COVID-19 : A Blessing in Disguise for the Entertainment Industry
In our COVID-19 Series (pt.2) we take a look at the huge changes in the entertainment industry, internet and TV content consumption. It’s no more news that social activities has been suspended until further notice because of the corona virus otherwise known as COVID-19. Thousand of lives have been lost across the world due to this hence the world health organisation prescribing social distancing as one the ways to prevent the virus. The entertainment industry is one which physical social interaction is a key component that makes it strive but with the new guidelines, it is left to be seen what will become of the every buoyant and vibrant creative industry.
According to the Nigeria bureau of statistics, the entertainment and creative industry gathered over a 100 million dollars in 2019 alone. It is also believed to be the second highest employer of youth labour in Nigeria only second to Agriculture. With all of the huge potentials it has for 2020, it has been faced with a brickwall that has thrown every activities in limbo.
The curtains have been drawn abruptly in theatres, the lights have been put out at cinemas, clubs, even centers are not left out. Lined up musical and comedy shows, stage plays, productions sets have also been suspended despite millions of Naira that has been invested in such enterprise. How will they recover the lost invested funds?
Consequently, Creative and content creators are struck with the scarcity of contents for their starved viewers and listeners. It is note worthy that major contents that used to be a money spinner for media outlets might not return until the curve is flattened.
What is the way forward?
In his interview with CNBC, Quilox club owner turned lawmaker, Honourable Shina Peller proffered solutions on the way forward “ the US entertainment industry contributes hundreds of billion of dollars yearly to their economy because the government put in place capable structures for the industry. The Nigeria government should put up a proper structure for the industry that will organise the dealings of the industry”. He also think creative people must be innovate in their thinking which they are already doing especially with IG and Facebook live that kept the fans glued to their phone screens.
Bikiya Graham- Douglas (@BikiyaGD), who is an actor and producer also alluded to Shina Peller’s thoughts. She suggested that content producers need to think out of the box with the contents they will put out henceforth. “Writing will be a major area that will change drastically. Scripts, stories, plots t has to be new and must be tailored around pre and post Covid-19 era. Many areas like mental areas, the family and other parts have to be researched upon and turned into quality contents”. New safety guidelines and basic hygiene has to be put in place in all production houses so that the safety of individuals will be guaranteed.
During the lock-down, Streaming numbers skyrocketed across the world with players such as Netflix, HBO and even social media networks were part of the biggest winners in the COVID-19 Series (pt.2). Nigeria entertainment scene must not be left behind as the world has moved towards that line. Given that Our celebrities adopted Facebook and Instagram live as a means of providing contents for the fans, that’s in itself shows that there are enormous monetary potentials waiting to be tapped online. Some brands also hopped on Instagram live, bringing artistes to play live music and concerts for their customers. The Asa and Davido live concert was a typical example of such move.
Although, there is the argument that the streaming culture is still at the infant stage because of the poor economy state of the nation, Nigeria has the necessary numbers(because of our population) to pull up good revenue if there are proper structures and funding in place.
The music part of the entertainment and creative industry which is arguably the biggest in Africa has already hit the ground running years ago in monetizing streaming platforms even before the pre Covid-19 era. However more structural work still need to be done to make it more affordable and accessible.
Nollywood is regarded as the third biggest movie industry in the second just Hollywood and Bollywood. It has raked in millions of dollars yearly and has added monetary value to the economy. The coming of Netflix to Nigeria is a fantastic booster for nollywood. Trips to cinemas and theatre have been limited because of the pandemic hence streaming from laptops and mobile devices will be embraced more by the populace.
The silver lining in all of these is the imminent employment opportunities this new phase will be provide to the youths. Because of the tentative increase in demand for contents by the consumers, this will automatically increase employment opportunities for creative youths, freelancers who are willing to take the bull by the horn. It will greatly influence the GDP of the country’s economy in the long run if the government will be willing to support them in all ramifications. This is all the COVID-19 Series (pt.2) is all about, we’ll likely release a pt.3 soon.