Filmhouse Cinemas put the Nollywood Digital Evolution event together. The idea was to have a cross-section of industry experts dissect the influence of the Internet and social media specifically on the Nigerian movie industry and cinema attendance.
Kene Ukpaku – MD, Filmhouse Cinemas
Mahmood Ali Balogun – Director,/Film maker
Isabella Akinseye – MD. Yellow Tampod production
Kene Okwuosa – Group Deputy MD, Filmhouse Cinemas
Kunle Erinle – Head Consultant, Intellizent Campaign Hub Ltd
Moses Babatope – Executive Director, FilmHouse Cinemas
Isabella: Thanks to social media, movie watchers can now relate and engage with stars and movie producers on a more personal basis unlike what used to obtain before. The movie “Road To Yesterday” for instance won the category of Best West African Film at the AMVCAs last year solely because of social media votes.
Mahmood: Digital evolution is good. The advent of social media changed movie making in Nollywood. Within 2 weeks of us creating a page to create awareness and promote the movie – Tango With Me, we had close to a thousand likes and comments. Social media played a very important part in the popularity and eventual success of “Tango With Me’. Everyone should latch on to the influence social media wields. However, social media cannot do it alone. Content and knowing the demographics for which your movie was made is also key. My next movie is a dance one and we intend to use social media to promote it massively.
Moses: We have a challenge in determining the actual number of people who purchased or saw a movie because of social media. The Wedding Party movie got very good traditional media awareness, but once it was released, social media and word of mouth played a crucial role in its success. No campaign strategy can exclude social media these days as it provides a new wave of audience engagement. It also helped revive the cinema going culture. Nothing beats the social experience of going to the cinemas. The scope for growth is immense.
On the question asked by the moderator on whether movie watchers are beginning to switch from traditional to digital, Isabella opined that things are not changing as much as we would like to believe, and until the price of data crashes drastically, we will likely still have more people embracing CD’s and DVD’s, especially outside Lagos.
Kunle however believes things are actually changing dramatically, and the only snag is that the infrastructure to support the change is not on ground. According to him, “There is an aggressive drive to have more Internet facility even in rural areas, and even traditional news sources are beginning to reference online platforms.”
Kene posits that the influence of social media cannot be downplayed even though it is not absolute. He also cast the audience’s mind to the time when people believed the advent of VCD’s and DVD’s would end the cinema going culture, yet many years later this has not happened.
The general conclusion was that no single factor determines the success of a movie, rather a combination of good content and marketing via traditional and social media platforms will most likely do the trick.