Platforms Or Consumers, Investors or Audiences, why not all of them?
Having helped a few movie projects myself and now trying to get a sense of the business from the other side and drawing on the knowledge and experiences, lamentations and wailing of other filmmakers alike, a simplistic understanding of the Nigerian content landscape would give one the impression that there are two types of people in the Industry; Those hell bent on finding the biggest, loyal audiences and those bent on finding the biggest loyal conduits, platforms or brokers.
Of course, there are merits to each of these methods and these were not arbitrarily decided upon actions, as the industry evolved some of these decisions became a necessary part of the industry’s evolution. Only that in the past couple of years, we have seen the growing disappearance of mid budget films that were so prevalent around 2013/2014. I’m talking of The Apostate, Breathless, Black Silhouette, and many more ambitious careers defining films of that era. Even worse is the fact that low budget fares are made primarily to be licensed to platforms straightaway. No fanfare no nothing, thus creating this giant collection of criminally under seen and underappreciated movies at the expense of a quick licensing fee to content owner, one which I might add seems to be declining in value year on year.
Maybe people shouldn’t make cheap movies, right?
At the height of Nollywood’s cultural dominance, films were made for much less, those same films now committed to immortality via meme-ification. Cost has never been the issue, a route to market strategy that looks at distribution and route to market as an either or game where platforms are the ultimate buyer, especially with regards to low budget to mid budget films creates a buyer’s market leaving consumers, the actual people who should be watching your films, as the secondary market.
Admittedly, paradigms have shifted drastically, platforms are also now content creators and content creators can also serve as bespoke platforms offering up content for their audiences. But platforms that offer bouquet, bundled or subscription type content offerings have always been good at providing access to content rather than facilitating discovery or arousing interest via persistent marketing (notable exceptions do apply but the general theory stands) especially for those who may not be conversant with said platform.
So, what if there was a way for content creators making lower tiered features to find their audiences and sell to them directly?
Too risky? Outright licensing is the only way to hedge your bet so why bother with direct sales like TVOD?
Nollywood wasn’t built on safe assumptions or the promise of an already existent market and its subsequent growth and market capture across sub Saharan Africa was not a product of platforms as much as it was built off of the confidence of the first set of Nollywood creatives who knew their films were good enough to be paid for, bought, consumed and that a market existed.
Less than ten percent (generously speaking) of films made in Nigeria yearly make it to the cinemas, brilliant content creators are hamstrung by the notion that platforms, not consumers, are the people to sell to. Cinema exhibition, fraught with perceived challenges are valuable as they comparatively show a filmmaker just what the public feels about what they’ve made and their expectations of them.
So why aren’t filmmakers pursuing an online equivalent of this? Self-doubt, inadequate understanding of the market and how in more developed digital economies independent content are usually first TVOD before SVOD? Deep seated misconceptions? Desire for quick turnovers?
Whatever the reasons are, valid as they are in our climate, what would you do if there was someone willing to (a) share the risk of investing (b) Pull their weight in marketing (c) Happened to be among other things, a platform?
As we transition into the meme age, with brilliant artists like Lasisi Elenu, Taooma, Mr Macaroni and the likes across social media, we see the same thing playing out again, creatives leaning on platforms over consumers. This is not a zero-sum game, Platforms and Content Creators can access a teeming market desirous of content at the same time,
What if there was a way to make winners of everyone who ever picked up a camera, or opened a laptop to tell a story?
For the past couple of years SHUGABAN has felt like nothing but another VOD platform so we decided to change that, to show just what exactly this company believes in, to show that we’re all in to the best of our strengths, resource and capacity within the industry.
Shugaban believes in the Nigerian creative making shorts, feature length films and documentaries and any other paradigm shifting use of media to engage audiences are on the cusp and their content is worth a whole lot more than free, a lot more than locked in to singular platforms where it thrives in obscurity soon to be forgotten
Content finds paying consumers all the time, just that the creatives behind all that awesome work are hardly ever the ones being paid for the content, maybe because they’re scared to be ambitious, to dream big, to plan well, to collaborate, to maximise the financial potential of the awesomeness they’re capable of creating
So, to this end, we’ve decided to do something about that, everything we are and will doing going forward is about making this intention known; partnerships and collaborations across the value chain that lifts all boats like a rising tide, SCCPP, Original production, Creator empowerment and Amplification, Distribution and licensing.
Over the next few months, but precisely in a few days announcements will be made as these projects are unveiled
It’s time to swing for the fences, all together this time.
It’s time to PRESS PLAY