It is said that with the coming of Nollywood, it opened the viewing space and created a new viewing public who were ‘eager’ and ‘hungry’ for this product called Nollywood films. This audience easily lapped on it despite its simplistic stories, treatment and poor technical expression. The demand and need grew.

In return, the output of making movies also increased and several people entered into the most lucrative end of the chain, ‘marketing/distribution’, which had its structure and nuances, as well as the art of churning out these movies in their numbers. And with this commercial instinct at the back of the minds of these marketers or executive producers, coupled with the sales they were making, it was rather not important to look at those elements that transform or help in making a good film. They were not bothered about professionalism. This has been one major criticism of our movies – quality – back in the days. But a lot has changed since the early beginnings of Nollywood. Our films have transcended poor quality to world class quality, as we see it these days.

But why and how did Nollywood capture the imagination of many. Like I said, a new ‘viewing public’ emerged with the coming of Nollywood. Let us critically look at that audience and see how they played (and still do play) an important role in the ‘dynamics of economics’ of the distribution network.

From my personal research all these years and as a participant in the industry, I have come to realize that we have two kinds of audiences:

The critical (intellectual) audience

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This is what I call the ‘You’ and ‘I’ audience. These people are like you and I, who are learned (or seemingly learned), quite intellectual with a passion for the arts or good entertainment, including good movies. They are those who have seen a lot of foreign movies from Hollywood to Bollywood and understand the ethics of making great films. These are people who get ‘insulted’ by the simplistic nature and crudeness of our films. The lack of details infuriates them and are they are so ashamed to recognize anything good in Nollywood movies. Some of them try to understand the pressure and difficulties these filmmakers go through to make their films and are ready to forgive these exigencies and lack of professionalism, but it still doesn’t change their attitude and opinion of subdued resentment of these films.

But you would notice that most people in this category of critical audience, back in the days, would not buy a film with their money, no matter how cheap it is, or like it is these days, not go to the cinemas often. Even if they do, their minds are usually made up on what they expect to see and they are quick to judge us by ’Hollywood standards’, undermining the fact of budget and other factors we face as filmmakers in this clime.

They would only watch these films by bumping into it on Cable TV or on terrestrial television and, lately, some manage to subscribe to streaming platforms and a lot more of them patronize pirate sites where our films have become a target of platforms like Telegram.

They are good with the criticism and nothing pleases them. They do not help to put money in the pockets of the filmmakers to at least encourage them. These are the ones I call ’critical audience’.

…to be continued