29 April 2014, Lagos – If the United Nation’s report that says for every Nigerian film sold there are nine pirated copies sold is true, Nigeria could be losing over $2billion to piracy every year,” said Professor of Political Economy and Management Expert, Pat Utomi.
Utomi who stated this while addressing participants at the second edition of the Nigerian Entertainment Conference, NEC, in Lagos, described piracy as a distribution challenge that currently threatens the growth and development of the industry.
Speaking further on the theme, “Creating Path Ways to the Future” he noted that this problem has persisted over the years due to poor state of infrastructures, weak support of intellectual copyright and low level of awareness of the masses on the issue of property right.
According to him, it is important for all and sundry to learn the role of distribution in entertainment, adding that without it, the industry will fail.
“It is achievable for Nigeria to dominate the world not through oil but by the talent of its young people, he added. Recognizing the federal government’s contribution to the growth of the industry, Utomi said current efforts to improve on the distribution predicament is not enough since the industry is yet to take its rightful position in driving economic policies in the country.
“It was clear that when the American government supported their entertainment industry, they understood the dynamics of the industry and has a goal to turn the industry into a foreign exchange earner for their country.
“One would have thought that all the funds coming from the government would be making impact by now. If for nothing, such funds would have been deliberately used to set an effective distribution structure rather than requesting stakeholders to access the fund which has become difficult for them to access,” he added.
He said that in line with Center for Values in Leadership (CVL) mission, they had a programme at Lagos Business School that brought some Nollywood stakeholders together, adding that they have always had interest in finding solution to some of these challenges.
“Our idea was to set up an alternative distribution structure that will better serve the interest of both content owners and consumers. So we set up Exodus Entertainment with the sole aim of effectively distributing Nigeria entertainment products (CD, DVD and Magazine) to all of Nigeria.
“We started by carrying out extensive research and since late last year, we have been operating the platform,” Utomi said.
*William Jimoh – Vanguard