In our last Bizhive, a digital series that explores innovative industry trends in Nigeria and the continent, we have focused on the entertainment industry in Africa. We covered various topics, such as how The film by Editi Effiong, The Black Book, used tech startup style fundraising. And how Anita Eboigbe is leading the necessary conversations about Made in Nigeria films. Coincidentally, the Sony Group and the International Finance Corporation have launched a $10 million innovation fund to invest in the African entertainment scene. THE funds called Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, aims to support seed funding for early-stage startups in the entertainment industry in Africa, including startups in the gaming, music, film and content distribution sectors. However, despite these positive developments, there are not many local entertainment startups. Are African innovators missing opportunities in entertainment technology?
The entertainment space in Africa is explorable
The entertainment industry in Africa has enormous potential to create jobs, generate income and promote cultural diversity. UNESCO and the African Union Commission, report that the African film and audiovisual industries could create more than 20 million jobs and contribute $20 billion to the continent’s combined GDP. The entertainment industry is a promising sector with many opportunities for innovation and growth. Entertainment technology is a viable way to tap into the growing entertainment space. This encompasses the use of technology to create, distribute and consume entertainment content and services, such as video-on-demand platforms, music streaming services, mobile gaming applications and online ticketing systems .
Some local players are already integrating innovation into the African entertainment scene. These startups create and deliver content and services that appeal to local and global audiences, while solving some of the challenges and gaps that exist in the entertainment industry. Some of them revive and reimagine classic and iconic works of African entertainment. For example, Play networka Nigerian production company known for remaking some of the old Nollywood films that shaped the industry in the 1990s and 2000s, has launched a gaming app based on one of Nigeria’s most popular comedy duos, Aki and Pawpaw.
The case for entertainment technology
However, according to a report from Disrupt Africaonly 2% of the total funding raised by African startups in 2020 went to entertainment startups. In 2022, a total of $59,820,000 was raised by African entertainment startups in 2022, representing 1.8% of the overall total, up an impressive 416% from $11,590,000 (0.5% of the total) in 2021 Most funding comes from individual investors who support specific projects. rather than the companies that support them. Global streamers, Netflixand Amazon have also invested significantly in the space, allowing them to dominate the entertainment space in Africa. This further shows interest in entertainment technology in Africa. However, these global players may not be able to meet all of the specific needs of entertainment consumers.
A good example is the Nigerian startup Filmmakers market, an Airbnb for industry logistics. They aim to be a supermarket for everything you need to shoot your films, documentaries and commercials in Africa. Other potential markets include leveraging data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate insights into consumer behavior, preferences, trends and feedback for manufacturing companies . This information can help entertainment creators and providers optimize their content, marketing, pricing and distribution strategies. A bit like what Netflix Currently do. Streamers use data to recommend personalized content to their users and produce original shows and movies based on user demand.
Africa also offers opportunities for immersive and interactive experiences for consumers using technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, 3D audio, haptic feedback and gamification. These technologies can enhance the realism, engagement and enjoyment of entertainment content across various genres and formats. According to a report by Newzoo and Wear the 1st, two major players in Africa’s gaming sector, the gaming market in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2024, driven by the growing adoption of smartphones and mobile internet. Similarly, video-on-demand subscriptions in Africa are projected to reach 13.94 million by 2027, up from 4.89 million at the end of 2021, with revenues tripling from $678 million to $2 billion over the same period. Additionally, there is also a market for co-creation and co-consumption of entertainment content by allowing users to interact, communicate, share, comment, rate, review and remix content . Due to the increasing access to the internet and mobile devices in Africa. The continent had around 570 million internet users in 2022, a figure which, according to Statistmore than doubled compared to 2015.
PWC estimates that the entertainment and media industry in Africa will experience compound annual growth of 10.9%, reaching $40.7 billion by 2024. downscaling The presence of indigenous streaming leaders like IrokoTv may seem daunting, but the industry still faces many challenges and opportunities. Whatever aspect the innovators explore, there are opportunities for improvement and experimentation in this area. Perhaps now is the right time to prioritize entertainment technology in Africa.