The canapes have been eaten, the speeches have been made. The men have been dapper and gallant in their black tied tuxedos (although I much preferred the men that came in traditional wear like Desmond Elliot). The women have been beautiful, bold, daring and most importantly, noticed. Jason Njoku of iRokoTV has honoured and edified his wife as the husband of a hard working woman should. Mary Njoku has taken to the stage amidst a standing ovation. She has told of her vision for this new free-to-view TV channel, Rok On Sky. So, what happens next?
Whatever happens next can only be good for Nigerian TV viewers in the UK. This launch excited me because I love the idea of competition. Monopoly begets mediocrity. Whenever there is a new player on the field, the existing players have little choice but to sit up and pay attention. It brings about a new world order in striving for excellence and competing for eyeballs on the screen.
The Favourable Consequences of Competition
In order to get eyeballs on the screen, the TV stations need to pick better and better movies. As producers start to see the calibre of films being chosen, they will better their productions. Cinematography will get better; actors will work harder to hone their craft; the race will go to the swiftest and not to who has the most connections or the highest body count.
Perhaps we will then finally get investors to see Nollywood as a viable investment vehicle and start putting serious money behind it. Maybe the talented young creative minds we have in the country will see Nollywood as something worth breaking their chops on. Who knows, perhaps indie movies will become a real thing in the Nigeria Film Industry.
If you attended the premiere for Fifty – The Movie by Mo Abudu, you will attest to the fact that it was sold out. As was Omoni Oboli’s First Lady. And When Love Happens before that. People want to associate with quality and excellence. It will no longer become a hardship to get the good people of London to come out and attend Nigerian entertainment industry events.
Especially relevant is the fact that where quality is, money is sure to follow. Advertising revenue; million-naira studio houses like Warner Bros and MGM films; status symbols and red carpets that shake the world. Or shake Nigeria at the very least. The Asians have captured this perfectly with Bollywood and The International Indian Film Academy Awards. If they can do it, so can we.
Rok On Sky: A Welcome Addition For Viewers
Finally, we must realise that Nollywood outside of Nigeria is big business – all of Africa remains glued to what we have to offer. And don’t try the Caribbeans – they know our actors more than we do! We can do this: we have the audience, we have the flair, we have the growing interest. Most importantly, we have the most vital ingredient: we are NIGERIANS. We are built for success and iRokoTV just pushed the Nigerian entertainment industry in the UK and further afield one step closer to that.
Who Bourne Identity don epp? Which of us can really, truly relate to Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful? But I know we will watch the heck out of a film that is peppered with Nigerian slang words and doesn’t kill our brain cells in the process. Our music is already doing that: we now have artistes that make us proud to be Nigerians. We go to parties where they play only oyinbo music and we’re like “Beht why didn’t you get correct DJ na??” Nollywood is catching up quickly.
And it can’t come quickly enough for me: if I have to watch one more village film where the king is dressed like a Christmas hamper!!! ???
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