Veteran Nigerian filmmaker, Tunde Kelani has long been a vocal opponent of piracy (specifically of Nigerian films), which continue to eat into his (and other Nigerian filmmakers’) profits – a problem I’ve highlighted in past posts, which is major problem for Nollywood movies, especially when they leave Nigeria and travel the international marketplace, where the filmmakers lose control, and thus income.
To that end, he has seized control of his library of work, and launched what he calls an online TV network where all his past (and future) films and TV work (and the work of others who want to join in his efforts) will reside for fans, or any interested parties, to watch.
The new online platform, which officially opened for business on Friday, August 7, will be "a new online destination for African cultural-themed content" available for viewers globally (not just in Nigeria), and can be accessed on all devices with broadband web connectivity (including, of course, mobile devices).
“It is an attempt to respond to the yearnings of our teeming fans of rich African themed content on the go. Distributing films or other content physically are becoming increasingly difficult; revenues are lost on a daily basis and content owners are at the mercy of the menacing activities of pirates. I think it is just natural, expedient and sensible to take content closer to the consumers on demand, and in terms that suit all the parties involved,” Kelani said.
Kelani has urged all other content owners to get on board.
Currently, there isn’t much on the site, which is available at TundeKelani.tv, but what is there at the moment (some of the filmmaker’s past work) can be watched entirely for free. One would assume that, in time, as he updates the site with fresher content, a subscription fee will be charged.
So consider this only the start of something that could blossom in time. Kelani will have competition though, as there are already several streaming platforms with extensive catalogs of Nigerian films and TV series, so he’s entering a space that, quite frankly, is getting full. Of course, in his case, what will separate his service from others is access to his work specifically, which he owns, and will likely make all future films and TV series he produces exclusively available on his platform alone. Assuming he can bring other content creators on board to do the same, he may have something there over the long term.