CASE STUDY - STRAIGHT-
DVDs continue to be a vital tool wherever decentralized, off-line
distribution is key.
Nollywood pioneered the straight-to-DVD production, bypassing the
centralized distribution via big-screen releases - mainly because there
are too few cinemas to rely on them for distribution, but also because
the entire film industry is built around the small-scale production made
possible by the (comparatively) low cost of digital technologies.
"I think Nollywood is so successful because it has already
anticipated and reacted to the future of moving image
distribution that the rest of the world, particularly Europe,
is yet to recognise. By this I mean that Nollywood has
understood that the distribution of information benefits
from freer, looser forms of control, and that the way
Nigerians distribute materials; by pirating, sharing, hosting
screenings, actually works in the service of the production
companies, rather than the other way around. By releasing
films straight to DVD, Nollywood has flooded the market
of African film and thereby ensured its dominance. This,
clearly, shows that the system works. It challenges the
European distribution model very profoundly."
Small scale screenings rather than cinema distribution suit a different
cultural context for viewing video. They are a better fit for cultures
where oral narratives are stronger.
DVDs are sold on the streets and
to cars in traffic and there is a widespread rental system. This
profusion of DVD a distribution medium creates a relatively level
playing field and low barriers to entry for young film makers and those
working on low budgets.