Entertainment, Nigeria’s next driver of economic growth

It has almost become a thing of the past when Nigerian movie producers make almost zero gain after producing blockbuster movies due to piracy and other factors stifling the industry. Undoubtedly, the Nollywood industry appears to have advanced in movie-making and the stakeholders are reaping the fruits of their labour.
  • It has almost become a thing of the past when Nigerian movie producers make almost zero gain after producing blockbuster movies due to piracy and other factors stifling the industry. Undoubtedly, the Nollywood industry appears to have advanced in movie-making and the stakeholders are reaping the fruits of their labour.

The Nigerian entertainment industry has never had it so good, in terms of prosperity. All its appendages have grown in leaps and bounds, to the extent that the revenue it generates can stand shoulder to shoulder with any other sector of the Nigerian economy.

From the music industry to the movie enclave called Nollywood, comedy, theatre and other associated arms, it has been a sing-song of success, not only pushing the country on the map of entertainment prosperous nations but also making us look good as a people of talent and veritable pop culture and art.

Since the resurgence of the cinema culture in Nigeria, there has been a fresh breath of life and figures become readily available.

With piracy practically thrown out of the window, and online or cinema distribution of content becoming the order of the day, film-makers and actors are smiling to the banks just as the overall well being of the industry has become vibrant and wholesome.

National Bureau of Statistics data indicate that the contribution of the arts, entertainment and recreation industry was not less than 4% from 2016 to 2021. The industry hit an all time low in 2020 where the percentage contribution to Nigeria’s GDP was -3%. The contribution to the GDP rose to 1.72% in 2021 indicating a growth of 3.40%.

Globally, the art and entertainment sector is impacted by technology and shifts in people’s consuming habits. A 2017 PwC report had predicted that the Nigerian Entertainment and Media industry will be the fastest growing in the world in the next five years with a CAGR of 12.1%.

Nigeria’s Nollywood is second only to Hollywood and has seen growth with increasing cinemas, lucrative partnerships with global players like Netflix, although some may argue that the growth is not holistic and representative of the entirety of the sector.


The report also identified issues like Inadequate skills and human capital, poor technology and movie making equipment, copyright infringements & piracy which are disincentive to investment, access to funds and weak Foreign Direct Investments, the lack of structure in the industry as well as inadequate project development & business planning as impediments to the potentials of the sector.


The Nigerian movie industry also known as Nollywood has been described by many stakeholders as the fastest growing movie industry in the world. With over N6 billion in revenue and more than 2,500 movies per year, Nigeria’s film industry can hold its head high with any other in the world, except those of India and the United States of America.

In fact, according to the statistics made available by Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria, Nollywood generated 6.94 billion in revenue in 2022.

The CEAN National President, Mr Opeyemi Ajayi, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos State. Ajayi said that there had been an appreciable increase in revenue generation in 2022 compared with the previous years.

“The box office raked in N4.74 billion in 2021, N2.1 billion in 2020, N6.4 billion in 2019, and N5.98 billion in 2018.

“For 2022, the increase in average ticket price led to revenue growth and admissions remained flat in the previous year.

“Nigeria continues to lead the recovery in Africa, post COVID on the back of strong local industry. Also, Hollywood continues to focus on African content and engagement is very positive for the box office.

“We observed that “Black Panther” is on track to become the first N1bn movie,” he said.

Ajayi said that for 2023 outlook, gross revenue and admissions were expected to grow by a minimum of 20 per cent.

He said some factors had been observed to drive growth in the new year as 5 cinemas were opened in the fourth quarter of 2022 and a minimum of 3 new locations were expected to open in the first half of 2023.

“This will be a positive addition to the box office,” he said.

He said that a 10 to 15 per cent increase in ticket prices would potentially drive box office revenue in 2023, because independent cinemas constituted 25 per cent of the market share at present, although they were faced with low ticket prices.

”Collaborations between Hollywood and Nollywood on content are expected to continue in the foreseeable future.

”And with the breakout success of big Nollywood movies such as Brotherhood, Battle on Buka Street, King of Thieves, to mention a few, 2023 is expected to have larger budget movies and potential release outside the West African territory,” he said.

Highest-grossing Nollywood films

Ajayi listed the 5 highest-grossing Nollywood films in 2022 as Brotherhood, King of Thieves, Battle on Buka Street, Ijakumo and Passport.

Rising profile of film-makers

It has almost become a thing of the past when Nigerian movie producers make almost zero gain after producing blockbuster movies due to piracy and other factors stifling the industry. Undoubtedly, the Nollywood industry appears to have advanced in movie-making and the stakeholders are reaping the fruits of their labour.

At the beginning of the year 2023, Film One Studios, a distribution and production company released a list of highest grossing film-makers and actors in 2022. The affluence of the list shows that film-makers are better off than in the old days of CD markets and the Alaba syndrome.

Though actors and producers may sing different tunes on the profitability of the industry, there’s no gainsaying that the movie business has risen to a high-profit margin within the last few years.

According to Film One, Jadesola Osiberu leads the pack of the Top 10 highest grossing producers with N328 million from her production of the film, Brotherhood. She is followed by Femi Adebayo (King of Thieve) and Funke Akindele (Battle on Buka Street) who grossed N320 million and N291 million respectively. The cumulative gross earning of the Top 10 is a little over N1.5 billion.

For the actors, male and female, gone is the era when the highest earner would be in the region of N5 million to N10 million. Things have changed, both in terms of quality of films and quality of earnings.

Film One also did a profiling of the highest grossing male and female actors in the year 2022.

Top male earners

For the male actors, the first three highest earners were Tobi Bakre, Folarin Falana (Falz) and O.C. Ukeje who raked N371M, 328M and N328M respectively. The combined earnings of the Top 10 amount to over N2.8 billion naira.

Top female earners

In the female actors category, the first three highest grossing stars in 2022 are Toyin Abraham, Mercy Johnson and Toni Tones with N424M, N377M and N328M respectively. The total earning of the total 10 came to a little over 2 billion naira.

Economic Implications

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of First Generation Mortgage Bank (FGMB), Dr. Young-Tobi Ekechi, once declared at Nollywood Technology and Security Summit, held in Abuja recently that Nollywood ranks second in the world after Hollywood with a financial value of over $6.4 billion, making it one of the fastest-growing movie industries in the world and one of the biggest employers of labour in the country.

He stated, “I can boldly state that today, the Nigerian film industry is now the most important platform for showcasing Nigeria’s arts and culture to the world. The recent launch of both the Amazon Prime and the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie in Lagos is a testament to the importance of the Nigerian film industry.”

“To put the financial impact of Nollywood on the socio-economic landscape in proper perspective, we must consider the known fact that the Nigerian movie industry is currently ranked the second largest film industry globally with the financial value of the film industry put at over $6.4 billion as of 2021.

“Furthermore, the job-creating potential inherent in the industry cannot be overstated as the industry currently employs over one million people, making it one of Nigeria’s largest employers. Its capacity to employ a large number of people has been applauded by the World Bank, who acknowledged the job creation potentials of Nollywood.”

The bank CEO said while the industry has continued to contribute to the socioeconomic development of Nigeria, it must also be used as a tool to launder the image of the country positively amongst the nations of the world.

Place of Entertainment in national economy

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives and now Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila has described the entertainment industry as the cornerstone of our national economy.

This is just as then Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, said Nollywood ranked as the second largest movie industry in the world and the largest in Africa, providing over one million direct employment and much more business openings in the sectoral value chain, within and outside the country.

The duo of Gbajabiamila and Elumelu made the assertions at the opening of a two-day Leadership Master Training for Nollywood celebrities and stakeholders in the movie Industry recently at the GOTNI Leadership Centre, Abuja.

Gbajabiamila assured the celebrities and stakeholders that the House of Representatives was ready to develop and advance practical, proposals to advance the cause of the entertainment industry and ensure that the industry continued to contribute to the socio-economic advancement of Nigeria.

The Music industry

Nigeria’s music industry, on the other hand, has yet to hit Nollywood’s numbers, but within less than a decade, it too, has become an exceptional global phenomenon: in London, capital of the second-largest music market in the world, the rise of what many call UK afrobeats or Afro Bashment, a mix of hip hop and African sounds largely Nigerian-inspired, has revolutionized the music industry across the country.

“Afrobeat is putting Nigeria on the global map in a positive light. When you think about Afrobeat, the first country you think of is Nigeria. The top Afrobeat artists are from here. Our music is one of our proudest exports,” said Falz the Bahd Guy, one of Nigeria’s foremost rappers, during an interview with TBY.

The industry has also gone from CD eras to streaming eras with streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Audiomack, Youtube, and Boomplay leading the way.

Based on the study conducted by Statista in Nigeria, the music sector’s revenue grew from 26 million US dollars in 2014 to 34 million dollars in 2018. This figure, according to the research and projection by Statista, is expected to grow to 44 million dollars by 2023.

The statistics from these studies reveal that the music industry possesses both the capacity to support millions of youths and generate considerable revenue for the economy.

This artist earns royalties, which refer to payments that are paid to recording artists, songwriters, composers, publishers, and other copyright holders for the right to use their intellectual property.

Here are the highest-earning Nigerian artists on Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube.


As for July 2022, Spotify’s highest most streamed artists are: Wizkid with 4.6 billion streamed, BurnaBoy with 3 billion, Ckay with 2 billion, Mr. Eazi with 1.4billion, and Davido with 1 billion based on Dataleum data.

According to a 2020 Business Insider report, artists earn as little as $0.0033 per stream which results in $3,300 per 1 million streamed.

Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid, is the most streamed artist on Spotify with over 4.6 billion streamed as of July 2022.

Based on BusinessDay calculation, $3,300 per 1million streams multiplied by $4,600 equals $15,180,000 million.

Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, professionally known as Burna Boy, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer. With 3 billion streamed on Spotify using $3,300 per 1 million streams multiplied by $3,000 equals to$9,900,000 million.

Chukwuka Ekweani, better known by his stage name CKay, 27 years old Nigerian artist with 2 billion streams on Spotify using $3,300 per 1 million streams multiplied by $2,equals to $6,600,000 million.

Oluwatosin Ajibade, better known as Mr.Eazi, is a Nigerian-born and Ghana-based singer with 1.4 billion streams on Spotify. Using $3,300 per 1million streams multiplied by $1,400 equals $4,620,000 million.

David Adedeji Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer with 1 billion streamed on Spotify using $3,300 per 1 million streams multiplied by $1,000 equals $3,300,000 million.


Most streamed Nigerian artists on AppleMusic have been compiled through chart position, topping the chart is Adekunle Gold, followed by Joeboy, Wizkid, FireboyDML, and Davido.

According to Apple Music insight, the average pay rate per stream is $0.01. This means per 1 million streams artists are paid the amount of $10,000.


The most viewed Nigeria 2022 Youtube videos are Rema, FireboyDML, BurnaBoy, KizzDaniel, and Ckay.

According to a variety of sources, Youtube pays $0.18 per view, $18 per 1,000 advert views, and $3 to $5 per 1,000 video views.

According to Apple Music insight, the average pay rate per stream is $0.01. This means per 1 million streams artists are paid the amount of $10,00

Comedy industry

The comedy industry as we used to know it, is in a bit of a lull. The industry which was dominated by stand-up comedians like Ali Baba, Basketmouth, I Go Dye, Gordons, Bovi and many others has not been up to scratch in holding its own in the entertainment sphere.

Despite the efforts of Ali Baba and subsequent contributions of other stand-up comedians, the Nigerian comedy industry has failed to build a structure, at least big enough to sustain it. It is interesting to note that most top stand-up comedians of last 90s and the 2000s have resorted to acting to sustain their relevance. Examples are AY Makun, Ali Baba, Basketmouth and a few others.

The dwindling status of stand-up comedy in Nigeria is contributing to its lack of relevance in the scheme of things in the larger entertainment space. Basketmouth admitted in 2019 that the art of stand-up comedy was dying in Nigeria, especially with comedians choosing to go the route of Instagram skits.

In fact, the comedy industry in Nigeria is being sustained by a wave of Instagram skit makers. The market which is unstable to say the least, lacks structure and proper identity. The market is heavily populated with viral Internet sensations, who rise and drop to prominence in the blink of an eye. Most of these successful comic acts eventually turn into online influencers, usually after the virality of their craft becomes inexistent.

Many of these comics don’t view comedy skits as an art, but rather an escape from unemployment, or other personal factors. This not only puts this creative form in the danger of extinction but also relegates it to the background, while Nigerian artists in other creative industries reach global recognition.

Meet top 8 Instagram skit makers in Nigeria

Broda Shaggi, Mr Funny, Cute Abiola, Taaooma and Brain Jotter have been ranked as the top five Instagram Skit makers in Nigeria, a recent report by Dataleum, a global talent accelerator shows.

The report titled ‘The Skit Making Industry in Nigeria’ also cited Lasis Elenu, Kie Kie and Mr Macaroni as the bottom three on the list according to Dataleum’s report.

Broda Shaggi (48 million views)

Samuel Animashaun Perry popularly known as Broda Shaggi is ranked the highest followed skit maker on Instagram with over 10 Million followers.

The 28-year-old whose popular phrase is ‘E shock you?’ had a whopping 48 million views on 73 skit videos posted in Q1 2022.

According to Dataleum, Shaggi who has grown massively over the years is responsible for up to 25 percent of the views of skit videos on this list.

Mr Funny (31 million views)

Mr Funny, whose real name is Chukwuemeka Emmanuel Ejekwu started skit-making and broke into the spotlight in 2019, after he decided to move to Lagos.

As at Q1, the 27-year-old comedian and actor posted 51 skit videos. “He had 31 million video views and although being the 6th most followed on the list, his content definitely appeals to a large majority of people, hence, the quality of engagements.”

Kie Kie (12 million views)

Bukunmi Adeaga-Ilori, popularly known as Kie Kie, is one of the most industrious and creative comedians in Nigeria’s entertainment industry while being a Nigerian TV personality, content creator, brand influencer, fashion stylist, and enthusiast.

The 27-year-old holds the number seven spot, raking in 12 million views in the first quarter of 2022 from her Instagram skit videos alone. Her ability to deliver a range of characters in her videos, either as a girlfriend or a tailor, shows that she can consistently choose from various categories of topics to create from.

Mr Macaroni (11 million views)

Adebowale Adedayo popularly known as Mr Macaroni carved a niche for himself in the Nigerian entertainment industry as the most popular sugar daddy in Nigeria.

The 29-year-old who’s his purple Agbada outfit and catch phrases like ‘Freaky Freaky’ and ‘Ooin! You’re doing well’ has become a huge part of his trademark making him become one of the most influential comedians in the industry.

“With over 2.6 million followers he is the 5th most followed skit-maker on our list, we must agree that our Sugar Daddy is a ‘Fantabulous’ Comedian and ‘Ooin’ he is ‘Doing Well’!!.”

Ayo Onikoyi
Vanguard Newspaper

Philip Soneye

Philip Soneye, the initiator of Motherland and many other online platforms. An American-Nigerian IT Innovation & Brand Strategy consultant, a website developer, programmer, retired IT lecturer and businesses investor.

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