Every businessman in the creative arts has always had to deal with the challenge of piracy. From books to music and movies, these pirates continue to explore rights that should be reserved for the producers, and keep all the monies to themselves.
Cinemas are now providing a sort of respite for movie producers and film executives, and an avenue to recoup production costs and expenses from viewers across the country, without having to worry about pirates.
Speaking at the Nairametrics Business Half Hour program on Classic FM, Zulumoke Oyibo, Film executive and Co-founder, Inkblot productions said that the cinemas have greatly helped to combat piracy, which has been a pain in the throat of movie producers over the years.
For instance, the producers only recorded the sales of 50,000 copies of The Wedding Party in 2016, but marketers’ records show that over 200,000 copies were sold across Nigeria. This implies that pirates pocketed more money from the movie than the producers whose intellectual property was being explored. Oyibo added that even online streaming and publishing of the videos cannot guarantee as much returns as the cinemas, as “anything that goes online is no longer wholly yours, and it can be pirated.”
All of these have now changed with the help of cinemas. Apart from helping the producers get appropriate returns on their works, it makes the film big and helps to attract international licensing for the movies. The cinema infrastructure in Nigeria is however still growing and needs more presence across the country.
Oyibo said that as a child, her father had stopped her from watching Nollywood movies because of the fetish scenes, and so she consciously went into movie production as an adult to provide a wide variety for the Nigerian viewing audience.
“What Inkblot is trying to do is to put so many movies out there so that even if you cannot watch one genre, you will still find something that suits you. There is romance, comedy, action, and so on. There is something for everyone,” she said.
Inkblot Productions was founded in 2010 by Zulumoke Oyibo and her friends, Damola Ademola, Naz Onuzo, and Omotayo Adeola.
Though they were not actors or major players in the industry before then and did not have any film school experience or formal learning, they have since then produced major hits such as The Department (2015), Out of Luck (2015), The Wedding Party and its sequel (2016/17), Up North (2018), Love is War (2019), The SetUp (2019) and Who’s The Boss (2020).
The friends first started by bootstrapping and getting some funds from family and friends in exchange for some equity. This took care of their first production which was a web series before a government grant came later to fund the production of The Department. More funds later came from investors and film patriots who were interested in seeing the company grow.
Interestingly, challenges for the film producers did not come in the form of competition from other players, as every producer has an audience interested in its production. Oyibo explained during the program that producers sometimes have to deal with erratic louts and ‘area boys’ who demand money from them before allowing them to shoot at locations. These demands are irrespective of whatever permits the producers might have secured from the government and relevant agencies. At such points, the producers have to play along or risk having their equipment damaged by the irate louts.
The Coronavirus pandemic also ground productions and affected film production companies, particularly Inkblot Productions which had just released “Who’s the boss” on the same day Nigeria recorded its first infection case. Revenue from the movie took a hit and returning to work after the lockdown, a lot of protocols still had to be observed.
“Coming back into production, we have to do all the necessary testing and put all of the right protocols in place. So, the money you would use to give your film some sort of value is now being spent on logistics to make sure everyone is safe and you are doing the responsible thing,” Oyibo narrated. In spite of these, the industry continues to push through.
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Gbagada FC – How a community football club is providing entertainment for Lagosians
“It is all about passion, and at Gbagada FC, we dare to dream,” says Akinyelu.
From being an evening pastime for people to relax after work, Gbagada FC has grown in the last 7 years to become a standard community football club, now known as the Blue Eagles. The club now plays in the third tier league in Nigerian football and is focused on winning the hearts of and entertaining residents in the Shomolu local government area of Lagos state.
Founder and club chairman of Gbagada FC, Olajide Akinyelu, says that inspiration for the club came after he bagged his certification as a coach, and decided to turn what had been an evening past-time into a proper grassroots club. This informed the name – Gbagada FC.
Akinyelu who despite his love for the game, missed out on being a professional footballer himself, has hopes that Gbagada FC has talents who would take football on as a career and go international.
“There is no football club based in Somolu in the top tier. We currently play at the third tier and we hope to play at the first tier in due time,” Akinyelu said in the Nairametrics Business Half Hour Show.
At the third tier level, Gbagada FC has to play with other grassroots clubs run by individuals, religious bodies and other groups.
Like every other sport, soccer needs funding to thrive. Support from corporate bodies and organizations have played a critical part in Gbagada FC’s growth but the club has also had to explore several sources of funding to push through the years.
“The higher you go, the easier it becomes to generate funds in the football league. At the third tier league, our model is built around our home games and that is what we present to these corporate bodies that support us. We have people coming to watch our games.
Of course, like you see from the big clubs in Europe, there is money to be made from transfers and all that, but such money is reinvested into getting the same quality of player back into the squad. We understand that within here, even without selling a player, we can actually sustain the club. We raise funds from match day tickets, sponsorship from the corporate world, like shirt sponsors, slip sponsors and other packages that we have. That is how we do it currently and how we intend to go,” Akinyelu explained.
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic did take its toll on availability of funds from corporate bodies but the club was able to fall back on its alternative plans, and push through the football season. The target is to recruit talents at the local level, keep them busy with the training and build them into players that can play at the international level.
“In terms of recruitment, we have about five or six prospects we believe strongly can make it pro, young players doing really fine. We believe we are on the right track in terms of getting the players, working on them and getting them ready for the real deal” Akinyelu said.
Footballs is a sport that has the ability to bring young boys in the community together for relaxation, but in order to be taken seriously, Gbagada FC is a step ahead. The club has a media team that consists of young men and women who handle social media, photography, graphics, and website maintenance. There is also a commentator that keeps the games alive with a well-spiced up commentary.
One would expect that a community football club has to deal with competition from other football clubs but it is not so for Gbagada FC. According to Akinyelu, competition comes in form of other pastimes competing for the same audience, and other forms of entertainment competing for funding from the same corporate bodies.
When music and comedy concerts are to be held, it is the same Corporate bodies and organizations that receive applications for support, and every organization can only have so much to invest into the entertainment industry. In this way, the football clubs have to compete with other entertainment outfits for the same limited funding.
There are also sports betting platforms to compete with, as this also appeals to the same football audience. “You find that someone can use N1000 on sports betting daily but will find it difficult to pay N500 to watch one of our games. So, the direct competitor for us is the betting companies because the kind of audience they have are the ones coming to our games, and they are the ones getting the money from our audience,” Akinyelu explained.
The goal is to get to the higher tier where the audience will now pay more to see the club’s matches during the weekend matches and friendly games.
“In the next 10 years, we should really be at our A-game, playing at the NFL and maybe at the CAF competitions. We also hope to own a 30,000 capacity stadium within Gbagada because that will really help us achieve all that we want to. It is all about passion, and at Gbagada FC, we dare to dream,” Akinyelu said.
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