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Video Boom: Nigeria and Ghana

Summary of Article by Jonathan Haynes, 2007

In this article Haynes discusses the rapid growth of video movie production in Ghana and Nigeria, an industry which he contends has become the great success story of the African continent and emblem of popular culture and social realities. The author attributes the boom of the video industry mainly to the general economic collapse in the 80s, which made celluloid film production extremely difficult. He traces the beginnings of video film production and distribution in Ghana and Nigeria, detailing the successes of landmark productions in the process. Nonetheless, the author highlights that in the beginning, such productions received harsh criticism for their low quality and simplistic themes, revolving around witchcraft and mainly banal imitations of melodramatic television serials. The author subsequently discusses the issue of piracy, a significant obstacle to the video business, which has been impinging on the profits and rights of the producers: government control, he contends, has not been enough and probably lacks the capacity to contain this phenomenon. It is equally Haynes’ contention that video production in Ghana, which had hitherto thrived in the business of theatre projections, has been somewhat impeded by television projections of the videos, which has considerably reduced theatre audiences.