Nigeria - Country Commercial Guide
Media and Entertainment

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-10-13

Nigeria’s media and entertainment industry, “Nollywood,” originated in 1992. It is currently the second most prolific film industry in the world. It is a globally recognized brand for practitioners in film, including script writing, directing, sound, acting, cinematography, make-up, and editing. The industry is located throughout several major production centers like Lagos, Onitsha, Enugu, Asaba, and Abuja.  Nollywood was valued at $3.6 billion in 2016 and is projected to be worth $6.4 billion by 2021. The music sector also recorded significant growth over the years. 

According to PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook for 2020-2024, Nigeria’s media and entertainment industry is one of the fastest growing creative industries in the world.  It has the potential to become the country’s greatest export, with projected annual growth rate of 8.6% and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.3% from 2018-2023. PwC indicates that in 2021, Nigeria’s film industry contributed 2.3% and about 239 billion naira ($660 million) to GDP and projects that the industry will increase its export revenue earnings to over $1 billion. The motion picture and music recording industry exceeded 2020 projected $806 million revenue contributing about 730 billion naira ($1.8 billion) to the country’s GDP.

The country’s television and video market grew by 7.49% to $806 million in 2020, up from $732 million in 2018. The industry is projected to earn about $900 million in 2023. The market is driven by subscription revenue, which accounted for 72.26% of total revenue in 2018. TV advertising accounts for 21.31% of total revenue while physical home videos account for 5.33%. Subscription-based movie streaming are also very popular in Nigeria attracting players like Netflix, Iroko TV, and Startimes.  Although Netflix subscription has long been available in Nigeria, they made their official debut in Nigeria in February 2020, joining several major distributors of filmed content in Nigeria.

Nigeria produces around 2,500 films annually and is projected to record total cinema revenue of $22 million in 2021, rising at 8.6% CAGR.  Total music revenue is estimated to rise to $73 million at 13.4% CAGR in 2021. As of 2021, the local industry employs about a million people and generates over $8 billion for the economy. According to an IMF reports, the industry is projected to generate an estimated revenue of $10.8 billion by 2023 and account for 1.4% of GDP.

A new study by Research and Markets, shows that Nigeria will contribute about 10 million (21.2%) pay television subscribers to Africa’s 47.26 million pay TV base by 2025. The report indicates that in 2020, Nigeria overtook South Africa in pay TV subscription as the country currently has over 6.9 million pay Tv households as of 2021.  It is projected to grow to upwards of 7.4 million by 2023. The Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has projected that the Nigerian music industry is set to generate $86 million (3.09 billion naira) in revenue in 2021, making it the region’s largest.  Digital music consumption contributed the largest portion of the revenue.

The music sector of Nigeria’s entertainment industry also recorded significant growth over the years. Stakeholders include artists, musicians, producers, promoters, managers, distributors, and marketers. In the past six years, the growing numbers of new production studios and artists enabled a more vibrant and self-sustaining industry. The investments have aided production of world-class quality music.  In this environment, Nigerian musicians have developed a vast spectrum of music genres.

The industry has won prestigious awards with artists like Wizkid and Burnaboy claiming Grammy awards hence attracting more and more investments from several sources such as Spotify, the global leader in music streaming is also moving into the Nigerian market as part of a broader global expansion.

COVID-19 led to the shutdown of public shows and concerts.  There was an increase in internet music subscribers (154.3 million as of December 2020), digital song sales, and online streaming. Much of the music industry’s revenue potential, particularly from recorded music, remains untapped. Importantly, music streaming, which accounts for more than half the revenue of the global music industry, shows comparatively low penetration rates in Nigeria.

Challenges in the Media and Entertainment Sector

Nigeria face challenges with copyright piracy. This poses some difficulty in monetizing services in the industry.  The impact of COVID-19 necessitated lockdown measures, leading to many media businesses being unable to pay salaries and down-sizing because of high cost of operations. Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON), and Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) are currently making an appeal to the government of Nigeria (GON) for financial intervention in the industry.

Digital streaming services and social media has greatly disrupted traditional media. This has increased customer sophistication as customers now have a very wide variety of content to select. Industry must continuously innovate to retain the attention of customers.

Piracy and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR): Despite significant effort to reduce the piracy rate and strengthen intellectual property rights in Nigeria, copyright infringements are common. It is not uncommon to see pirated books and compact discs being openly sold. Piracy and counterfeiting constitute major hindrances to development of intellectual property rights in Nigeria while actively hindering the growth and development of the media and entertainment industry. The American Business Council (ABC) is actively engaging with key stakeholders and non-governmental organizations in Nigeria to raise awareness of IPR issues in Nigeria and work towards finding a solution. In September 2019, the U.S Embassy in Nigeria, in partnership with the ABC, held an intellectual property symposium in Lagos. Key stakeholders addressed the issues with intellectual property law in Nigeria, the cost to the Nigerian economy and framework to getting it right.

Poor infrastructure such as inconsistent power supply and poor roads can also pose significant challenges for movie production as it increases the time and cost to create content. Participants will have to factor in cost of alternative power generation leading to higher cost. Also, uncertainty of GON regulations such as the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) rule in early June which makes exclusivity illegal.  This compels sub-licensing of content and regulation of pricing, reducing the attractiveness of the industry for large participants that thrive on exclusive content.

Naira Devaluation and Value Added Tax (VAT):  GON through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) devalued the naira for the second time in 2020, making it more difficult for subscription service providers to fulfill their foreign content obligations, which are purchased in dollars.  This requires them to source for increased naira to purchase the same content. This led to increases in subscription rates. The country’s most patronized subscription operator, MultiChoice Nigeria (owner of DStv and GOtv) raised the subscription cost of some of its DStv packages by 13% in September of 2020. A similar uptick of subscription cost was also implemented by the country’s second-biggest subscription service provider, Startimes, which raised fees by an average of 22% in August of 2020.


Business opportunities in the Nollywood industry include opening of cinemas in underserved cities, use of digital distribution, training and capacity building for cinematography, scriptwriting, directing, and movie production equipment.

U.S.-origin equipment is generally considered superior to imports from other countries.  Local entrepreneurs seek opportunities to represent and work with U.S. suppliers of computer parts and peripherals for local assembly.  Nigerian importers and end-users prefer suppliers who, in addition to prompt delivery of products, can provide timely after-sales support, including spare parts at competitive prices.  Asian competition is substantial, particularly with regards to price and availability of parts.

Significant opportunities for U.S companies in this sector include:

  • Establishment of training facilities which engage in animations, visual effects, and other technical skills development
  • Establishment of consultancy services for expanding reach and improving penetration of content and digitization of media
  • Establishment of a distribution and rental business for new technology useful for production by industry participants
  • Video streaming platform with exportable content
  • Mergers and acquisitions of national players who require financial assistance and other resources to leverage growth.
  • Collaboration with global film producers for film festivals and media tourism

GON has taken some key steps to grow the media and entertainment industry. These include:

  • Creation of the Creative Industry Financing Initiative: The CBN in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee has developed a loan scheme called the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) to increase youth employment. The initiative has four pillars: fashion, music, film and information technology. Film production businesses can get a loan of up to 30 million naira ($83,000) while film distribution business can get financing of up to 500 million naira ($1.2 million). The repayment is flexible over a period 3 to 10 years, with a single digit interest rate of 9% per annum (inclusive of all charges). The loan scheme also comes with a minimum of a 24-month moratorium.
  • Internet Penetration Rate: In response to the low level of internet connectivity which hampers the digitization of business, the Nigerian Communications Commission has established laws and guidelines aimed at promoting increased access to the internet. These are pushed through the already licensed infrastructure companies (InfraCos) and other initiatives to heighten internet access by the people of Nigeria. The Nigerian Ministry of Communications has vowed to intensify efforts to put in place an internet Industry Code of Practice (IICP), spelling out the minimum acceptable behaviors relating to the provision and use of the internet in Nigeria.
  • Fiber Optics Deployment: GON and state governments are exerting effort in improving fiber optics deployment. This is expected to improve connectivity, enhancing digital streaming of movies and other entertainment content in the country.


  • National Information Technology Agency (NITDA
  • Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (Comtech)
  • Nigerian Communications Commission  (NCC)
  • National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)
  • Federal Ministry of Information and Fulture (FMIC)


For further sector information, e-mail: Chidinma Akaniro, Commercial Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, Lagos, Nigeria at: