Nigeran filmmakers were celebrating a successful start to 2024, in which one film, A Tribe Called Judah made history by capturing $1.6 Million (1.5 billion Nigeian Naira) in theatrical revenue within 21 days. But between January 12 and January 18, 2024, sales dropped by more than half, which coincided with news of the film’s success.
A film by Nigerian filmmaker Toyin Abraham hit $315,000 (283 million Naira) in a month, which was a personal record for her. But then she saw the movie on social media. In an article published by TRT Afrika, Abraham and her colleagues “made phone calls to technicians and social media platforms, who began hastily breaking the links, but it was swatting a swarm of flies in the air. ‘We broke a lot of these illegal links, but then there are still others out there,’ she said.”
It is estimated that Nigeria lost US$3 billion in revenue from creative works in 2019 due to digital piracy, according to UNESCO.
Nigerian content creators’ battle against piracy. Article. January 23, 2024. TRT Afrika
The African Film Industry. Report. 2021. UNESCO
Why it matters
Piracy remains rampant in Western Africa, and across the continent. 21% of cinema industry stakeholders in Western Africa report that at least 75% of their potential revenue is lost to piracy, according to an estimate published by UNESCO in the 2021 report, The African Film Industry. Another 50% of them report losses of between 25% and 50%.
According to UNESCO, “Commercial cinema exhibitors have long struggled to find a viable business model due to the absence of a cinema-going culture in many countries, crippling piracy, an insufficient or unreliable supply of high quality local films, and local audiences’ limited disposable income.
“Illegal exploitation of intellectual property impacts the entire industry, from foreign distributors to local creators. While the illegal reproduction and sale of films and television series on DVDs or more recently on digital files is one major aspect of piracy, it can also take the form of the unlicensed television or Internet broadcast of content, as well as piracy of the broadcast signal itself,” UNESCO said.