Nigeria - Country Commercial Guide
Media and Entertainment Industry (Nollywood and Nigerian music)

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

Last published date: 2020-09-14

Nigeria’s media and entertainment industry “Nollywood” sprang up in 1992 and is currently the second-largest film producer in the world in terms of number of movies. It is a unifying brand for practitioners in scripting, directing, sound, High Definition (HD) techniques, acting, cinematography, make-up, editing, etc. The Nollywood industry is articulated around a few major production centers like Lagos, Onitsha, Enugu, Asaba and Abuja. The distribution of the films also hinges on these same production centers as well as other major distribution points in Nigeria such as Aba.

Business opportunities in the Nollywood industry include opening of cinemas in underserved cities, use of technological platforms to enhance distribution e.g. Iroko TV and Netflix, training and capacity building for cinematography, scriptwriting and directing, and movie production equipment. The local industry employs about a million people and generates over US$7 billion for the economy. The industry accounts for 1.4% of GDP according to IMF reports. Nigeria produces around 2,500 films a year with a projection of US$22 million by 2021 for total cinema revenue. Total music revenue in Nigeria is estimated to rise at a 13.4% CAGR to US$73 million in 2021. Nigeria faces challenges with copyright piracy and this poses some difficulty in monetizing services in the industry.

Nigeria’s TV and video market revenue grew by 7.49% to reach US$732 million in 2018 and is projected to reach US$806 million by the end of 2020. The market is driven by Pay-TV subscription revenue, which accounted for 72.26% of the total in 2018. TV advertising accounts for 21.31% of total revenue while physical home videos account for the remaining 5.33%.  Multi-Choice is the leading player in Nigeria’s Pay-TV industry with its DStv and GOtv services. Subscription-based movie streaming has also become very popular in Nigeria with players like Netflix and Iroko TV. Although Netflix subscription has long been available in Nigeria, Netflix made its official debut in Nigeria in February 2020, joining several major acquirers and distributors of filmed content in Nigeria.

The music sector of Nigeria’s entertainment industry also recorded significant growth over the years. The stakeholders include artists, musicians, producers, promoters, managers, distributors, marketers, etc. In the past six years, the growing numbers of new production studios and artists springing up has paved way for a more vibrant and self-sustaining industry. Others have won prestigious awards in international contests and events, hence attracting more and more investments from very many sources. The investments have no doubt aided production of world-class quality music because of innovations in sounds, rhythms and recording techniques. Pace-setters, Nigerian musicians have developed a vast spectrum of music genres, blending hip-hop, rap, rhythm and blues, reggae, gospel, etc. with traditional Nigerian genres.

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 of PCs at the Computer Village in Lagos State.  Nigerian importers and end-users, however, prefer suppliers who, in addition to prompt delivery of products, are able to provide timely after-sales support, including spare parts at competitive prices.  Asian competition, however, is fierce, particularly with regards to price and availability of parts.

Challenges in the Media and Entertainment Sector

The impact of COVID necessitated the lockdown which has led to many media businesses being unable to pay salaries and down-sizing as a result 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 Federal Government for financial intervention for the industry.

Digital streaming services and social media has greatly disrupted the traditional media players as anyone with a smart phone and internet connectivity can produce content and stream online. This has increased customer sophistication as customers now have a very wide variety of content to choose from. Players must continuously innovate in order 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 still the order of the day. It is not uncommon to see pirated books and compact discs being openly sold in traffic in some major cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt. 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 Nigeria. 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 epileptic power supply and bad roads can also pose significant challenges for movie production as it increase the time and cost to create content. Players will have to factor in cost of alternative power generation leading to higher cost. Also, uncertainty of government regulations such as the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) regulation in early June which makes exclusivity illegal, compelling sub-licensing of content and regulation of pricing is reducing the attractiveness of the industry for big-time players that strive on exclusive content.

Opportunities and General Insights

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

  • Establishment of training facilities that engage in animations, visual effects other technical skills development
  • Establishment of consultancy service which focuses on content creation and digitization of media offerings to expand reach and improve penetration rate
  • Establishment of distribution and/or renting business for new technology useful for production by industry players
  • Video streaming platform business 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

The Nigerian government 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 as part of efforts to boost job creation in Nigeria, particularly among the youth, has developed a loan scheme called the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI). The initiative has four pillars, namely: Fashion, Music, Movie and Information Technology. Movie production businesses can get a loan of up to N30m while Movie distribution business can get financing of up to N500m. 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 24months moratorium.
  • Internet Penetration Rate: In response to the low level of internet connectivity which hampers the digitization of business, Nigerian Communications has established laws and guidelines aimed at promoting increased access to the Internet through the already licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) and other initiatives in order to heighten Internet access by the people of Nigeria. The Nigerian Ministry of Communications has vowed to intensify efforts at putting in place an Internet Industry Code of Practice (IICP) that will spell out the minimum acceptable behaviors relating to the provision and use of the Internet in Nigeria.
  • Fibre Optics Deployment: The federal and state government are exerting effort in improving fibre optics deployment. This is expected to improve connectivity which will enhance digital streaming of movies and other entertainment content in the country.

Web Resources


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