The Sunday Mail
Bollywood India — US$1,3 billion industry. India population 1.2 billion.
Nollywood Nigeria — US$250 million industry. Nigeria population 169 million.
Zimbabwe Entertainment industry? Zimbabwe population 13 million.
A population of 13 million is considerably small in terms of providing a sustainable market of entertainment consumers. Cut this figure further into respective entertainment segments, that leaves you with an even smaller market.
True to any sustainable industry, consumers must have buying power, and the pressure for them to have buying power is elevated if the market is small in population.
Does the consumer in Zimbabwe have buying power?
The final consumer covers the cost for every penny spent along the value chain. In film, that means the final purchase by the consumer is where the money that pays the camera crew comes from.
In music, it means that the final purchaser pays for the hours charged by the music engineer. A value chain is important for anything with quality, right? A good movie is a pile of value addition by professionals that bring different skills to the project (make-up, camera crew, wardrobe, studio…). I’m sure we can agree that quality in our industry is what we want; so no short cuts.
I used Bollywood and Nollywood, which are models for indigenous entertainment industries. Both are in countries with much larger populations than Zimbabwe. A larger market means perhaps you can cut your prices and make it up from larger volumes. In a smaller Zimbabwean market, there’s pressure to charge the consumer for the “whole” price of your product, unless we get active again in exporting our products. Can we export sungura?
Zimbabwe, like any other small consumer market, is a “you do well, I do well” environment. Our success is tied to our fellow citizen’s success. A rise in income and buying power gives you a more sustainable market for your product.
Hence a recurring concern to most of our national issues, especially this one about an indigenous entertainment industry, comes back to how we are going to attend to increasing income levels and consumer buying power? If we are to have an entertainment industry, this is the ultimate determinant.
With this analysis in mind we must ask ourselves, as a local market of consumers, are we a viable market?