So if you’re part of Nigeria’s new ‘gossip only’ lane, you would think the biggest news from the stables of one of its biggest movie stars is that photo of her son’s engagement. Because how is it possible that this woman who never ages already has a son that grown, who’s soon to be married? And there is a lot to celebrate with Omoni on. Her excitement was palpable.
But it’s also her work that’s the big news. And in particular her work on YouTube. For months and years, YouTube has rivalled paid streamers as the site of some of the finest addictive Nollywood viewing. Nollywood as it is in its essence, no finery and cameras. Just the stories and the over-the-top acting.
Chinneylove Eze, Rith Kadiri, and even the teenage Ada Kirikiri have minted dollars out of making people like Maurice Sam, Daniel Effiong and Uche Montana into superstars with the mass audience.
Omoni Oboli gets late into the game – in December of 2023 – but just as she did with blockbuster cinema runs, she is already in the front lane here, with millions of views for her new movies.
The service though is that she has now legitimized what has always been an important part of the Nollywood system, free to air affordable films that by pass gatekeepers and are sustained by the audiences.
As people remain consumed by the part-exit of Amazon and existential dread hits would be Nollywood investors, it’s important for them to see clearly that the power of Nollywood remains its audience and filmmakers who know how to connect with the audience will always find sustainability.
There are many models in this market.