DCS Events, organisers of the Emerging Cinema Markets Conference at the Grand Tarabya Hotel in Istanbul (19th – 21st November) have announced further details of the dedicated Africa sessions and speakers at the conference – Spotlight on Nigeria and West Africa.


Africa is the world’s second largest and second most-populous continent. It covers 6% of Earth’s total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.3 billion people and a median age of 19.7 years as of 9th October 2019 (and set to double by 2050), it accounts for 16.72% of the world’s human population, but currently a nominal amount of the global box office.


Nigeria is the key regional player in West Africa, with an English-speaking population of approximately 197 million, which accounts for about 47% of West Africa’s population, and has one of the largest populations of youth in the world.


Nigeria and West Africa is a vastly under-screened area, with only 1 screen per 1.5 million people.


Ghana sits on the Atlantic Ocean and borders Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. It has a population of about 30.6 million (2019). Ghana consistently ranks in the top three countries in Africa for freedom of speech and press freedom, with strong broadcast media, and radio the medium with the greatest reach. Factors such as these provide Ghana with solid social capital.


Liberia is one of the youngest countries in the world with a median age of 18.9 years and a total population of 4.9 million (2019). With only 1 cinema and 4 screens, Liberia is greatly under-screened. George Weah, the former Chelsea, AC Milan player named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995, is the current president of Liberia.


  • The Big Picture have focused on twenty of the fifty-four African countries with significant prospects for growth and a current population of 961m people
  • 421 million of these are English speaking; 193 million French; 188 million are Arabic and 60 million speak Portuguese.
  • By 2050 as much as 40 per cent of the population in the world could be African, and the continent already has the second largest population on earth.
  • 10% of all births worldwide are projected to be in Nigeria.
  • There is only 1 screen per 1 million people Africa currently
  • Just 1 IMAX cinema (Nigeria) for 394 million people in West Africa


With 70% of worldwide economic growth is forecast in Emerging Markets, ECM2019 will explore opportunities, the challenges (including technical and political) and how cinema suppliers, operators and producers can innovate and grow their businesses across the continent.


At the #AFSIC Conference in London earlier this year former Minister, Rory Stewart MP from the UK Dept for International Development said, “It’s going to be about people. It’s going to be about people on the ground. It’s going to be about people with experience of a particular country…and it’s on making sure that we trust those people, making sure we have the right type of trust”.


Rob Arthur, Founder and Director of DCS Events and Senior Consultant at The Big Picture says, “Cinema in Africa is the new frontier. It is critically important that the industry stakeholders work as a team to best manage the growth opportunities cross the continent. Transparency, Integrity, Trust and Compliance are key areas which will enable the development of cinemas in Emerging Markets and with all of the key industry stakeholders participating and attending ECM2019 it will enable a far greater understanding of the need for support and development.”


Olayemi Anyanechi, Managing Partner, Sefton Fross says,

“Nigeria has a large youthful population with a burgeoning cinema culture. In July and August 2019 alone, the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria reports a spend of approximately $3.33m in cinemas. This is despite the fact that there are a little above 200 screens to serve this large population. Clearly, there are significant opportunities for both local and foreign investment in cinemas in Nigeria.

Furthermore, there has been concerted campaign against piracy and other infringements of intellectual property rights by relevant stakeholders across the industry, and Nigeria continues to work assiduously to enhance the ease of doing business in the country, thereby creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. This is the time to take advantage of the opportunity to invest, and enjoy considerable returns”


Jared Murray-Bruce, Chief Executive Officer of Silverbird Film Distribution says, “Nigeria and West Africa as a whole are at a crucial inflection point, where we are ready to showcase ourselves on the world stage with growing Box Office success and rising admissions. With amazing local content and greater access to Hollywood hits we are proud to be on the forefront of the growing African Cinema market.”


Opeyemi Ajayi, Executive Vice President, Genesis Pictures says, “The Cinema Industry is evolving everyday with new innovation across the globe, Nigeria and West Africa are key players contributing to growth in the global market. We are continuously expanding and enhancing the cinema going experience with a range of great local and international content, leveraging latest technology and working with global partners. We believe there are massive untapped markets across West &Central Africa despite the rise of alternative platforms. This is in addition to improving current movie-going experience in major cities. Our aim is to continue to uncover such markets, delivering exceptional movie experiences for our audience. We look forward to showing our market to the world and are thrilled to be one of the major players in the Emerging African Cinema market”.


Moses Babatope, Co-Founder, Group Executive Director /Managing Director FilmOne FilmHouse Cinemas and FilmOne Distribution and Production, Nigeria added, “As a key player in one of the most dynamic emerging cinema markets, we always look forward to sharing our insights. The Nigerian (West African) market is growing rapidly from a very small base, so we believe that there is still huge potential for expansion and opportunities for filmmakers, exhibitors and other players across the industry. The Emerging Cinema Market conference gives us a great platform to articulate this potential to interested parties.”


The Emerging Market Pioneers recognise the extent of the challenges as well as the opportunities, such as government policies, piracy, technology standards, theatrical release practices, international trade practices and the lack of highly valued relationships within the industry at large – Challenges which are shared by counterparts across other Emerging Markets.


ECM2019 is a platform for the Emerging Cinema Markets to meet the International Stakeholders who are able to share in depth their knowledge and experience. Spotlight on Nigeria and West Africa will be hosted by Patrick von Sychowski, Editor, Celluloid Junkie on Thursday 21st November as part of the #ECMIstanbul Conference.