 180 screens already enjoys a 39% market share, signalling room for even more growth provided the right investments and marketing efforts are made to expand the industry.

With their presence attracting distribution deals with foreign big names like 20th Century Fox, Waner Bros Pictures, as well as Empire Entertainment (South Africa), the marriage between Nollywood native content and Hollywood international offerings has created just the right ecosystem for flourishing global cinema culture.

There are also many thanks to being given to the presence of improved recording equipment and better-trained filmmakers in the industry.

From a financial perspective, it appears the cinema culture has been very useful in combating the effects of piracy to an extent for
filmmakers.

In 2018 alone, FilmOne recorded a Gross Box Office in-flow of N2.8billion with over 2.7million ticket admissions. By the
time you add the income of other cinema houses, the Gross Box Office earnings jump up to N5.5billion (up 23% from 2017).

From Nollywood alone, N1.4billion of this gross figure was realized, FilmOne as the biggest production house holding a 92% share of the local content cinema market in what some might refer to as a monopoly.

For interested investors in this sector, after accounting for sales of items like popcorn, hotdogs and drinks, a staggering revenue of N20.3billion was declared by FilmHouse, a first for any company in the industry.

These strides have not happened without international recognition. From the willingness of Netflix to pour in billions of dollars into the industry over the next five years to CinemaCon (largest and most important gathering of movie theatre owners from around the world)

The recognition and award is an honour, not even the Bollywood rival is yet to enjoy, the tide is still very much on the rise.

This is what you would expect when in 2018 alone West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia) recorded the highest Gross Box Office earning and more titles than ever earned over N300, N200, and N100million respectively.

Moses Babatope (Managing Director, FilmOne) and Kene Okwusa (CEO Filmhouse) both expressed their gratitude to be selected as industry leaders to receive the CinemaCon award on behalf of the Nigerian film industry.

They have expressed optimism for growth as well as an appreciation for stakeholders that have made the journey so far possible.

The world continues to look to Africa and by extension, the industry leader, Nigeria, for fresh content; and the Nigerian market remains open for investment – foreign and domestic, to build in capacity.

Are we in a second golden age for the Nigerian movie industry where cinema takes the lead? As the saying goes, men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t.

All eyes are watching, the industry and the screens.

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