‘Netflix Naija’ and how prejudiced filmmakers can get a slice of the American pie [opinion]

Now that the first dust heralding Netflix’s arrival in the Nollywood space has cleared, Industry influencers and observers are beginning to open their eyes to the implications of having the US streaming service giant in our space.

Without a doubt, the coming years will prove that the disadvantages might measure just as much in intensity as its current tempting offer of bliss. But, an unignorable fact is that Netflix Naija poses opportunities for ostracised Nollywood creatives.

For years, Nollywood observers have urged distribution companies to become creative and share new ideas on how to create and embrace a market for non-comedy and non-romantic comedy films. Filmmakers who can’t seem to thrive in the already monopolised market now have Netflix.

Eventually, Netflix will progress from original series to original feature films and for filmmakers not in the class of the winning sect, Netflix’s salvation is welcome.

Unromantically speaking, filmmakers in this group might not be $500,000 richer for their content especially with the Ebonys and Filmones already in the decision making position. But, there’s a chance to get their content to people actually willing to see the potential and do the job the Sandaros way.

he future is also utopic for filmmakers who have struggled with the National Film Video and Censors Board and their toplofticality and hypocrisy.

The Censors board can finally go on vacation with its stringent regulations that have become a fat bone stuck in the throats of filmmakers.

Filmmakers might never publicly admit that the Board’s double standard censorship style is killing creativity and free expression but it is. A good number of filmmakers have shared off-record that the Board invents ridiculous reasons to have scenes removed from a film or blatantly refuse to approve a film.

A close study of Netflix’s original content proves that the streaming platform is anything but sensitive to provocative material. In fact, the more provocative, the more potentially attractive it is to the US streaming platform and they need not worry about Nigerians watching because we will.

Unfortunately, Netflix in Naija could mean an eventual nosedive in the cinema culture that’s still struggling to break even with its Nollywood audience count. In 2019, Nollywood recorded an average of 20,000 people watching its content as opposed to the 70,000 watching Hollywood films both in their peak periods. With the ‘less expense but more income’ offer that Netflix might soon offer, filmmakers would ultimately hop on the new wagon of film distribution that will once again annihilate cinema.

Finally, Netflix Naija is primarily a money-making venture for the US company. It’s important that filmmakers keep this important fact close to heart as they gobble Jacob’s porridge.


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