It is a major redesign. A TV in the house is now perpetually set to YouTube for Nollywood. I am not a fan of Nollywood but you cannot escape it if your household’s TV has internet connectivity. Simply, Nigerian media entrepreneurs are creating contents exclusively for YouTube. From a top-level estimate, there are dozens of YouTube channels in this emerging sub-sector of the industry. Some have even built houses with sections dedicated for video production in Lagos, and Asaba.
I paid attention to this evolution because some of the videos are set around my local government area; we have many players in that business. The Tyrant Prince was set in the Isuikwuato Kingdom of Abia State and Yul Edozie did a great job in that movie. Of course, that is fiction as there is no king here; everyone is a king in his house. But the poetic justice is based on the old Isuikwuato axiom, “aka ojo gara na nnu, agwo gba kwa ya” [the bad hand that enters the warren, let a snake bite him].
What is driving this YouTube business is evident: everyone wants to earn in US dollars. And YouTube pays in U.S. dollars. So, if you churn out videos and can get people to come and watch with the endless YouTube ads, even a monthly treasure of $20k is achievable. Rumour has it that some channels command excess of $100k monthly. That is a possibility if you see the number of videos these companies put out weekly. With less than (typical) $15k production budget, it is a great business if you have the talent and energy to make it work.
That takes me back to the National Broadcasting Commission and its evolving codes. It may be waiting for ways to apply its codes on the Nigerian soil without knowing that the new airwaves now are YouTube. If broadband costs continue to drop, Nigeria could become a YouTube nation when it comes to Nollywood contents.
Simply, Nollywood goes YouTube because earning US dollars does not require building cement factories, growing yams or any of those typical things the export commission agency preaches to the nation. Media entrepreneurs have figured out what sells very well, and they are killing it. And with the U.S. making it easier for anyone to open and operate a bank account, expect more producers to produce in naira, and earn in USD.