Netflix, Nollywood, Oscars… Why African cinema is (still) slow to establish itself – Jeune Afrique

If it is still a small thumb on a global scale, the African film industry has given birth to many models that are both original and profitable. From Lagos to Dakar via Kampala, an overview of a booming market.

Internationally awarded films in the image of South Africa The Wisdom of the Octopus, who won the Oscar for best foreign documentary in 2021, in the Senegalese series Mistress of a married man and Sakho & Mangane through the phenomenon Queen Sono, which set the continent on fire, African audiovisual production is growing.

If it is still “underfunded, underdeveloped and undervalued”, the continent’s film and audiovisual industry is also, and above all, in full swing, according to a report published on the subject by Unesco in last october. And the growth prospects are impressive: the sector could create 20 million jobs and generate no less than 20 billion dollars in income per year in Africa if the necessary structuring efforts and investments are made.

For the moment, the sector is mainly driven by the production from the studios of “Nollywood”, the emblematic Nigerian industry, which is the locomotive with some 2,599 films made in 2020. But everywhere, new models are emerging.

Future kingdom of Netflix?

First growth lever: VOD, which Africans are fond of more and more connected – 500 million Internet users and 350 million smartphones. The kings of streaming have understood this. Netflix, Showmax, Amazon, Canal +, Iroko TV are fighting a fierce battle to obtain shares in the emerging small screen market.

Initially timid, Netflix finally set its sights on Africa in 2016, with a sensational and simultaneous entry into the 54 countries of the continent. It is estimated that the American giant is already in a leading position there, with nearly 2 million subscribers. To alleviate the problems of internet speeds and low banking availability, which are still powerful brakes, particularly in West Africa, the platform has forged partnerships with telecom operators to offer packages including subscription to the streaming service. .

Netflix, Canal + and Amazon are also playing the card of African productions for local audiences. The movement is still timid, compared to the sums committed in the rest of the world, but it is underway. Alongside award-winning films at major festivals, an entire industry is being structured, particularly around the production of original series with big budgets. What are the future Nollywood? Who is best placed in the very juicy and promising VOD market? Which countries have won the most awards? Who are the ambassadors of top-class African cinema? All the answers in infographics, to discover below.

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Netflix, Nollywood, Oscars… Why African cinema is (still) slow to establish itself – Jeune Afrique