Streaming Wars: Nigerian cinemas record 25.8% drop in attendance

According to ‘The Industry’, a quarterly report on the Nigerian film industry published by Inside Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry has recorded a record number of cinema audiences.

This quarter’s edition shows Nollywood’s market share and its evolution over the past year, the absence or absence of distributors and exhibitors, and the role of streaming in the scheme of things.

Unusual decline

Using available data, the publication puts Nollywood’s market share in cinemas at 25.8%, up from 39.3% in the first half of 2021.

It indicates that total cinema admissions remained at the same level of 1.49 million in both years, with 7,000 additional admissions recorded in 2022.

The report further revealed that the small increase in total admissions counted in favor of Hollywood titles, leaving Nollywood films to scramble for an even smaller percentage of viewers.

“The 2022 decline is an all-time low despite the industry’s seemingly steady streak over the past five years. Year after year, the industry had flirted with around 40% market share while Hollywood held a large part of the remaining 60%,” the report said.

Pandemic effect

The report reveals that in the first half of 2021, despite barely recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, it sold around 1,491,530 tickets, and Nollywood was able to land 964,523.

It accounted for around 39.3% of the market share, which it surprisingly failed to hold in 2022. In the first half of this year, out of the 1,498,934 tickets sold, Nollywood sold around 520,656, a decrease of 46% compared to the previous one. year.

“In 2021, headlines like ‘Omo Ghetto‘, ‘Prophetess’, ‘Day of Destiny’, ‘Breaded Life’ and ‘Ayinla’ danced with audiences in cinemas ahead of their eventual release on streaming platforms.

“They held their own against films like ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’, ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Fast and Furious 9’ among other middling Hollywood box office successes.

“In 2022, ten Nollywood films opened the year vying for space with ‘Spiderman: No Way Home’ which was in its third week. Nollywood’s top performers were ‘Christmas in Miami’, ‘Superstar’ and “Aki & PawPaw”, all of which were in the top five.

“As usual, the first eight weeks of the year are holiday movies ripping off the last bit of coins while new ones struggle to find a corner to cash in,” he says.

Nollywood’s declining market share

Citing the reasons for the decline, the report notes that apart from a booming economy, the introduction of streaming platforms, which seems cheaper, may have something to do with cinema viewership.

“That’s why when they find a movie that’s significantly less disappointing, they reward it with loyalty, hoping industry players will take notice.” There are two issues here. The first is that general cinema admission is not increasing.

“Over the past three years, excluding 2020, approximately 1.5 million tickets have been sold in the first half of each year. This is a number that stagnates each year with slight variations in market share between players,” the report adds.

He also describes Nollywood’s dwindling market share as alarming, given that it goes against the debate on multiple revenue streams and further slows down the process of acquiring clients for films in Nigeria.

Role of streaming platforms

According to the report, Nigerian movie audiences are starting to depend more on streaming to watch Nollywood movies, even though filmmakers, distributors and other stakeholders have a heavy hand in this new trend.

He says that in an effort to provide alternative revenue models, distributors have created a system in which films debut on the big screen and are then released on an online platform months later.

“For audiences, the wait is not unbearably long to watch a Nollywood movie, especially if expectations are low. This model is not wrong, as filmmakers need to protect themselves to get better returns.

However, it is the route for about 72% of Nollywood movies regardless of quality. It’s almost as if distributors, most of whom double as streaming aggregators, like to bet against themselves in theaters,” he says.

The report divides the Nigerian movie audience into different sects – Asaba (YouTube) movie audience, cable TV audience, cinema audience and streaming audience, further dividing it into Netflix versus Amazon.

“Sometimes these cults intersect, but data over the years has shown that an increasing number of web audiences are gorging on free web series and Asaba movies on YouTube. The other big chunk is streaming. , then cinemas,” he says.

Netflix accounts for 57.5% of the streaming audience, followed by Amazon Prime at 21.7%. Showmax represents 9.4%, leaving the others with 11.3% of the audience.


Most of the movies that opened in 2022 were spinoffs from last year, which is usual in theaters. Ten Nollywood movies opened the year battling for space with “Spiderman: No Way Home,” which was in its third week.

The top Nollywood players were ‘Christmas in Miami’, ‘Superstar’ and ‘Aki & Pawpaw’, all of which were in the top five. The first eight weeks of the year are overflowing holiday movies tearing up the last bit of coins as new ones struggle to find a corner to cash in.

In February, Nollywood tied Jennifer Lopez’s “Marry Me” with “Before Valentine” and “Dinner at my Place,” which performed slightly above average.

At the end of February 2022, they recorded 181,576 cinema admissions, including 47,413 in Nollywood. In comparison, they sold 186,128 tickets during the same period in 2021 and 166,120 went to Nollywood.

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