In a major boost for the African film industry, YouTube has created a Nollywood-specific channel on YouTube. The channel boasts over 400 Nollywood movies that can now be downloaded and viewed for free from anywhere in the world.
Nollywood is the casual term for the Nigerian film industry which, during the 1990s and 2000s, “grew to become the second largest film industry in the world in terms of number of annual film productions, placing it ahead of the United States and behind the Indian film industry” according to Wikipedia.
The Nollywoodlove channel is the result of a creative partnership between YouTube and a company called Iroko Partners, a team of 25 based in Lagos and London who are passionate about financially supporting African culture. According to its site, “Iroko provides distribution, rights management and marketing services to Africa’s many regional movie industries”, and is seeking to add a layer of legitimacy to the growing West African film industry.
The company began a few years ago when founder Jason Njoku moved to London with the idea of providing a safe, credible retail store for people to buy Nollywood movies online. That led to a number of trips back and forth to Nigeria and meetings to create a legal infrastructure for international distribution for Nigerian movies.
The Nollywoodlove channel on YouTube has received over 18-million views to date. In terms of its business model, the company “has a partnership with YouTube which enables it to run adverts alongside or inside the movies you are watching, which allows it to ensure a film is free for NollywoodLovers globally”.
Iroko goes to great pains to point out that it has obtained the movies legally. As it writes on the YouTube channel “Do we buy movies legally? A little clarification. Firstly. Yes, yes and yes! we have invested tens of thousands of dollars buying the right to stream movies on YouTube and the internet. These are multi year contracts which go directly to the film production houses. This is very different and many times more expensive than what used to happen (buying a market copy and simply uploading and sharing), and is patently illegal.”
Check out the Nollywood Love channel right here and immerse yourself in the magic of Nigerian cinema.