Animation in Nigeria A Study
The Partners The white paper was developed by Tayo Fasunon under the auspices of Quadron Studios for the Franco-German cultural fund managed by the Institut' Francais and the Goethe Institut.
Author Bio Tayo Fasunon is a poet, animation director, 3d generalist and songwriter. He is a cofounder at Quadron Studios, a ﬁrm that develops animated adverts from concept to screen as well as AR/VR experiences, visual effects, games and other computer generated content; based in Lagos Nigeria. Under the Quadron Studios label, he has worked on numerous animated commercials for multinationals and startups alike within the African industrial space. As ﬁlmmaker and digital artist, he has been instrumental in the development of the Nigerian animation scene playing crucial roles in pivotal animated short ﬁlms and animated series such as the viral short ﬁlm "Ovie and Wale" on which he was screenwriter and co-director, the "National Cake" animated web series on which he was director and cg generalist, "Chief Okoro" a viral skit, amongst others. Tayo earned an MBA from the University of Lagos Business School with a focus on Marketing and maintains a keen interest in the economics of the arts.
Acknowledgements This report could not have been conducted without the input of several individuals and institutions who selﬂessly gave of their time and resources in support of our efforts to document the past, present and possible future of the Nigerian animation industry. Special thanks to the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Jerome Pasquier and the German Ambassador to Nigeria Dr. Bernhard Schlagheck who lead the respective countries' diplomatic efforts in Nigeria.
Special thanks to Yoann Talhouarne whose ﬁrm but patient guidance helped in no small measure to direct my efforts in developing the document. Many thanks to Marina Lacal, Aude Urcun, Aurellien Sennacherib and the entire team at Institut Francaise who supported me wholeheartedly with correspondence and other logistical support during the Abuja animation roundtable meet-up. Special thanks to Director Charles Courdent and the entire team at Alliance Francaise. Special thanks to Möschel Friederike, Director of the Goethe institut. Thanks to the entire team at Goethe Institut, especially Derin Ajao whose well timed emails were very illuminating. Special thanks to Victor Ekwalor of Techpoint who provided signiﬁcant editing and research support. Special thanks to Remi Olutimayin. Special thanks to Kelechi Ibekwe, and Somtochukwu Ezeani for their work in graphics design on the document. Special thanks go to the team at Quadron Studios for the logistical support during the production of the document. Special thanks to Iyanu Ogunsola and Chika Ochonogor. Special thanks to my darling wife Yetunde Fasunon, who proof-read the document to weed out my many mistakes. My Special thanks go to Kelechi-Amadi-Obi, Mr. Tunde Soyinka, Chief Wale Adenuga, Mr. Wale Adenuga (Jr), Mrs Bola Oguntola, Mr. Claude Mwamba, and Mr. Michael Williams. This report could not have been made without the animation founders who opened their books and shared their ongoing experience in order to help achieve the goals of the project: Niyi Akinmolayan, Uche Anisiuba, Richard Oboh, Harry Dunkwu, Seven Mbuotidem, Jide Olusanya, Kolawole Olanrewaju, Adebisi Adetayo, Adamu Waziri, Oj Okosuns, Ayodele Elegba, Mr. Muyiwa Kayode, Stephen Shima, Mo’ Sa’id, Johnson Sparks, Omale Manasseh, Joshua Nnabuchi, Suleiman Suraj,
Ganiyu Rufai, Aniete Brendan, Ola Oyo, Collins Godwin, Ebube Mokwe, Bashir Akere, Mariam Kwairanga, Seyi Oyekoya, Uche Ejem, Twamsen Danaan, Joseph Leo dillas, Harold Ukpai and Seyi Bilewomo. My heartfelt thanks go to Sen Deboh of the Animation West Africa Foundation and Ebele Okoye of The Animation Club Africa for creating richly interactive online communities for animators and other digital artists from the sub-region. My thanks also go out to the Institutions that contributed in one way or the other to the success of the project: The Institut Francais, the Goethe Institut, the ofďŹ ce of the Federal Ministry of Communication, MJot Studios, Orange Vfx Studios, Basement Animation, Anthill Studios, Third Academy of Art and Design, Sporedust Animation, USP Brands, Carbon Animation, Quartermax Studios, EVCL, Mo City Digital, InďŹ nite Aesthetics Studios, Bluelight Studios, National Film Institute, Digital Development Hub, Filmneering Animation, Ebony Life Movies, Spoof Animation, Lagos Comic Convention, Jawbone Studios, Filament Consulting and Artfrocentric Media. It would be impossible to mention everyone who played some part or the other in realizing this white paper. As it is often said, "It does take a village to raise a child"; my heart-felt gratitude goes out to the entire global village that helped to bring this document to life.
Tayo Fasunon Quadron Studios @quadronstudios www.quadronstudios.com
Table of Contents
21 21 22 23 23 23 24 24 25 25 25 26 26 27 27 28 28
28 29 29 29 34 34 35 35 36 37 40 40 40 41 42 42 44 45
C O N T E N T S
CURRENT STATE OF THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY LEGAL STRUCTURES INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY TRADEMARKING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY TRAINING SELF TRAINING AS A PHENOMENON INTERNSHIPS AND OTHER ON-THE-JOB TRAININGS DEVELOPING SOFT SKILLS FOR NEW ENTRANTS SPECIALIZATION AND EXPERTISE AN AMERICAN TEMPLATE ANIMATION TRAINING PROGRAMS IN NIGERIA THE EVOLUTION OF TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES IN NIGERIA AVAILABILITY OF LABOR FOR ANIMATION PROJECTS INDUSTRY-WIDE DEFICIENCIES IN SPECIFIC ROLES HUBS AND ACCELERATORS CURRENT CHALLENGES COLLABORATIONS WITH ESTABLISHED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND THE LINK WITH THE NIGERIAN ANIMATION INDUSTRY NON-TECHNICAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FOR THE ANIMATION SECTOR BUSINESS SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FOR THE ANIMATION SECTOR ANIMATION WORKSHOPS AND FILM FESTIVALS THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY SUPPLY CHAIN PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THE GROWTH OF THE ANIMATION ADVERTISING INDUSTRY PERCEPTION OF ANIMATION FOR ADVERTISING COST OF ANIMATION FOR ADVERTISING IN NIGERIA COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE OF ANIMATION STUDIOS SUPPLY CHAIN OPPORUTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES THE ANIMATION SUPPLY CHAIN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT MARKETING OF ANIMATION OPERATIONS DISTRIBUTION FINANCE SUPPLY OF LABOR PECULIARITIES OF THE GEOPOLITICAL ZONES
1 2 3 5 7 9 10 12 13 19
T A B L E
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY VITAL STATISTICS INTRODUCTION ANIMATION IN NIGERIA: A STUDY HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF ANIMATION IN NIGERIA THE COMIC ARTISTS ADVERTISING AND ANIMATION YOLE AKINNAWO- ANIMATOR ONE THE SECOND WAVE-THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOM THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE EVOLUTION OF THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY
Table of Contents 47 47 48 49 50 50 50 51 51 52 52 52
THE ANIMATION ECOSYSTEM TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS FOR THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY SWOT ANALYSIS OF THE NIGERIAN ANIMATION INDUSTRY NEED FOR MASSIVE SCALE ANIMATION EDUCATION REPOSITIONING IN THE ANIMATION ADVERTISING SPACE NIGERIAN ANIMATION: WRITING OUR OWN NARRATIVE
59 60 61 61 61 63 67 68
C O N T E N T S
55 56 56 57 57 57
BIBIOGRAPHY APPENDIX I APPENDIX II
54 54 55
CREATIVE LABS GAME DEVELOPMENT AR/ VR CONTENT GOVERNMENT ACTION THE CHINESE EXAMPLE TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE ANIMATION INDUSTRY SUPPORT FOR INNOVATION HUBS ADDRESSING THE FUNDING PROBLEM SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR THE NIGERIAN ANIMATION PRODUCER NON-GOVERNMENTAL INTERVENTIONS
T A B L E
DEMAND FOR ANIMATED CONTENT DEMOGRAPHIC AND SOCIAL DRIVERS THE ANIMATION VALUE CHAIN MERCHANDIZING OPPORTUNITIES TELEVISION THE NIGERIAN TELEVISION AUTHORITY OTHER BROADCASTERS PAY TV OPERATORS IN NIGERIA SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS VIDEO ON DEMAND (VOD) PLATFORMS CINEMA VFX SERVICE TO NOLLYWOOD VFX SERVICE TO OTHER MARKETS CO-PRODUCTIONS
Executive Summary The white paper produced by Quadron Studios for the Franco-German cultural fund offers a broad based overview of the Nigerian animation industry. It catalogs the history of the animation practise in Nigeria, current activities within the industry and the economic climate in which they are being carried out. It goes ahead to recommend steps to address the existing gaps that have hitherto held the industry back from fulﬁlling its potential. It highlights the major players within the industry, and paints a hypothetical picture of an expanded industry which, more than a labor supplying community, operates at sufﬁcient scale to hold onto its intellectual property rights and exploits the downstream revenues they potentially hold. It also highlights the various stakeholders in a successful animation industry, with suggestions on how these stakeholders can secure their places in the history books of the emerging Nigerian animation industry. The document is coming at a time when Nigeria is making its presence felt as an emerging force in the entertainment and media arena. According to PWC’s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2017-2021, "Nigeria will be the world’s fastest growing entertainment and media market. In fact, the most rapid growth rates in the entertainment and media arena will be in less developed markets and economies, where the entertainment and media spending per capita is generally quite low. "
Vital Statistics Currency:
362.05 naira to USD1
Age Distribution: 0-14 years:
42.54% (male 41,506,288/female 39,595,720)
19.61% (male 19,094,899/female 18,289,513)
30.74% (male 30,066,196/female 28,537,846)
3.97% (male 3,699,947/female 3,870,080)
65 years and over:
3.13% (male 2,825,134/female 3,146,638) (2017 est.)
Estimated Population 2025:
233,691,888 [Source: populationpyramid.net]3
PayTV Subscription (2015):
PayTV Subscription (2018):
PayTV Subscription (2021 projected):
Mobile Internet Penetration:
83% [Source: Nigeria.opendataforafrica.org]
E&M CAGR 2017:
12.1% [Source: pwc.com]
Number of Cinema Screens:
PRODUCTION COSTS Average Cost of 60 seconds of Animation for advertising: N1.6 million (Approx. $4654)
http://www.cbn.gov.ng/rates/exchratebycurrency.asp https://www.indexmundi.com/nigeria/demographics_profile.html 3 https://www.populationpyramid.net/nigeria/2025/ 4 https://www.statista.com/statistics/505607/pay-tv-subscribers-nigeria/ 5 https://www.statista.com/statistics/505607/pay-tv-subscribers-nigeria/ 6 https://www.statista.com/statistics/183849/internet-users-nigeria/ 2
“Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.”
- Ben Okri Around the world, the name "Nigeria" evokes a plethora of feelings, memories and realities. Among them the revolutionary voice of legendary Afrobeat god FelaAnikulapo-Kuti, feel-good sound of generations of artists after him that have created sounds the world dances to. Nigeria reminds you of Nollywoodthat fast rising, second largest producer of feature ﬁlms (by volume) in the world. You cannot think of Nigeria without thinking Jollof rice and other mouth watering dishes. On the other hand, the pessimistic may also remember ubiquitous "Nigerian Princes" lurking in the shadows of the internet. These days, animation has become a new thing that is synonymous with Nigeria. Like a newborn, this „golden child is slowly taking magical baby steps; stumbling, wobbling and falling, but surely moving. The Nigerian animation industry has been the proverbial rose that grew from concrete; driven by the passion of a youthful population that have grasped the opportunity that technology presents with both hands. Individual artists and entrepreneurs -- creatpreneurs if you will -- who in their childhoods were themselves enthralled and inspired by
cartoons from the US and Japan, found within their reach the technology to create their own universes and with minimal formal or institutional support, the phenomenon of the Nigerian animation was born.
ANIMATION AS A GLOBAL BUSINESS
Though animation can be regarded as a subsector of the ﬁlm industry, it is distinct from ﬁlm in its production cycle and required developmental technology, as well as consumption. Unlike ﬁlm, animated visual language is more accessible to audiences outside of its originating culture, and content can be more believably dubbed into other languages, so that the viewing experience is better preserved, even when broadcasted in territories that have little prior exposure to the culture and region of original production. Japanese animation has greatly proﬁted from these attributes. Originally created for the local audience, their television series have over the last forty years successfully been globally distributed to non- Japanese speaking territories. Such has been its inﬂuence in popular culture that entire generations have learnt Japanese phrases solely from their contact with these cartoons. The Nigerian animation industry aspires to similar levels of cultural impact.
ANIMATION IN NIGERIA
EUROPE ARTIC OCEAN
AFRICA SOUTH AMERICA
ANIMATION AS A GLOBAL BUSINESS
$239 BILLION in global revenue
Animation in Nigeria: A Study PURPOSE & OVERVIEW
It is also to highlight the gaps between the practice of animation in Nigeria and what obtains in other cultures that have enjoyed more signiﬁcant success, with a view to understanding the similarities and gleaning lessons from them. Finally, it seeks to provide immediate answers to the question: "where can we go from here and how can we get there?"
SCOPE OF PAPER The development of animation industries across the world has been supported by cultural clusters and the Nigerian experience is no exception to this phenomenon. The white paper, in order to simplify the Nigerian industry has divided the country into the North and South zones. This was based on the assumption that the drivers of growth in the two zones are sufﬁciently different as to make a one-size-ﬁts- all approach to understanding them ineffective. A more extensive research project would address the uniqueness of each of the 36 states of the Nigerian federation.
I N T R O D U C T I O N
This white paper is to provide an intending stakeholder with an insider's perspective on the nascent animation industry in Nigeria, its history, evolution and growth. It is to explore and lay bare the stark reality of various facets of its current practice, taking into consideration the opportunities that lie within as well as its challenges.
Secondary data was obtained from the internet.
I N T R O D U C T I O N
Primary Data was obtained by the administration of questionnaires to 20 animation studio leaders by means of telephone interviews. In addition, two meet-ups were organised featuring cohorts of 18 and 20 key players in the animation industry from Lagos and Abuja respectively in order to obtain data on the present practise of animation in Nigeria. In addition, certain key individuals in the history of animation were sought out and interviewed.
06 Property of Highbreed Animation
History & Evolution of Animation in Nigeria THE NEWSPAPER CARTOONIST In order to chronicle the progress of the Nigerian animation industry, we will have to travel beyond animation itself, into the art scene that preceded it. Caricature as a form of art had existed in Nigeria before the arrival of the colonists- the Efe and the Gelede in Western Nigeria are notable examples dating as far back as the 19th century. However, the cartoon we have in the present time is a product of contact with Western culture which brought with it the advent of newspapers that provided the breeding ground for the phenomenon that became the Nigerian cartoon.Ganiyu A. in his journal: The role of Editorial cartoons in the Democratisation process in Nigeria (2011, 21)7 pointed out that Akinola Lasekan or 'Lash' as he came to be known, under the employ of the NnamdiAzikiwe's West African Pilot, was the ﬁrst Nigerian newspaper cartoonist who pioneered a season of activist draughtsmanship that played an important role in shaping popular opinion in the early days of Nigeria's independence. AkinolaLasekan (1916-1974), a graphic artist, illustrator, teacher, textile designer and painter became famous as a result of his political cartoons, featured in the 'West African Pilot', a newspaper established in 1937, this paper was founded by Nnamdi Azikiwe (1904- 1996). In those days, the cartoonist was a soldier with a pencil, and this was ﬁtting as nationalist sentiments were high as Nigeria emerged as an independent nation state. The tension didn't last much longer after Lash left the scene though, as newspapers turned their attention to less controversial material such as action adventures and comic strips, having discovered that there was an audience for the cartoons on their own merit. Thus the newspapers provided a platform for a thriving collective of illustrators to project their art onto the Nigerian scene and an unofﬁcial breeding ground for the next generation of concept artists who would later ﬁnd their way into such advertising agencies.
Ganiyu, A. The Role of Editorial Cartoons in the Democratisation Process in Nigeria: A study of Selected Works of Three Nigerian Cartoonists: Dissertation. com, 2011
History & Evolution of Animation in Nigeria THE COMIC ARTISTS Meanwhile, a young Wale Adenuga was honing his storytelling skills as the creative director of the campus magazine of the University of Lagos. Upon graduation, he promptly launched the genre-deﬁning comic magazine Ikebe Super, which went on to sell over 500,000 copies every week; making him a millionaire. The dominance of Ikebe Super was such that the Ghanaian parliament once had to ban its sale in Ghana to rescue the local magazines from annihilation! Wale Adenuga, having struck the gold vein, did not stop at comics. He went ahead to make a movie "Papa Ajasco" which became one of Nigeria’s ﬁrst blockbuster hits- grossing about 8 64,000 (approx. 44.2 million as at 2015 when adjusted for inﬂation) in three days. The success of the Ikebe Super magazine heralded a golden age of Nigerian comics and the big players took notice. Daily Times created Funtimes, their own weekly comic publication, and Wale Adenuga himself followed up on the success of his Ikebe Super with Super Story, a more serious comic magazine, then Benbella and Lulu, and then Binta, a magazine targeted towards children. Insight communications, one of the foremost indigenous advertising agencies in Nigeria 9 collaborated with renowned illustrator Tunde Soyinka to create the Cartoonist , a highly sophisticated compendium of satirist cartoons from all over Nigeria. It was tasteful in its packaging and international in its outlook, within a few months achieving distributor ship in territories as far as France. The scene was thriving until the military government of the day devalued the naira. Following this devaluation, the comic industry of the eighties which had risen like a phoenix fueled by the purchasing power of the Nigerian population, sputtered and ﬂoundered under the dual weight of reduced consumer spending and production costs that suddenly skyrocketed. So the heyday of Nigerian comics came to an abrupt end. The discerning listener might ask: So what became of The Cartoonist, insulated as it was by its international reach? Well, the military government of the time found its jokes increasingly uncomfortable, and went after the founders- but this is not a document about social activism so that story will have to be told another day. … and the Ajasco comics? they found another life as one of Nigeria’s most successful sitcoms.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Age_of_Nigerian_Cinema allafrica.com/stories/200310310102.html 10 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papa_Ajasco 9
History & Evolution of Animation in Nigeria ADVERTISING AND ANIMATION As the sun suddenly set on the day of the comic, the illustrators who plied their trade in that industry found themselves in a quandary over where to work and were welcomed with open arms by the advertising industry which was reinventing itself and would need the vision of these illustrators -- who became known as Art Directors. Till today, the advertising industry still plays a huge role in the animation industry in Nigeria. Of the studios interviewed in the course of the development of this paper, 50% admitted that the advertising services was their biggest revenue earner. Back in the day, the advertisers' large budgets and freedom from local manpower constraints, gave these art directors free imaginative rein and they subsequently brought great commercials to life, producing such spectacles as the Super Visco advert and the animated spot for PURITOP, a disinfectant. South Africa also became a primary supplier of animation for the Nigerian advertising market, selling content at jaw dropping amounts that somehow made their way into the grapevine. It is from this grapevine that the aspiring Nigerian animator crawled, with a singular objective to upstage the South Africans and bring the outsourced Nigerian business back home.
Property of Orangevfx Studios
11 Property of Orangevfx Studios
History & Evolution of Animation in Nigeria YOLE AKINNAWO - ANIMATOR ONE In the mid-eighties, when the comic industry began its decline, a young Yole Akinnawo, then a student at the University of Lagos, bought a Commodore 64 computer. He’d learnt about the wonders of graphics design. These were the days before "Toy Story" was ever made and computer graphics were still in their early states. Practising in his room, he would execute design projects for free, building his skills and his resume in the process. Over the years he taught himself how to use the 3D application Lightwave and subsequently marketed his services to advertisers who were amazed that in 1989, a 3D animator existed in Nigeria. Hear Phillip Trimnell, one of the foremost content producers of the day on the young Yole. "I met Yole probably in the late eighties. At that time, animation was like magic to so many 11 people. We thought it was totally impossible. Then for one minute of animation you paid ﬁve thousand pounds, so it was like something we didn’t even think about when it comes to television commercials. But from the ﬁrst time I met Yole, we saw the possibility of doing animation." - Philip Trimnell. As time went by, Yole mentored other artists like Wole Aduwo and with his Mind Vision Studios, successfully pioneered the production of animation in Nigeria.
The Second Wave: The Beginning of the Boom During the 1996 Olympics, Mind Vision Studios showed Nigeria what would be the ﬁrst piece of 3D animation created by Nigerians for a Nigerian audience. The graphics were by today's standards rudimentary, but the reception was ecstatic. The studio went on to rule the Nigerian airwaves, creating television commercials and smiling to the bank. A young Stanlee Ohikuare, a graduate of Fine Arts from the University of Benin, was a part of the team at the time. (It's 1999) and Lagbaja, the iconic masked musician had recorded his sophomore album. He commissioned Ibrahim Ganiyu of IC Studios12 to create what would come to be the ﬁrst animated music video for his satirist song "Surulere". It was a smash hit and helped establish the artist in the minds of the Nigerian audience. Not long afterwards, Stanlee Ohikuare who by now had cut his teeth with the animation pioneer Yole Akinnawo set about making Nigeria's ﬁrst feature ﬁlm "Lifespan"13. It was a tale centered around a mosquito that he would later come to admit was overly ambitious. Obinna Owuewue continued the trend with the 14 "Ijoya" music video which helped reintroduce the rap artist Weird MC, capturing the attention of the Nigerian public in the process. His attempt to follow up with a feature 15 ﬁlm "Chika and the Warriors" , was welcomed
with signiﬁcant anticipation. Nnamdi Nwoha was an undergraduate at the University of Lagos when he, in company of his friend Femi discovered a shared interest in animation. Femi in 2007 developed the concept for a children's cartoon called "Coconut Island"16and in collaboration with Nnamdi, produced a trailer for the pilot episode. After several unsuccessful attempts at getting funding to further develop the concept, Femi walked away from the animation scene altogether. Nnamdi, without his former teammate founded Elfworks animation and developed the web series "Our Own Area!", along with Remi Olutimayin, a voice director. While Femi and Nnamdi were making their marketing rounds in 2008, Shina Ajulo, Ekene Ape and their team of passionate artists were developing what would be the ﬁrst Nigerian anime. It was called "Chicken Core". They released a motion comic in 2008, which though well received, suggested that an animated short would be needed to get them through to their next phase. They immediately set about this, and in 2010, released "Chicken Core: The Rise of 17 Kings" , the ﬁrst animated short ﬁlm featuring anthropomorphic animals. It cast a spotlight upon the Nigerian animation scene,
http://farabaleweekly.com/2017/02/23/roll-call-whos-who-of-whos-going-to-be-at-thefirst-ever-comic-connect-africa/ 13 http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/stanley-ohikhuare-set-to-release-firstnigerian-animation-movie.html 14 https://topcelebrities.com.ng/weird-mc-speaks-on-her-life/ 15 http://animationprogram.blogspot.com.ng/2010/12/african-company-takes-ondisney.html 16 http://paulacallus.blogspot.com.ng/2009/10/coconut-island-more-from-lagosnigeria.html 17 http://innovation-village.com/nigerian-animation-studio-sporedust-media-joinsanimaster-academy-as-industry-partner/
with notable mentions from Cartoon Brew and Variety.com- American blogs pleasantly surprised by the animation output from an unexpected source. The late 2000s were a race to be ﬁrst, and studios outdid themselves in order to write their names in history as the pioneers of the industry. One of the players was a young director called NiyiAkinmolayan, who set about creating the ﬁrst Nigerian sci-ﬁ/visual effects driven movie in 2009 and released with the title Kajola. While Kajola demonstrated that such a feat was in fact possible, it also showed that perhaps the technology, or local manpower available at the time, wasn't ready for such a venture as the movie was wholly rejected by an atypically critical Nigerian audience. Niyi writes of the movie in his blog "How to Film in Nigeria and Still be Human", “...but when the time came to do the real thing for the ﬁlm, I started seeing how bad the effects were. Some of the ideas I put in the story required computation that we weren't capable of. Because it was ﬁlmed, they had to be photorealistic…" However, from the ashes of that most ambitious of projects several animators have ﬂourished, and thespians like Genesis Williams and Eri Umusu would go on to create the visual effects short ﬁlm "The Day They Came" and become pioneers in their own right within the nascent visual effects industry. Eri Umusu also created Nigeria’s ﬁrst animated sci-ﬁ short ﬁlm "The Sim", having been inspired by the bold vision of Niyi and his team.
Nnamdi Nwoha's"Our own Area" series of animated skits held sway over the blogosphere in 2011, achieving virality when such a concept was yet foreign to the Nigerian psyche. Skits like "Face Sumthing", "Subsidanza", and "Bling", hilarious offerings with a touch of satire, rapidly achieved notoriety and were shared via WhatsApp and YouTube among Nigerians all over the world. The acquired taste for authentic 'Naija' animation had become a phenomenon, Back in 2012, television was the primary platform on which audiences enjoyed video content. Consequently animators would create content free of charge for the television houses in hopes of exposure to advertisers and their agencies who sported lucrative advertising deals. Deciding to 19 buck this trend, two friends Richard Oboh and Tayo Fasunon collaborated to create "Ovie and Wale!" the 3D animated skit designed to be a commercial for television stations. Their reasoning was that they would sell the skit to one of the television houses, and by having it aired, would obtain the notoriety they craved. Unfortunately, the television houses would have none of it, preferring rather to obtain the content free of charge as had been the practice. Stuck with material they could not sell, the friends were still mulling their backup plan when a mutual friend leaked the video onto the internet where it became a viral sensation, literally exploding over the
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ebenezar-wikina/our-own-area-my-strollwi_b_6102288.html 19 https://techpoint.ng/2015/12/04/4-nigerian-3d-animators-you-never-knew-existed/ 20 https://www.360nobs.com/2013/10/must-watch-video-hilarious-nigerian-animation-clipbad-gbedu-season-1/
world, UK-based jazz musician Miller Luwoye was hatching a much grander plan. He was going to make a feature ﬁlm. So he met Abiodun Aleja and gave him the commission to assemble Nigeria’s ﬁnest for the production of a world-class animated movie called "Sade" for release in 2018.
The die had been cast, a shockwave ran through the entire collective of animation professionals as the phenomenon that was 'Ovie and Wale' validated every optimistic thought that had originally led many animators into the profession20. This showed that with excellent production, Nigerians would watch and be devoted fans of Nigerian animated content.
On the strength of the Gbedu project, Tayo Fasunon went on to create the "National Cake" web series, and later teamed up with Uche Anisiuba, to form Quadron Studios. Eri Umusu, on the other hand, teamed up with Niyi Akinmolayan and Godwin Akpan to create Anthill Studios. Alliances were being forged as the animation community positioned itself for the next phase of its evolution.
The dam broke and one beautiful animated skit after another hit the internet to rave reviews. Eri Umusu having been inspired by Niyi Akinmolayan’s movie Kajola, completed and released his acclaimed sci-ﬁ short ﬁlm "The Sim"; Richard Oboh led a team of Nigeria's ﬁnest animators under the auspices of Orange Vfx Studios to create a remake of the iconic "Super Visco Static" animated ad from the 1980s with sterling success. Kola Olanrewaju, then an art director with Insight Communications, on seeing the success of this project, realized that the time had come to pursue his own dream of creating home grown animated content. 2013 prove to be an eventful year in the Nigerian animation space. While Nigeria’s short-form animation scene was announcing itself to the
Meanwhile, from the sidelines, a comic creator had been contemplating the animation industry and perfecting his 21 strategy. Ayodele Elegba , the erstwhile convener of the Lagos Comic Con knew that Nigerian stories could be told through animation, and had developed the perfect plan. So in 2014, like the Orwellian Napoleon, he began to build his team in secret. He ﬁrst unleashed them on the international stage, snagging a coveted slot in the Digital Lab Africa in conjunction with MIFA. He then went on to showcase his storytelling skills at DISCOP South Africa- and winning there, took his content all the way to Annecy. He continued to blaze the trail with the Lagos Comic Con which has shown improved attendance records every year since it was started.
https://blackgirlnerds.com/creators-know-ayodele-elegbastrike-guard/ http://www.pulse.ng/entertainment/movies/plaything-anthill-studios-releases-nigeriananimation-id5913623.html 23 http://thenativemag.com/communities/av-club-dawn-of-thunder-bring-thunder-god-tolife/ 24 http://www.konbini.com/ng/inspiration/nigerian-creatives-break-the-internet-with-their22
T h e S e co n d Wave: T h e B e g i n n in g o f t h e B o o m
global internet, and the world seemed to come to the conclusion that Nigerian animation had ﬁnally come of age. From then on, it became commonplace for animated commercials to be developed by Nigerians for a Nigerian audience. Indeed, when Google Nigeria launched in 2013, "Ovie and Wale in Gbedu!" was up there on the curated list of content that represented the spirit of 'Naija!'
Of Ayodele Elegba, the story continues: In 2018, with BBC News mentions amongst other notable sightings under his belt, he has announced the production of a live action movie of a Superhero story. Anthill is in development of multiple titles. Komotion Studios "Dawn of Thunder" which captured the imagination of the world in 2017 is being developed into a feature ﬁlm. 24
In February 2018, Bunmi Olaloye , a digital artist, started the #weareNigeriancreatives hashtag on twitter and it drew Nigerian visual artists from all over the world to showcase their work on the global stage. Wave after wave of digital artistry ensued and that hashtag continues to deliver even now for anyone who wishes to sate their thirst for beauty out of Nigeria.
If "Plaything" was at the time, Nigeria's most beautiful short ﬁlm ever, Komotion studios’ "Dawn of Thunder"23 became the short ﬁlm that every Nigerian had waited to see - a faithful depiction of Sango, that most charismatic of Yoruba deities. By this time, the virality of high quality content from Nigeria was a foregone conclusion. Both short ﬁlms garnered hundreds of thousands of views across several social media platforms and thrust their creators into the public eye conferring on them near celebrity status and emboldening them to make even more daring bets on the Nigerian audience.
https://blackgirlnerds.com/creators-know-ayodele-elegbastrike-guard/ http://www.pulse.ng/entertainment/movies/plaything-anthill-studios-releases-nigeriananimation-id5913623.html 23 http://thenativemag.com/communities/av-club-dawn-of-thunder-bring-thunder-god-tolife/ 24 http://www.konbini.com/ng/inspiration/nigerian-creatives-break-the-internet-with-their22
T h e S e co n d Wave: T h e B e g i n n in g o f t h e B o o m
The ﬁrst quarter of 2016 saw Quadron Studios quickly dominating the social media scene with a rapid succession of expertly executed animated skits that saw them become the talk of the industry. Orange VFX had by this time cemented their reputation as the house for animated spots in Nigeria and continued to exert signiﬁcant inﬂuence in the advertising arena. Kolawole Olanrewaju's newly formed Komotion Studios created ruckus with its visual effects driven portrayal of the dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram in their hilarious commercial, which helped in no small way in inﬂuencing voters towards the next President. Niyi Akinmolayan's Anthill Studios recruited Nurdin Momodu, a young animator from Orange Vfx studios and together with Eri Umusu, created "Plaything" 22 , a beautiful animated short that validated even further the power of animation as a medium and the readiness of the Nigerian market for it.
Property of Elfworks Studios
Property of Ajebotoons Studios Property of House of Ajebo
Property of Sporedust Studios
THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE EVOLUTION OF THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY The practice of animation in Nigeria started in the early 1990s. In that period, there were no emails, so animation books had to be bought and shipped across to Nigeria for the ﬁrst learners to get a chance at study. The commercial practice of animation was a direct offshoot of nonlinear editing which came about as a result of increased computer capability and software such as Adobe Premiere. The development of non-linear editing systems made video content production accessible to the consumer market, and when Adobe Premiere, one of the ﬁrst computer based non-linear editing systems became available in Nigeria, it sparked a literal revolution by empowering anyone with a decent computer to take on tasks that were previously the sole preserve of large studios that could afford the expensive editing suites of the day. There were yet more hurdles to be overcome in the democratization of content creation - in order to export edited footage to DV tape (which was the standard at the time), an editor needed to have an editing card which cost 300,000 naira (an amount that was out of the reach of the independent editor at the time). Then came along the ﬁrewire card, and with it the mini-DV camcorder which, together cost a comparatively paltry N60,000 and the editing revolution began in earnest. As a result of the signiﬁcantly lowered barriers to entry, young talented individuals ﬂooded the video production industry, going head to head with the incumbent large studios and competing favorably on the basis of agility and speed. In the bid to have an edge in the intensely competitive video production arena, artists introduced more motion graphics and animation to add value to their offerings. The development of the multi-core processors, notably the quad core processor made faster rendering possible in desktop computers. YouTube created an opportunity for animators to bypass the television stations who had been the erstwhile gatekeepers for visual entertainment, and directly reaching the general public. Successive viral skits have been created by animators who skirted traditional media channels to embrace the internet as a means of broadcasting their work. The rise of social media brought the world together in ways never before imagined, giving content producers unprecedented ability to connect with their target audiences without the burden of a middle-man that demanded up-front payment for access. User-generated tutorials via YouTube now teach elements of the craft previously reserved for expensive master-classes, so that the determined artist can today obtain educational material along a user-deﬁned curriculum in pursuit of the mastery of his craft. There has never been such a time as this, when the barriers to entry into the annals of history for the Nigerian artist, have been so low- and we owe it all to technology.
TECHNOLOGY AND THE PRODUCTION OF ANIMATION Animation know-how was a foreign concept in Nigerian. The early animators were those who after been privileged to obtain training in foreign animation schools brought those skills back to the country to develop an industry. Yole Akinnawo is one of such and by so doing came to be known across the industry as Animator One. However, there are no representatives of the trend started by Yole among the current players in the animation industry. These new entrants were those who were trained by the Internet. It was this generation of artists that made the giant strides, held by the hands of a giant hive of artists from more developed markets who were generous with their know-how and tools. Technology continues to drive advancements in the production of animation in Nigeria. The development of more user-friendly animation tools within existing software, and the development of new software continues to drive accessibility for the Nigerian animator. Software such as Toonboom’s Animate pro and Smith Micro Software’s Moho put the ability to create 2D animation in more hands- including those who could not access the rigorous training required to create traditional 2D animation. Trends such as physically based rendering (PBR), GPU based rendering amongst others have empowered individual artists and studios alike to do more, and to close the gap between their offerings and those from the mature markets that inspire them. The creation of Blender, a full 2D and 3D animation tool available free of charge, gave Nigerian animators a legitimate alternative to the expensive animation tools in the market. The increased processing power of personal computers also enabled local animation producers to do more with the tools available to them.
TECHNOLOGY AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF ANIMATION In the early days of animation production, it was extremely difﬁcult for the animator to bring his work to a larger audience. The television houses did not understand the young industry. Repeated cases of content producers who could not get Nigerian broadcasters to carry their content and who, on making such content available on video sharing sites such as Youtube became global darlings, are the war stories that outline the history of the Nigerian animation industry. It goes without saying that without the phenomenon of virality, which enabled content producers to bypass the local television broadcasters to reach a global audience connected by the internet, the animation industry would even now have been winking in the dark- cut off from its audience. Even today in 2018, the rise of video on demand (VOD) platforms such as NETFLIX and Amazon Prime offer animation studios an opportunity to monetize content in ways that were unimaginable in 2010. Indeed, a number of studios have attempted to build their own railroads by creating content aggregation platforms of their own- an audacious move that previously required huge sums of money spent on broadcast equipment and licenses now possible by a small team of passionate techies.
The Current State of the Animation Industry LEGAL STRUCTURES The animation industry in Nigeria is made up largely of sole proprietorships, partnerships and limited liability companies. Over time, most of these enterprises typically evolved from freelance businesses. After registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria (CAC)25, the ﬁrms can legally transact business within the country and in some cases, with organisations outside the country. The sole proprietorships and partnerships also register with the CAC as business enterprises. While there are several startups within the animation space, majority of the businesses and deals are undertaken by a few strong brands who have distinguished themselves with the aforementioned viral short ﬁlms that have captured the attention of the Nigerian populace. These animation companies have evolved into limited liability companies. We are yet to see the ﬁrst merger or acquisition within the industry.
TRENDS During the early years of the new millennium, animation studios were content to operate as freelancers. Indeed, many practitioners found no need to create organisations around their work as they obtained contracts from advertising agencies who were familiar with their work and got paid as expected.
STATE OF AFFAIRS
However, from 2010 as more animators came into the industry these studios became increasingly aware of their small size relative in relation to an increased inﬂux of clientele; they began to nurse dreams of increased capitalisation. Furthermore, the events that proceeded from the bankruptcy of the visual effects studio Rhythm and Hues, and the campaign that followed- including a documentary- alerted animators to the dangers of thinning demand and rising rivalry within their industry.
Rhythm and Hues was an American company operating in matured climes, nothing was supposed to go wrong, but everything did. The ensuing documentary, "Life After Pi" exposed a troubled VFX industry on a global scale. Consequently, Nigerian animation studios began the process of re-imagining themselves as content creation houses that engaged in advertising services while they tested and prove their primary business models which were to be built around intellectual property they controlled.
The Current State of the Animation Industry INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY The largest proportion of animation companies generate most of their revenue by providing animation advertising services and consequently do not own most of the intellectual property they develop. While the procedural knowledge of intellectual property protection was not widespread amongst animation studios, it was discovered that of the original productions and viral animated skits created by Nigerian studios, few were legally trademarked. The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) is the national body responsible for safeguarding intellectual property in Nigeria. They have gainfully engaged in several raids on institutional violators of intellectual property rights and continue to do so. From Lagos to Aba and Bauchi, these raids have stretched across all the geopolitical zones in Nigeria, destroyed hundreds on millions of naira in counterfeited merchandise and yielded pirates who been jailed for their crimes. However, the NCC’s effectiveness is somewhat curtailed by the slow pace of the legal system where a copyright infringement claim has been known to take years to settle. Nigerian content creators have consequently turned away from physical DVDs to less susceptible means of distributing their hard work such as the cinemas and Video On Demand (VOD) platforms like Netﬂix and Iroko TV. Nicademia, a VOD platform dedicated exclusively to animated content has also emerged to serve in this space. Originally a
content production house, it has sought to pivot into the content distribution space in order to provide a system to enable animators capture revenue from the content they create. The platform has seen patronage from animated content providers who are looking to bypass the DVD market but are unable to muster the required content volume or quantity required to get featured on larger platforms such as IrokoTV, Iﬂix or Netﬂix. The general absence of structures that would enable the monetization of intellectual property in Nigeria does not do much to encourage content producers to guard such assets with the seriousness they deserve, nevertheless, emerging international opportunities are helping to turn this tide. 26
EVCL , an Abuja-based animation studio led by Adamu Waziri has had a measure of success selling merchandise and DVDs from their Bino and Fino animated series. Incidentally, that success is not yet happening within the shores of Nigeria but in Europe and the USA. Similarly, Roye Okukpe’s YouNeek Studios was able to successfully execute his Kickstarter campaign for the EXO graphic novel through the help of supporters who funded the campaign from outside Nigeria. From there he has created an extensive EXO universe which the company has effectively monetized through the sale of graphic novels headlined by various original characters.
The Current State of the Animation Industry TRADEMARKING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Indeed, 2016 was the year when a popular comedian brazenly appropriated the concept and character designs belonging to a young animator who had failed to trademark them. That animator responded to the situation by merely resigning to fate. While animators are aware that the greatest value-adding activities within their industry revolve around the ownership and marketing of intellectual property, the required legal and ﬁnancial expertise needed to exploit their content is not as widespread as the technical skill to produce it.
TRAINING: Self-Training as a Phenomenon More than at any other time in the history of mankind, the knowledge of just about anything is freely available on the internet for those who seek it out. Animation know-how is freely shared by industry professionals from more advanced industries. These priceless gems of information are soaked up by talented and highly motivated individuals within the Nigerian animation ecosystem. Aspiring animators simply turn to Youtube, Pluralsight, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, among other online platforms; consuming gigabytes of video tutorials as they follow along a learning path gleaned through interactions on the internet from professionals all over the world, many of whom have themselves attended expensive animation schools whose fees are beyond the reach of aspiring local animators. Information about the animation art form has through online platforms become more accessible than it has ever been. In the course of the telephone interviews carried out covering twenty leaders of animation studios in Nigeria, Figure 2.211 presents the training data discovered.
Distribution of the training among animation founders27
Increasingly, animation studios are developing in-house training regimens in response to the already identiﬁed industry-wide shortage of human capacity. According to Adamu Waziri of EVCL, creators of children’s animated series Bino and Fino, which has been in the works since 2007/2008, amongst other challenges, a scarcity of skilled human capital was a major hurdle they have had to surmount in executing the project.
INTERNSHIPS AND OTHER ON-THE-JOB TRAININGS The technical skills gap present in the industry is gradually being addressed by those who stand to gain the most from its resolution- the animation studios themselves. Talented individuals are identiﬁed and then up-skilled over a period of time until they are able to carry their own weight within the studio. A highly collaborative work environment creates opportunity for this process to continue indeﬁnitely without friction. In order to keep their labour costs under control, some studios have gone the way of the collective. This loose hierarchical structure as exempliﬁed by Orange VFX and Mighty Jot studios allows creatives to rise through the ranks on merit, while granting the opportunity of high quality animation education to the most dedicated. Internships and entry-level jobs are a great skill accelerator especially in the animation industry. They give talented individuals a foot in the door and provide much needed opportunities for skills upgrade in real life production environments. Many young animators have taken advantage of the compulsory internships required for the award of university degrees and national diplomas to intern for extended periods with competent animation studios. Lydia Shoretire of Lenovotion Studios herself began her animation career as an intern at Orange Vfx studios where she gained the invaluable industry exposure upon which she currently builds her company. On interviewing the studio founders, it became clear that there was a strategic focus in their individual approaches to training. A number of the founders indicated that their training programmes were central to their organizational plans for the next few years.
DEVELOPING SOFT SKILLS FOR NEW ENTRANTS Apart from the technical skills required for animation production, animators groomed within a studio environment are exposed to critical soft skills such as time reliability, teamwork, ability to work within a production pipeline, a sense of quality management, etc. These core skills are critical towards developing an a strong industry. Although non-technical, these skills are passed on through the process of active mentorship. The fact that most of the revenue currently being generated by the animation industry is from advertising also provides new entrants with a crucible within which these critical skills can be honed. Those who have been so trained are then able to work as seasoned and reliable professionals under any circumstances. They develop the ability to work with minimal supervision. Some of them stay on within the system that built them, grooming younger animators in the process, while others choose the freedom of remote, freelance work.
SPECIALISATIONS AND EXPERTISE Typical of any young industry, the general constitution of the Nigerian animation industry is skewed towards generalists. Highly technical projects that require domain expertise consequently are infrequently executed. Whenever these projects come up, they are faced with the skills barrier within the local industry and are outsourced to other industries with more specialists. This problem has called for a need to form new teams with a broader cross-section of technical skills to give further opportunity for ﬁrst-generation specialisation. These team leaders may then pass on their expertise to protégés who would come after them into the departments they lead. Initiatives such as bootcamps or hackathons which create opportunity for such experts to collaborate without the rigid structure of a deﬁned working relationship are necessary to stimulate the formation of these new bonds. There are experts in every department within the Nigerian animation industry, but intentional master classes must also be encouraged and developed in order to further train these experts and groom new ones. Initiatives to stimulate the diffusion of these skill sets are necessary in order to elevate the general level of output in each of these departments within the industry.
AN AMERICAN TEMPLATE It is noteworthy that in the early days of animation development in the USA, training was done largely through apprenticeships. Younger talent learnt under the supervision of seasoned professionals whose skill and mastery trickled down to these protégés. Richard Williams who wrote what has been
termed the deﬁnitive book on animation training himself became a master animator only after spending signiﬁcant time with some of the legendary 'Nine Old Men' from Disney studios. Richard spoke of this informal system wherein tactile animation knowledge was handed down from one generation of artists to
ANIMATION TRAINING PROGRAMS IN NIGERIA There are a number of schools that offer animation training in Nigeria. NIIT and APTECH are Indian companies which have since 1999 established themselves in Nigeria offering extensive training in various software skills tailored to the needs of an aspiring animator. While it may be argued that these institutions approach animation training from a computer software perspective, their role in providing introductory knowledge to many of the pioneering animators grants them a welldeserved space in the history of the practice of animation in Nigeria. In addition, Nigeria is well represented on the student rosters of online animation schools such as Animationmentor.com and IAnimate.com. Home grown animation schools such as the Academy of Art and Design and Orange Vfx contribute talent to the industry. Orange Vfx in particular has had signiﬁcant success, having been part of the learning process of a number of high ﬂying animators in the present industry. From a sample survey of 20 animation studios founders, more than 60% of respondents said they were self-taught.
The general opinion gleaned from practitioners is that the animation schools present in Nigeria merely introduce the student to the core concepts, leaving them to develop themselves into employable professionals. As a result, every practising artist is to an extent, selftaught because the systems to take artists from novice to expert are not yet freely available within the Nigerian animation ecosystem. Animation training is driven by the availability of willing students. The development of the animation industry has given rise to training institutions like Wale Adenuga's PEFTI which offers a National Diploma on the subject. Computer training organisations like NIIT and Aptech (via Arena Multimedia) also offer training in computer animation albeit with a bias towards the software training as opposed to artistic skill acquisition.
THE EVOLUTION OF TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES IN NIGERIA It's been discovered that the larger majority of animators received their training on the job. Animation studio-owned schools have slowly evolved over the years to better meet their own needs and by so doing have met the dire labour needs of the industry. Furthermore, larger institutions like the Pan Atlantic University and PEFTI have also created courses within the animation space. Today, animation training happens on a learn-as-you-work basis, and the studios themselves which are the current repositories of animation know-how, have become the primary hubs from which it is diffused. As displayed in the graph below, animation studios in Nigeria have risen to the challenge of addressing the current manpower shortage
within the animation space.
Graph: Proportion of animation studios with in-house training programs in place28
AVAILABILITY OF LABOUR FOR ANIMATION PROJECTS Larger teams have begun to appear on the industry landscape as a result of the larger number of animators present in the country. It is now common to ﬁnd studios with more than 5 artistic staff. Indeed, from the interviews that were carried out involving 20 animation studio founders, the average team size amongst studios in Lagos was found to be 9.6. In contrast with the average team size of 4 in 2012, there has been some growth in the number and availability of artists for animation projects. This is an indication of the measured success of the existing animation schools. Another phenomenon that has begun to materialize is the increased availability of specialists in speciﬁc areas of the animation pipeline. Studio founders reported that they found it relatively easy to ﬁll positions for environment and character modellers, and to a lesser extent, character animators. They however reported difﬁculty in ﬁlling the positions of story artists.
INDUSTRY-WIDE DEFICIENCIES IN SPECIFIC ROLES There are different levels of deﬁciencies in speciﬁc roles in the Nigerian animation industry. But a poll carried out within Animation West Africa, which has a membership of over 2000 enthusiasts and practitioners, it was noted that there is a general lack of storyboard artists. While there are a number of accomplished illustrators, those who possess the storytelling vision, ability to draw in accurate perspective and sustain a narrative two critical skills for original storytelling-, appear to be relatively scarce within the ecosystem. Within the 3D animation environment actual 3D animators are ironically scarce. The relative abundance of hard surface modellers and texture artists relative to character modellers and riggers and animators suggest a casual preference for lower value skills. Meanwhile, a large number of practitioners are content to go by the name tag „animator without actually being able to bring characters to life. Animation studios are one by one beginning to recognise this deﬁciency and the in-house training programs in those studios are designed to bridge the gap between the skills readily available in the animation marketplace and those required to create the content their businesses live on.
HUBS AND ACCELERATORS Accelerator programs have proven to be an effective method of stimulating growth in knowledge-driven industries. They also provide the practitioners the necessary soft landing by means of required infrastructural support to prove their business cases and develop a sustainable route to the market. Perhaps most importantly, they provide a
platform by which institutional funding can be accessed by the practitioners and one by which training can be obtained. In Nigeria, they have had a measure of success in the technology space. It is perhaps in the implementation of animation hubs that the difference between the practice of animation in the Northern geopolitical zones and the Southwest becomes most apparent. While the hubs in Lagos and other parts of the South are postured towards commerce, the hubs in the North, where the purchasing power of the populace is lower, are inclined towards community development and social change. In 2016, Ganiyu Rufai initiated the Digital Development Hub (DD Hub) in Kano and Abuja. Since then, it has evolved into an investment platform, incubating talent and providing an enabling environment for them to develop intellectual property that would be monetized in collaboration with the management of the Hub. This model provides a soft landing to talented artists who otherwise might have faced an uphill task in getting their ideas to screen. This is a modiﬁcation of the 'Andela model' that has had tremendous success in the software development ecosystem in Nigeria and Kenya. Following the increased interest expressed by the Presidency in the development of animation in Nigeria, technology innovation support systems such as Passion Incubators, the owners of the Leadspace group of coworking spaces have expressed interest in developing a co-working space to address the infrastructural challenges faced by animators, graphics artists and other technical practitioners in the entertainment and media arena.
CURRENT CHALLENGES 1. Funding: An animation hub is a capital intensive venture. In a survey involving 45 stakeholders in the animation industry , 62% of respondents pointed to funding as a primary challenge, 90% of animation studio founders of the twenty interviewed reported that they had never successfully raised any form of external funding. The founders of animation hubs reported that none of them had received institutional (Venture Capital or Non-Governmental Organizational) funding, while one of the animation hubs interviewed had received startup capital from an angel investor. Despite this hurdle, passionate individuals have managed to build hubs organically. This sometimes has led them to operate outside their core vision in order to survive. 2. Weak Institutions: Institutional weaknesses within partner organisations have also negatively affected the growth of animation hubs. The animation hubs have had to deal with situations where new leaders unilaterally ignore or outrightly renege upon agreements entered into with previous leaders. So a deal is not necessarily closed even when the dotted lines have been signed. This uncertainty has proven to be a major hindrance in the short-tomid-term planning for the hubs affected.
COLLABORATIONS WITH ESTABLISHED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS There are ongoing conversations towards the development of the ﬁrst animation degree awarding program domiciled in a Nigerian university with Babcock University and the University of Ilorin. Over the past ﬁve years, the Pan-Atlantic
University School of Media and Communication has maintained a close connection with the animation industry, bringing in faculty from the industry to lecture their students in motion design, graphics art and animation. Wale Adenuga’s PEFTI is an industry-focused diploma-awarding ﬁlm school based in Lagos has also developed an animation curriculum. It is expected that further growth in the animation industry would embolden established educational institutions to deploy resources towards building human capital for it.
EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND THE LINK WITH THE NIGERIAN ANIMATION INDUSTRY Educational institutions have a critical role to play in addressing the skills imbalance within the animation industry, and in forging the path for the next frontiers of the practice of the art in Nigeria. There is a need for such institutions to maintain close contact with the practitioners within the industry in order to continue to deploy market-sensitive curricula. For example, the scarcity of animators (2D and 3D), which is partially responsible for the low volume and quanlity of animated content produced within the industry could be addressed by animation schools by developing relevant and updated curricula towards training industry-ready animators. At present, all the animation training that is being carried out within the Nigerian animation ecosystem is driven primarily by commercial interests. The short-term commercial interests in this scenario typically trumps the long-term, industry-wide thinking required to build out the next generation of highly competent artists. There is a need for research oriented non-proﬁt
funding for training initiatives to stimulate the growth of the necessary skills within the industry by insulating them from the distractions of short-term proﬁtability.
NON-TECHNICAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FOR THE ANIMATION SECTOR While a few determined artists may be enough to produce a short ﬁlm, commercial scale animation production is a huge undertaking that requires other moving parts to make up the production machine. Project managers, production managers, behavioural scientists, ﬁnancial analysts, legal and intellectual property consultants are necessary players within the animation ecosystem. While it is not required for the artist to have expertise in these areas, the animation studio founders must be familiar enough with those skill sets for them to effectively take advantage of the value they bring to animation projects and manage professionals with these skills if need be. It is the author's opinion that increased international collaboration (e.g. coproductions) would serve to shed more light on the range of abilities required to run an animation studio.
BUSINESS SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FOR THE ANIMATION SECTOR The typical founder of an animation studio is a creative who got into the animation business from a love of cartoons and a desire to create them. This background is usually inadequate to prepare the animator for the complexities of big business. Also, there still exists a signiﬁcant knowledge gap of the inner workings of the entertainment industry like how co-production deals are structured, project ﬁnancing, 30
marketing, legal nuances, amongst others. These areas are the preserve of the animation producer in more established industries, but in Nigeria this position is usually ﬁlled by the founder who has a background in creative development. To help bridge these gaps, forums and symposiums must be put into place where these knowledge gaps are highlighted and strategies developed to bridge them. Practitioners also need to appreciate the fact that this knowledge is required to succeed within the animation market and take the pains to obtain them. Lastly, more direct investment from non-artists into the animation industry is necessary. Movie producers from Nollywood are perhaps in the most opportune position to step into this role with their extensive knowledge of the local movie industry.
ANIMATION WORKSHOPS AND FILM FESTIVALS Animation festivals serve a dual purpose; bringing lovers of the art together, and also serving as a platforms for creators to inform enthusiasts about the processes that fuel their work. This second function helps to convert some of the enthusiasts into creators themselves. There are a number of ﬁlm festivals currently running in Nigeria, featuring animated content and workshops. The African International Film Festival (AFRIFF)30 launched in Port Harcourt, Rivers State with its maiden edition in December 2010 and is currently the most prestigious ﬁlm festival in Nigeria. Realtime Film festival,31 currently running in its 3rd year has been gathering strength with each edition. The
http://afriff.com/ https://www.bellanaija.com/2017/06/realtime-international-film-festival-2017-watch148-movies-7-days-july-24th-july-1st/ 32 https://www.pressreader.com/nigeria/thisday/20170407/281857233392223 33 https://filmfreeway.com/InshortFilmFestivalLagos 31
30 Property of Komotion Studios
Lights Camera, Africa! ﬁlm festival which in 2018 would have its eight edition, the Lagos 32 International Festival of Animation which will be in its second year in 2018, and the In Short Film 33 Festival , is in its ﬁfth year, all provide platforms for showcasing Nigerian made animation to the 34 world. The Digital Arts Festival , spearheaded by Richard Oboh of Orange VFX is yet in the works towards similar objectives. The Animated Film Festival (Nigerian, French & Japanese Films), which in 2017 held its third edition in Abuja saw 750 visitors. Over 3 years, it has grown to become the largest ﬁlm festival dedicated to the art of animation in Nigeria. The Lagos International Festival of Animation (LIFANIM), which in June 2018 had its second outing, shows tremendous promise. This evolution of ﬁlm festivals as a means of bringing content to audiences is an important step in removing the barriers to animated content monetisation and is expected to grow. The feedback from many who attended the animation workshop at the In Short Film Festival in 2017 was that the knowledge of the processes behind animation production had hitherto been unavailable to them. A large percentage of attendees had no prior idea of what animation is or what it entails. Animation Workshops are opportunities to educate both enthusiasts, potential clients and even practitioners alike on the processes involved in creating animation, and serve to stimulate conversations that would lead to the further development of the industry by encouraging knowledge sharing and collaboration between stakeholders within the Nigerian animation industry and the larger world of animation and/ ﬁlm production. The increasing number of ﬁlm festivals and the attendant opportunity to showcase animated content as well as creative master-classes in the animation space are a welcome development. The Institut Francaise du Nigeria and the Goethe Institut collaborated to organise an animation workshop, bringing in participants from across the animation industry in Lagos and Abuja, providing a platform for participants to share information on growth paths for the animation industry. The Lagos comic convention in similar fashion hosted a series of workshops featuring industry professionals during which salient technical and business issues pertaining to the industry were discussed. This provided an opportunity for networking and collaboration within the industry and with other players within the audiovisual content value chain.
32 Property of Anthill Studios
33 Property of Anthill Studios
THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY SUPPLY CHAIN PRODUCTS AND SERVICES Animation studios in Nigeria offer a broad spectrum of services. These services include motion graphics, architectural visualisation, 2D and 3D animated spot development, product visualisation, production of corporate training videos. They also produce visual effects for advertising, feature ďŹ lm market (Nollywood) and music video markets. Studios also provide animation training for corporate clients who wish to strengthen their in-house capabilities for animation production. Twelve of the seventeen studios interviewed said they derived the largest percentage of their revenue from advertising in the form of motion graphics and animation.
Number of studios
While 3D animation is great for spectacle, projects in this ďŹ eld have been few and far between over the years. Nine of the seventeen studios interviewed indicated that on the average, they created less than 3 minutes of 3D animation in 2017. However their output driven by advertisers' demand for 2D animation and motion graphics was about thirty minutes on the average. Studios have also evolved into full production houses, supplying live action services as well as animation production.
Highest source of revenue
Graph: Top Earners for Animation Studios36 36
THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY SUPPLY CHAIN THE GROWTH OF THE ANIMATION ADVERTISING INDUSTRY Since the eighties, when AP regaled Nigerians with the Super Visco animated spot, animation has been a powerful tool advertisers have used to promote their products and services to the Nigerian audience. Until 1988 and the rise of Yole Akinnawo's Mind Vision Studios, Nigerians had been largely excluded from relatable animated content, and had to settle for the results of other animation industries’ business success. The cultural impact of that trend was a slew of adverts that, while excellently executed, lacked the authentic Nigerian factor and ﬂavor that is recognizable on sight, and loved by the people. Unknown to animation practitioners, the advertising industry had been keenly observing their evolution, waiting for that moment when the capacity to portray authentic Nigerian narratives would be readily available within the Nigerian animation space. The last decade before the millenium gave them the breakthrough they needed. The advertising industry found their answer in Yole, Stanlee Ohikuare, Dimeji Ajibola and others. These artists ruled the animation advertising arena for a while. They were the beautiful maidens everyone wanted to dance with and because of this, they had signiﬁcant bargaining power. Young artists had signiﬁcant incentive to learn animation, knowing that there was a waiting and thirsty market to be served.
PERCEPTION OF ANIMATION FOR ADVERTISING Recent interactions with Nigerian advertisers have shown that they consider animation to be a cheaper alternative to live action advertising. This perception is formed because advertisers are unaware of the true cost of producing an animated advert, The education of advertisers and other stakeholders within that value chain needs to be carried out to correct this imbalanced view. This can be achieved by removing the shroud of mystery surrounding the production of animation, making clear to stakeholders the processes and equipment required to achieve the results they desire. Information should also be made available on the cost of production, the average output of an experienced animator, and software requirement for production. Animation studios also must increasingly recognise that theirs is a business that requires scale, and this should reﬂect in the way they execute their businesses. Mergers in order to consolidate skill will create stronger companies which will have better bargaining power than the lone artist with the laptop because they will have greater capacity to reliably deliver on their promises. More importantly, larger animation studios will be able to expand beyond the transactional business model that revolves around advertising service work to explore actual content creation for the larger consumer market. Having multiple revenue streams will make animation less of an auxiliary accessory to the advertising industry, and a value-creating industry in its own right.
THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY SUPPLY CHAIN THE COST OF ANIMATION FOR ADVERTISING IN NIGERIA While there has been signiďŹ cant growth in the capabilities of the animation studios, that growth has engendered increased rivalry which has resulted in reduced bargaining power for the individual animation studios with the agencies. The animators have in turn invented creative ways to contain their costs of production such that the average cost of producing 60 seconds in Nigeria at 1.6 million naira ($4654) is much less than the N10 million ($28,000) it would have cost to produce the same project in South Africa and other competing industries. The scaling of this cost advantage into international volumes represents an untapped, yet exciting opportunity for the industry.
Graph: Average cost of 60 seconds of animation in the advertising market from 2001 till date in Nigerian Naira and US dollars.37
Comparing the two graphs above shows the impact of the recent recession on the price of animation in Nigeria. It also captures the impact of the weakened national currency.
THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY SUPPLY CHAIN OF BLUE AND RED OCEANS: THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE OF ANIMATION STUDIOS IN NIGERIA As we have seen from the surveys, advertising makes up a signiﬁcant portion of the revenue of Nigerian animation companies (>50%). The Nigerian animation advertising industry is faced with competition on a number of fronts as outlined by Porter's ﬁve forces. 1. Bargaining Power from Buyers: Advertising agencies who are the typical buyers of animation services from animation companies, are highly capitalized. This means they are able to negotiate exclusive contracts with the advertisers, thereby rendering them unable to beneﬁt directly from services supplied by the animation studios. They are also able to create mini-monopolies with the advertisers whose business they have secured. This positions the advertising agency as a price-giver to the animation industry where the particular advertiser is concerned. Advertising agencies also exploit this position of strength by stimulating bidding wars for animated advert projects. The animation for advertising market is a growing one, and currently under-served in the SME category. Animation studios must learn to develop business models that position them to take advantage of the opportunities available in the Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) market who operate at a lower price point. SMEs, with a ‘fail fast’ mindset tend to be more eager to pay the service providers to create content to tell their brand stories.
2. Bargaining Power of Vendors: 3D animation projects, which take advantage of the size of animation studios are few and far between. Consequently, the studios mostly run on motion graphics. This exposes the animation studio to the threat from vendors/freelancers who have worked with them in the past and are familiar with their methods and standards. 3. Intensity of Rivalry: The absence of a nationally recognized organization of Nigerian animators has put the pricing of animated services at the mercy of market forces. Animation studios ﬁercely compete to obtain the business of the few advertisers who choose to create animated content for their campaigns. 4. Ease of Entry: The 3D animation business is a knowledge driven one and studios range from the sole proprietor with his trusty laptop to teams of twenty or more. Anyone who puts animation skills on the market immediately becomes a contender for the business within the industry. The incumbent players within the industry protect their market share by clever relationship management but the threat of new entrants remains a clear and present concern to practitioners. They have also learnt to build reliable brands by delivering consistent quality in line with the needs of the client. However, the asking price for animation services has fallen over the years to the pressure from new entrants. The conclusion is that animation as a local
OF BLUE AND RED OCEANS: THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE OF ANIMATION STUDIOS IN NIGERIA supplier to the advertising industry is headed towards an imperfectly competitive scenario, and is unable to dictate its price to the market it serves. 5. Threat of Substitutes: Animation as a brand selling tool is not without its substitutes. Indeed, it is perceived by advertisers to be the cheaper alternative to live action productions despite the fact that it is in fact more expensive to produce. This positioning places the animation studio at a pricing and proďŹ tability disadvantage compared to producers of live action adverts.
The Blue Ocean: Intellectual Property Development Animation studios must increasingly develop their storytelling capacities in order to obtain the funding necessary to create content that appeals to the wider consumer market. Content is prepaid, whether at the cinemas or VOD platforms, license deals are negotiated and consummated before the customers can enjoy the product. This goes a long way in eliminating the crippling burden of owing clients. The unstemmed inďŹ‚ux of new animators would ultimately lead to a perfectly competitive market scenario unless there is a sharp growth in the advertising market. While there are no clear indications that such a
growth is in the horizon, the 2018 Nigeria demographics proďŹ le from Index Mundi states that the Nigerian population, of which over 62.15%38 is under the age of 25 is growing at a rate of 2.43% year on year. This young population, which is more likely to respond to entertainment properties have driven both Nollywood and the Nigerian music industry onto the global stage. If the impact of animated commercials is anything to go by, wherein the animated commercial is more likely to achieve virality than the live action commercial, there is a yearning for home grown animated content from this population. This suggests that it is a much bigger opportunity than the advertising servicing business model currently being prosecuted by the animation studios in Nigeria.
Graph: Age distribution in Nigeria
39 Property of Spoof Animation
THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY SUPPLY CHAIN SUPPLY CHAIN OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES The Animation Supply Chain Nigeria is uniquely endowed with a rich, diverse and imaginative population. With over 250 different ethnic groups, each with their mythology, history and visual language, the abundance of material for storytelling is literally inexhaustible. When this is combined with its young population, the potential for the development of a virile industry, and on the other hand, the development of a home-grown Product Development: Animation studios are the primary drivers of product development in this sphere. They bring the various skill sets required to create compelling characters and believable worlds. The development of talent within the Nigerian animation industry is happening at an exciting pace. Studios are taking the initiative to build their own 'infrastructure' by upskilling the talent available to them in order to fulﬁl individual and collective visions of creating world class content. Furthermore, the integration of comic book producers and publishers into the animation arena makes for increased activity in product development within the industry. Marketing of Animation: Promotion of animated content is a global phenomenon in today's connected world. The Argentine experience is a recent example. The locally produced 2013 movie Metegol or Underdogs39- as was the release title in the
United Kingdom -- showed that world class content created within a region can be sold to a global audience without losing the essence of the material. Upon screening at Toronto International Film Festival, the movie secured distribution deals with South Korean company Seoul Screen after a bidding war, was released to wide applause in its home country, and obtained further distribution deals for a global release. The success of the movie emboldened other producers of animation to make big bets on animated feature ﬁlms, and helped launch the Argentine animation industry into its next phase of growth. In Nigeria, the structures for promoting animated movies are already being built by Nollywood. Silverbird Distribution, Film House Distribution, Ebonylife Films, amongst others. The same structures that have promoted such box ofﬁce hits as The Wedding Party 1&2, Banana Island Ghost, 10 Days In Sun City amongst others. In 2016, the Nigerian box ofﬁce made less than N1.5billion, helped to no small extent by the one movie "The Wedding Party" which grossed N453,050,000. In 2017, the industry raked in over N2 billion, showing an upward trend. In 2015, the top three movies grossed N146,661,200; while the 3 top grossing movies for 2016 made a collective N631,550,000. In 2017 however, the top three movies totalled 40 N625,000,000.
According to (Uchenna, O;290)41 , in his 2015 paper on the Nigerian movie industry, "The effective environment for Nigerians, other Africans and other people of African descent is being constructed, reprocessed and shared through Nollywood video ﬁlms. Effective environment, according to David Altheide (1997), is how people actually experience their social and physical surroundings. " The researcher here alludes to the cultural dominance that Nigeria enjoys through the instrumentation of the movies from Nollywood. This is partly driven by the industrious and widely travelled Nigerians who take their entertainment with them wherever they go, as reported by the BBC News on their expose on Nigeria's impact on Africa (2015). Below is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on the Cinema of Nigeria42: “Since the 2000s, Nigerian movies started to dominate television screens across the African continent and by extension, the diaspora. The ﬁlm actors have also become household names across the continent, and the movies signiﬁcantly inﬂuence cultures in many African nations; from way of dressing to speech and usage of Nigerian slangs." This has been attributed to the fact that Nigerian ﬁlms told "relatable" stories, which made foreign ﬁlms to gather dusts on the shelves of video stores, even though they cost much less."
a long way in granting safe passage to the entertainment preferred by Nigerians within the popular culture within the African continent, and among Africans in the diaspora. Operations Operational efﬁciency in guerrilla productions characterizes the Nigerian animation space. While it is yet lacking in core operational skills and this lapse may create problems in the ability of the studios to scale their productions, the ability of the local producers to create the minimum viable product required to make an impressive appearance on the global stage is no longer in doubt. Consequently the cost of 60 seconds of 3D animation in Nigeria is an average of N1,600,000 ($4,654) The cost of 60 seconds of animation in Angouleme, France is $12,304 The cost of 60 seconds of animation in Paris, France is $30,626 The average cost of 60 seconds of animation in Hollywood: $1,449,360* The average cost of 60 seconds of 3D animation in advertising USA: $150,0004344 The average cost of 60 seconds of feature 4546 animation in the Brazil/ Argentina: $56,250
The proud, indomitable spirit of the Nigerian in diaspora also makes them aspirational ﬁgures for other Africans. This mental positioning goes
41 UchennaOnuzulike, Nollywood video film's impact on Nigerian and other African environments and cultures (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280034246_Nollywood_video_film's_impact_on_Nigerian and_other_African_environments_and_cultures [accessed Mar 25 2018] 42 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_of_Nigeria 43 Source: http://getwrightonit.com/how-much-does-3d-animation-cost/ 44 https://www.studiopigeon.com/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-to-produce-animation-and-why/ 45 http://www.nearshoreamericas.com/animation-cottage-industry-argentina-gambling-build-future/ 46 DOWNLOAD THE CONTENT Co-producing with Latin America.pdf
Distribution: In Nigeria, cinemas are a proven and viable channel of content distribution as the systems and infrastructure are in place to minimize chances of piracy. This channel has been tested by several Nigerian and international movies that have had successful 47 box ofﬁce runs without the blight of piracy . The success of the cinema as a channel of distribution is largely responsible for the restoration of faith in Nigeria's content ecosystem. In other parts of the world, television is the leading platform for distributing animation. This is driven by the networks directly commissioning production of animated content or the purchase of licenses to broadcast them. Sadly, this has not been the case with Nigerian television houses. It is thought to be due to ﬁnancial constraints on those houses. As a result of this absence of funding in the children's entertainment arena, television stations have had to content themselves with licensing animated content from across the globe, with a clear bias to products that have had their successful runs in more developed industries. The result is a stark scarcity of locally relevant content for the children's belt. Nigerian content producers now pursue distribution partnerships with local television stations in diffusing content to their intended audiences. 48
This is where the Nigerian ecosystem appears to be at its weakest. It is however noteworthy that private sector ﬁnancing for
the animation business is a difﬁcult feat all over the world. This is derived from the very nature of the business as outlined below: 1. It is a hit-based venture: The losses incurred in the production of non-successful ventures are expected to be covered by the excess proﬁt obtained from successful ones. 2. It is a long-term venture: Animated properties when they succeed, have a signiﬁcant shelf life. The Mickey Mouse franchise has thrilled audiences for almost a hundred years and is still going strong and characters from Hanna Barbera cartoons still get their audiences in stitches, while the downstream sources of revenue from these properties are still doing signiﬁcantly well in several territories of the world. Consequently, it is not a very attractive venture for short term investors who are looking to grow a company fast and exit big. “The current mismatch between the kind of funding that Nigerian animation studios seek and the type of funding required for their business must be addressed if animation funding is to improve. Animators should understand that they need longer term funding for their projects, such as equity investments from HNIs. They should focus their attention on those, and not seek short-term funds they will not be able to return successfully to their investors.” Chika Ochonogor (Intellectual Property Lawyer)
Animators and animation studio founders must be aware of this particular attribute of the animation and visual effects business in order to avail themselves of the funds that are in existence.
https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2017/07/27/cinemas-best-thing-movie-productionproducer/ https://guardian.ng/art/african-folktales-and-the-challenges-of-comics-animationproduction/ 47
Traditionally, funding for cultural industries like animation are best led by government, which then plays a diminishing role as the private sector warms up to the risks associated with the industry and takes its rightful place as the primary industry driver. The opportunity to take leadership in this critical area still awaits government attention. "We live in a country where those with the means are not interested in investing in the future of the country. So when you tell them about developing content for children, they will be asking you about the short term proﬁtability of the venture." Niyi Akinmolayan, Anthill studios In the context of generally admitted difﬁculty in raising funds for animation projects, the onus is on the animation producer to familiarize himself with the sources of funding available. The Project ACT Nollywood fund 4 9 , for instance, lists animation as one of the types of projects it was set up to fund. Co-production as a source of finance In order to better understand the funding constraints on the Nigerian animation industry, it is necessary to look at the models employed in similar industries in other parts of the world. Traditionally, animation was distributed via television and cinema through television networks and large ﬁlm studios respectively. These partners who directly beneﬁt from the produced content, and which have both the means and the reach to effectively distribute and monetize them to a large audience are ready ﬁnanciers of content that they deem appropriate for their audiences. In France, where there are over
thirty television networks, the channels for local ﬁnancing and production of animation of animated content are clearly deﬁned. In Nigeria, wherein which the pay TV industry is dominated by two players MNET and Startimes and only recently challenged by newcomer Kwese, the options for local content production for television distribution are quite limited. This has led local animation producers to look beyond the shores of Nigeria at other industries with better developed distribution networks for ﬁnancing for their projects. Seven Mbuotidem’s Basement Animation has successfully secured a co-production deal with Ingrid Agbo’s Francebased Nebularts to produce the animated series L’arbre a Palimseste (The tree of Palimpsest) for the French television network Gulli after the show’s pilot won the Gulli price at the Annecy Film Festival in 2017. Pan-African story development competitions such as Disney’s Story Labs and DISCOP’s annual Digital Labs have provided animation producers from Nigeria with a window by which to reach the world. One of such success stories is Ayodele Elegba’s Spoof Animation which, after winning in the transmedia category of the ﬁrst Digital Labs competition, went on not only to develop his show “Area Daddy” into a web series in collaboration with Keewu Production/ Lagadere Studios, but also had the series greenlit for a full-ﬂedged television production. As of this moment, we are yet to see the ﬁrst Nigerian co-production on an animated feature ﬁlm, but it will come.
http://www.projectactnollywood.com.ng/film-production-fund/ Primary data
The key drivers of co-production opportunities include international treaties, access to a skilled labor pool, tax incentives for international collaborations, and relatively low costs of labor. Of these, the large Nigerian, English speaking population provides suitable raw material from which a formidable production-ready labor pool can be forged. This was the premise upon which the Vice President of Nigeria proposed a plan to train a thousand animators during the years 2016 through 2018. Similar conditions have seen the Chinese and Indian animation industries become co-production partners of choice for Studios in Europe, Japan and North America, but the proposed training has yet to run its course.
the country are in place, a system will evolve which progressively addresses the skills gap within the Nigerian animation industry. We put out a poll on Facebook on the distribution of skill sets within the Nigerian animation space. The results are presented below:
This gap in government action provides an opportunity for local animation producers to step up to the plate and bridge the skills gap in the industry. It also makes a case for international intervention in the skills development arena. The studios that have succeeded in securing co-production deals have been characterized by having robust staff training and up-skilling programs. Supply of Labour
Geography: The Spread of Animation Practice in Nigeria
The 190 million large and youthful Nigerian population has 62.15% of its general population below the age of 25. This ďŹ gure coupled with an employment crisis that has left 18% of the employable population without jobs means the animation industry has access to a vast supply of talent. The animation studios themselves have recognized this and created various training systems in order to transform the teeming mass of talented individuals into skilled professionals.
While animation production understandably enjoys the widest representation in the city of Lagos, which is the commercial capital of Nigeria, the practise of animation is broadly spread across the nation. Even though identifying and locating all the animation studios and practitioners in Nigeria was beyond the scope of this project, we discovered enough animators and animation studios in other states outside of Lagos and Abuja to reasonably conclude that there is a community of animators in every state of the federation.
The mean monthly salary within the industry at N80,000 ($222 as at March 2018) is twice the median salary in Nigeria, which makes the animation industry attractive for young talent. Once the bridges to connect this talent with the required education which are being developed within animation studios across
The geographical spread of Nigerian animation talent does validate the premise of Pixar's movie "Ratatouille" that, while not everybody has great talent, great talent can come from anywhere.
Graph: Location of Animation studios in Nigeria by State51
Peculiarities of the Geopolitical Zones. For the purpose of this document, we focused on animators based in Lagos and Abuja. The practise of animation in Lagos State is largely to meet the needs of the advertising market that is strongest in Nigeria. Interaction with Nollywood, the movie industry that grew largely out of Lagos, is minimal even though a few studios indicated their intention to pursue movie projects as a way of diversifying from the advertising market. In the Abuja, the animation studios have had more success selling animation services to civil society organizations and the community development ecosystem in general. These comprise of international foundations with direct presence in Nigeria who are working on various sustainable development goals. This is a market with lower price points on individual projects, but which tends to commission higher volumes of work than the advertising market in Lagos.
Chart: Average price per minute of animation sold to advertisers and NGOs.52
The level of proﬁciency of animation professionals in Lagos appears to be higher on the average than what is obtainable in the Abuja animation ecosystem. This is evidenced from the number of viral animated shorts that have emanated from studios domiciled in the various states of the federation. Indeed the evidence of western inﬂuence on the content developers in Lagos is more evident than those based in Abuja. This should not be interpreted as a blanket statement however. Animation producers like Suleiman Suraj with his television series Gizo Da Basamude, which features an anthropomorphic spider and brings local folklore to life, create animation that favours an Eastern audience. In early tests, he reported signiﬁcant interest in his work from Northern Africa and the middle east, with particularly strong attention from Egypt. The Lagos Studios on the other hand favour the Western audience which has been heavily inﬂuenced by the pervasive American animation.
DEMAND FOR ANIMATED CONTENT DEMOGRAPHIC AND SOCIAL FORCES DRIVING THE CONSUMPTION OF ANIMATED CONTENT. According to Index Mundi, Nigeria has a population of 190,632,261, and this is three times the population of the UK. It has been observed that those who enjoyed early exposure to animation tend to retain their afﬁnity towards it. The fact that over 62% of the Nigerian population is under the age of 25, indicates that this signiﬁcant segment of the Nigerian population has been exposed to animation from their childhood. This young population is connected to the internet, and is largely responsible for the 83% mobile internet penetration the country boasts.53 According to the Honorable Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, "Nigeria has a ready domestic audience and market. Nigeria has about 86.2 million people online, and that s 46.1% of the population, ranking it number one in Africa and number seven in the world. It has 44 million television viewing homes in the country. In addition, Nigeria’s telecommunication industry, a key driver of digital distribution of content in Nigeria has grown to $25 billion, and active lines are said to be well over 113 million, in comparison with 450,000 people and $500 million investment portfolio in the year 2000, again ranking it No.1 in Africa and 11th in the world. Nigeria is also presently positioned as a cultural leader in Africa, so that content that succeeds here enjoys attention across the continent.
THE ANIMATION VALUE CHAIN In order to better understand animation and its value chain it is important to not think of the animated ﬁlm or series as an isolated object, but rather as an important part of a network of value that the animation company provides to its audience. Take the animated ﬁlm "Frozen" for example, while it did exceptionally well when it was released in 2013, it also spawned an extensive line of ancillary products (toys, educational tools, bedspreads, nightwear, games, etc) that continue to generate revenue for Walt Disney studios ﬁve years later and beyond. The animated feature is therefore not an end in itself, but a means of bringing the audience into a world wherein they receive value on several levels, creating opportunity for further monetization of the property. In the Nigerian animation ecosystem, Muyiwa Kayode s "Turtle Taido" and Adamu Waziri’s "Bino and Fino" are the main properties that have received sufﬁcient attention to enjoy downstream revenue. In fact, Adamu s EVCL Studio at the moment generates 100% of its revenue from the downstream reverberations of the animated shorts they released onto YouTube in 2010!
DEMAND FOR ANIMATED CONTENT Merchandising opportunities
Going by the rule of "whither the success stories?", one could assume that merchandising as a reliable revenue stream in Nigeria was a far-fetched venture. African or Nigerian themed toys are hard to come by and Nigerian stores are dominated by toys from everywhere else. The hasty conclusion would then be that Nigerian-themed toys do not have a ready market. That conclusion would be faulted by EVCL’s Adamu Waziri, whose company produces the “Bino and Fino” cartoon series, and whose characters have found a following in the UK, the US and as far as Asia. According to Adamu Waziri, "We have made most of our revenue from merchandize, but not from Nigeria."56 By launching content on the internet, EVCL Studios discovered a market for Nigerian-themed merchandise in different countries around the world. The deﬁnitive answer to the “success stories” question would be Paul Orajiaka’s Auldon Toys57, producers of the Unity Dolls which can be found in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and in some parts of Europe . In his own words: "In 1997 when we started, our capital base was just $30, but as at 2014, the company’s turnover has surged to over $7 million. Currently, we distribute to all leading retail outlets and supermarkets across Nigeria; Game, Shoprite, Spar, Next, Park n Shop, Emab, and many others." Paul Orajiaka (CEO, Auldon Toys) There are very few players within the African-themed toys market and this has resulted in the scarcity of success stories. But the situation also represents an opportunity to ﬁll a vacuum as the pioneers have proven that viable markets exist within and outside the country for Nigeriancharacter themed toys. When it is taken into consideration that children engage deeply with the characters they experience on both the big and the small screens, and that parents are more eager to buy educative toys for their children than toys that merely entertain, the opportunity to market educative IP-themed content from Nigeria to the world presents itself.
http://www.clarion-cms.com/uploads/Pages/site206_52838_en_file1.pdf https://blackgirlnerds.com/educational-cartoon-the-bino-and-fino-show-is-set-tolaunch-dvd/ 56 https://kidworldcitizen.org/watch-bino-and-fino-a-new-african-cartoon/ 57 http://www.clarion-cms.com/uploads/Pages/site206_52838_en_file1.pdf 55
KEY CHANNELS OF DISTRIBUTION OF ANIMATION CONTENT Television According to the World Bank collection of development indicators, the television penetration in Nigeria in the year 2010 was 40%. In 2014, it rose to 56.6%. BusinessWireReseach and Markets says 58 15% of the Nigerian population subscribe to pay TV. With 47.7 of total subscriptions, DStv has the largest market share of this pay television market. Meanwhile, 85% of Nigerians also access television via free-to-air channels. According to the same BusinessWire research, the net television advertising spend at the end of 2014 was $92.7 million. The key drivers of the pay TV market are content and pricing, while that of the free-toair market is primarily content. Taking into consideration that 62.5% of the population are under the age of 25, this may explain the absence of any animation-dedicated stations among the top 10 by audience share in 2017, according to this GeoPoll survey:
Habits are formed by repetition, and repeated exposure to appealing content builds acceptance and eventually, adoption. Television programming, with its periodical, predictable, habit-forming tendencies provides a natural environment to bring animation audiences into a more intimate and personal connection with characters they love. To get a clearer picture of the power of television, letâ€™s take a look at the worldâ€™s most successful animation company, Walt Disney. Below is a chart displaying the breakdown of its revenues. These cable networks in turn generate most of their revenue from fees under multi-year agreements with multi-channel video distributors that enable these distributors to carry content from the Disney Channel, ESPN and ABC Family.
The untapped power of television programming5960
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180110005628/en/Sub-Saharan-AfricaPay-TV-Market-Forecasts-2017-2023 59 https://knowledge.geopoll.com/nigeria-media-measurement-kgmm-report-0-0 60 https://tvproductionnigeria.com/2014/04/27/the-media-market-in-nigeria/ 61 https://www.statista.com/statistics/193140/revenue-of-the-walt-disney-company-byoperating-segment/
THE NTA 62
The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) is Africa’s largest television network. With 101 stations distributed all over Nigeria, as well as on satellite television and cable tv, its potential reach is unrivalled. Currently, NTA accounts for only 11.6% of the 22.3% audience share for stations outside of the top 10 in Nigeria. With more focus on the underserved (and populous) childrens’ demographic, the station can reassert its place in Nigeria and Africa. According to the NTA service charter, it serves as the medium for the African continent to tell the African story. This makes it the ideal candidate to co-create and distribute on projects with long term cultural and commercial beneﬁts. There is presently no commissioned locally created animation on NTA.
Other Broadcasters Ebonylife TV is leading the charge of funding and co-funding locally made animation by commissioning short ﬁlms for broadcast on their platform. Broadcast stations in Nigeria typically look to have a revenue sharing arrangement with content producers who have interesting material. Deals like this help the animated content producer sidestep the high cost of putting content on television stations. It costs an average of 500,000 ($1388) per episode to put a 30 minute television program on air.
Pay TV operators in Nigeria63 Dstv, the subsaharan satellite television company owned by South African media giant Napsers. And Startimes is Chinese owned and the latest entrant is Kwese TV which is owned by the Econet group. These are the major players within the pay TV arena in Nigeria. 62 63
While there are other players such as ConSat TV, MyTV the aforementioned control over 90% of the audience share between them. Neither of the three major Pay TV operators in Nigeria is known to have licensed or commissioned the production of Nigerian made
Social Media Platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have been highly instrumental in the visibility of Nigerian animation. And YouTube has had the most developed content monetization program. In January 2018, YouTube changed its partnership policy so that only channels that had achieved 4000 watch hours within the last 12 months were eligible for monetization. This development effectively shut most of the Nigerian animation houses out of the partnership program because animated content tends to be much shorter than live action content. And the extra costs of producing longer form content may not be recoupable from YouTube monetization. Experiments are currently being carried out with limited animation to forge a way back into the YouTube partnership program. The success stories that have been recorded by the Nigerian animation industry in their use of social media has been limited to promotional beneﬁts. The immediate access to a global audience that the platforms provide has been exploited by studios like EVCL, Orange Vfx, Komotion Studios, Quadron Studios, amongst others. And social media is still the choice method studios introduce their audiences to new content.
Video on demand(VOD) Platforms Netﬂix and Iroko TV are the two major players in the VOD space in Nigeria. IFLIX, recently acquired by Kwese TV is a challenger to the dominance of the two incumbents. The VOD market in Nigeria is driven by connectivity, content and pricing. Iroko TV, recognizing this, has adjusted its pricing to an annual subscription rate of 2,000 ($5.55) , and currently offers data-free downloads at its ofﬂine stalls. Netﬂix remains focused on the upper end of the income spectrum, while Iﬂix is content to play somewhere in between. Iroko TV has cast its lot with Nollywood and is promoted as the best source for Nigerian content, and has recently launched another platform Iroko X, which is designed speciﬁcally to distribute short-form content. It has also aligned its pricing with the connectivity and pricing realities of the average Nigerian. None of the major VOD platforms have commissioned any animation production. Within the animation community itself, a number of VOD platforms such as Nicademia and ToonClub have sprung up, with the objective of appealing to the niche market of lovers and enthusiasts of African-themed animation, as well as younger audiences within the continent.
VOD platforms represent an under-exploited opportunity for animated content. It is a business of numbers, and will be driven by the availability of larger quantities of animated content within the market, and proprietary properties that are well promoted. Animation companies must become increasingly aware of raising the quantity and more importantly the quality of animation production from the current levels. (Nigeria produced less than 2000 minutes of animation in 2017).
Cinema When Anthill Studios produced their animated short ﬁlm "Plaything", it premiered at the cinema. Giving audiences a foretaste of what a Nigerian animated feature ﬁlm will look like on the big screen. Monetizing animated shorts at the cinemas however would require more content from the animation studios, and some bold deal-making with cinema houses. With his animated feature ﬁlm, „Sade, Miller Luwoye looks to set a clear path to monetising animation through cinemas. By creating an animated feature ﬁlm starring Nollywood s ﬁnest actors, he has effectively plugged into a distribution system thirty years in the making, and brought animation to be a necessary subsector of the Nigerian ﬁlm industry. Nigerian cinema has since the 2000s seen a resurgence, rising from the direct to video era of the 1990s. From zero cinema screens in 2003, Nigeria has grown its cinema screen numbers to just below 200 screens. While this is still a far cry from what obtains in the United States with 40,392 screens, it is a step in the right direction. Cinema in Nigeria has also seen movie producers sidestep the pirate-infested, murky waters of the DVD market.
Internet Penetration in Nigeria and Africa. Source: JUMIA mobile report
VFX Service to Other Markets Even though the Nigerian animation industry has not yet distinguished itself as a choice destination for visual effects projects, individual artists and studios have collaborated globally. Most have had independent producers from across the world reach out to them for their services in the production of visual effects in hopes of taking From the charts above, it becomes apparent advantage of the relatively low labor costs in that there is greater opportunity for higher quality movies to successfully realise their Co-Productions returns on investment from the Nigerian market, Until recently, the Nigerian animation industry within the cinema system. It also indicates that was yet to see its ﬁrst co-production with a Nigerians have warmed up to the idea of viewing studio outside the shores of the country.. locally made movies on the big screen. These T h r o u g h t h e M I F A p l a t f o r m , S e v e n indicators are positive news for the movie M b u o t i d e m ' s B a s e m e n t A n i m a t i o n producer- animated or otherwise, and they help collaborated with Nebular Arts to create to validate a business case for a locally made L'arbre à Palimpseste, a series of 10 minute animations which this year was prefeature ﬁlm. purchased by Gulli, the French network VFX Service to Nollywood dedicated to children's programming. Of the leading animation studios, all of whom have revenue streams of less than 10m Ayodele Elegba's Spoof animation, who had annually, the average proportion of studio earlier won the ﬁrst (2016) edition of the revenues derived from services rendered to the MIFA's Digital Lab Africa in the transmedia Nigerian ﬁlm industry stands at 10.01%. category also had success with the Most of these animation studios reported that they have in fact not earned any revenue from doing business with the ﬁlm industry. This might be as a result of Nollywood’s traditionally low budgets which puts the production of complex visual effects shots beyond the reach of the industry. However, the Nigerian cinema is growing and movie producers are seeing bigger bets pay off so this low budget trend may change in the future. The success of more adventurous movies like Banana Island Ghost, which netted N35m in its opening weekend, is likely to embolden ﬁlm makers to create movies outside of the traditional drama genre that Nollywood is known for. Successes like this create opportunity for the animation industry to be commissioned to meet the visual effects needs of Nollywood, providing a service that right now, is affordable only to the highly capitalized advertising industry.
greenlighting of "Area Daddy" in collaboration with keewu Productions, a division of Lagardère Studios (France/Sénégal). These victories are indicators of the growth in the Nigerian animation industry practitioners' ability to succeed on the global stage when given the opportunity.
Creative Labs The advent of creative labs in the African space has provided to Nigeran content creators an opportunity to screen their work before an international audience. Disney and Triggerﬁsh's Story Labs held in 2015 from which Nigeria's Nnedi Okorafor emerged as one of the selected content developers. This was followed by MIFA's Digital Labs Africa which gave Ayodele Elegba his window to the world, which he rode all the way to Annecy. As at the time of writing this, a call is open for content creators to apply for Cartoon Network's creative lab. This is indicative of increased interest in African themed, locally created animation from the large players in more established industries, which is in line with the projections of the PWC report on the Entertainment and Media industry earlier cited within the document.
The Nigerian game development scene has risen sharply over the last few years with sports betting emerging as a particularly viable subsector. The local video gaming sector of the same market however, is yet to ﬁnd its voice. It is presently constituted of relatively small companies and is indeed a fragmented industry. According to the
PWC 6 4 report on the Nigerian gaming industry, the market is growing, riding on the improved mobile penetration in Nigeria, and broadening to include the middle class. Despite this fact, according to data from Statista.com, social gaming is a fast growing market and this growth trend is not expected to abate before 2021.65 This then calls to question what the local players are doing wrong, and why they all seem to be missing the ship on the ﬂourishing gaming market. Biola Olaniran of Gamsole seems to have an idea. 67 Pitching "African games" as your primary diﬀerentiator doesn’t really help because what people really care about is, "is the game fun?" You can’t just develop games for Nigerians alone. That won’t ﬂy, trust me. You have to design something with a global mind s e t, s o m e t h i n g t h a t w i ll a p p e a l t o everybody." Biola Olaniran. CEO Gamsole Biola’s statement is an indicator that opportunities exist despite the difﬁculties, and that local game developers need to adopt a global mindset in order to exploit them. Having developed a visual language that resonates with the Nigerian populace and which has gradually begun to appeal to a global audience, Nigerian animation companies are in a prime position to expand their competence into the game development territory. This might be the missing link between the Nigerian video game industry and success in its own local market.
Graph: App-based social gaming market in Nigeria from 2012 to 202166
https://www.pwc.com/ng/en/assets/pdf/nigeria-gaming-industry.pdf https://www.statista.com/statistics/555316/nigeria-mobile-games-market-value/ 66 https://www.statista.com/statistics/555316/nigeria-mobile-games-market-value/ 67 https://techpoint.ng/2015/03/30/gamsole-not-build-games-for-nigerians-only-abiolaolaniran/ 65
AR/VR CONTENT The production of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) content are an extension of the video game development industry. This emerging, highly exciting sector has been predicted by Price Waterhouse Coopers to exceed the interactive apps and gaming market in terms of revenue generation by 201968. Animation companies, with their existing capabilities in digital content creation and world-building skills, have a learning curve advantage in the creation of virtual reality and augmented reality content.
GOVERNMENT ACTION Nigeria’s ability to produce animation in commercial quantities is still relatively low. Though 15 hours and 7 hours of 2D and 3D animation respectively was produced in 2017 by the twenty studios interviewed, the cumulative impact of these projects are yet to be felt. This indicates that, apart from the traditional distribution bottlenecks, there might exist a quality gradient that prevents these volumes of content from achieving mainstream success and cultural impact. It is noteworthy the 2D series "Turtle Taido" which aired on Africa Magic 69. was animated outside the shores of the Nigeria
The Chinese Example The present shortage of animation content is a situation that Nigeria has in common with the China of recent history. In 1979, when China started its policy of openness and reforms, the country’s ability to produce animation was zero70. Through a series of measures; a ban on imported anime products from airing during prime time, set up of national animation industry bases across the country, and a quota system that created demand for home grown animation, the Chinese government was able to raise the airtime of domestically produced animation from zero in 1994, to 364 hours in 2004, 714 hours in 2005 and 1372 hours in 2006. At 3,675 hours in 2010, it marked the world’s longest airtime of domestically produced animation. The China example shows that with focused and intentional actions, the potential of the Nigerian animation production industry can be realized. Considering the success that the movie and music sectors have had in exporting the Nigerian culture to Africa and beyond, there is reason to believe this trend can continue in the animation space.
https://www.pwc.com/ng/en/assets/pdf/nigeria-gaming-industry.pdf https://friedplantains.com/film/adventures-of-turtle-taido 70 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/11b6/84ea802f8873f09ad2807d8f62e29202b86e.pdf 69
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE ANIMATION INDUSTRY Tax holidays: Businesses in Nigeria operate under multiple taxation regimes and this has stiﬂed their growth to a large extent. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), of which are all Nigerian animation studios at the moment, are particularly impacted by these regimes. Animation companies should be granted tax holidays to allow them grow. The easing off of tax burdens will allow these organisations extra cashﬂow to build their businesses. Commissioned Educational Content: Cooperation between the Nigerian government and the animation community in the education arena is important. This collaboration will help address two key issues confronting the nation; scarcity of jobs and the non-availability of locally relevant educational content as observed by the Director General of the NTA, Mr. Yakubu Ibn-Mohammed on the occasion of the Chinese Animation season. “This trend is not healthy for us as a nation, because our children today are the leaders of tomorrow who should be embodiment of our culture and values. We need more local animated content and I hope we can collaborate with foreign partners to achieve this objective." 71 Mr. Yakubu Ibn Mohammed. Director General, NTA
Support for Innovation Hubs Creating an enabling environment for skills acquisition and content creation cannot be left to the industry alone. Even in the infantile state of the current animation industry, the average animation studio has a team size of 12 individuals. In a country with an unemployment crisis, the impact a thriving animation industry would have on youth unemployment is signiﬁcant. Animation is a highly collaborative and labor-intensive venture requiring the assembly of large teams. This means the industry can have a greater impact on youth unemployment than the greater ﬁlm industry. Innovation hubs would help talented individuals selected on the merit of their artistic ability with training, hardware, software, mentorship and other infrastructural support needed to help them in their progress towards becoming skilled professionals. Hubs would also organize these talents into teams in a studio-production format so that they can learn on the job. Such initiatives would address the talent gaps within the industry, while also creating a soft landing for young entrants to get into the industry and prove their mettle and perhaps most importantly, provide employment for many. These hubs would also have the aggregated clout to negotiate distribution deals for the content developed by teams they have incubated.
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE ANIMATION INDUSTRY Addressing the Funding Problem Every single animation studio interviewed in the poll carried out indicated that funding was one of the main challenges they faced. Considering the signiﬁcant cost of producing animated content, this is a major impediment to growth. It must be noted however that successful animation deals are able to bring in much more than the cost of production and they continue to do so for several decades, sometimes outlasting their creators as has been seen in the cases of Walt Disney and the Hannah & Babara team. Accessible Funding for animation production through a merit-based system with a view to developing the cultural exports from Nigeria through government agency would help stimulate large scale animation production, a requirement for a virile animation industry.
Non-Governmental Interventions There is an opportunity in the animation industry for the development of educational content for children. This is a critical niche currently unﬁlled by the animation studios who have proﬁt in view, and the government establishments that have the developmental goal of educating the population. The NGOs, which do not have the proﬁt-oriented burden of the studios or the bureaucracy associated with government projects have the freedom to obtain funding from other institutions who share similar interests in sub-saharan Africa. 72
A notable example of such a non-governmental initiative is the Children’s Television Workshop based in the US. This organization has been responsible for the production of several wholesome television programs within the American system. Some of their programs, one of which is the renown television educational series “Sesame Street”, have gone on to become global exports in their own right.
Sources of funding for the Nigerian Animation producer The Nigerian animation ﬁlm producer has a number of funding sources that can be explored: 1. The Bank Of Industry(BOI) 2. Film festivals 3. High networth individuals (Private investors) 4. Educational or sustainable development grants 5. Soft funding from technology partners e.g. Intel, Microsoft, etc 6. Project ACTNOLLYWOOD fund 7. Innovation Hubs 8. Pan-African Creative Labs 9. High networth individuals HNIs 10. Venture Capitalists
THE ANIMATION ECOSYSTEM Apart from the animation studios which form the nucleus around which any animation industry must necessarily be built, there are several skill sets which constitute industries in their own right without which such an industry can not be sustained. Of these are: 1. Voice Actors: Even though voice-over production is a thriving industry in Nigeria, with a nationally recognized Association of Voice Over Artistes (AVOA), animation production takes the art of producing voice-overs to a new artistic level. It enables voice actors achieve a level of acclaim that no other medium affords. Examples in popular culture of iconic voices include that of 73 74 Donald Duck , Optimus Prime and Bugs 75 Bunny , wherein the success of the characters voiced has ushered the voice actors into celebrity status. 2. Motion Capture Studios: Motion capture has over the years emerged as an important costsaving tool for studios involved in visual effects and game production. The technical skills required in capturing and deploying motion data are outside of the range of artistic skills that a traditional animation studio would normally keep in-house. A thriving animation industry would consequently rely on such an industry to supply its motion capture needs. 3. Foley and Sound Design: Unlike live-action cinema, animated movies do not have any assets automatically generated in the course of ﬁlming. Consequently, every footstep, every teardrop, every single sound that accompanies the events great or small must be carefully curated or created. This job is the preserve of foley and sound design artists who provide
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Duck https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Cullen 75 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Blanc 74
audio authenticity to the animated movie for the small or big screen. 4. Matte Painters: To create expansive worlds, the skill of the painter is brought to bear upon animated movies. Artists who have solid backgrounds in landscape painting will ﬁnd ready opportunity in supplying matte painting backgrounds for animated movies, and visual effects shots. 5. Production Managers: Production management is an existing profession within the live action ﬁlm making. However, the requirements for animation are signiﬁcantly different. This is because animation production requires the generation of several ﬁles which must all be individually accounted for in order for the movie to be complete. Individuals with backgrounds in project management will ﬁnd opportunity here. 6. Software Development: All animation production has been impacted by the computer in one way or the other. New tools are always being developed to make ﬁlmmaking faster, better and more engaging. Software developers are at this technical end of the spectrum and are required to build rigs for lighting, animation, develop new shaders, or new algorithm for the visual interpretation of natural phenomena. The case for developing a thriving animation industry in Nigeria is that it would create jobs not only for the actual practitioners, but also for several others whose industries would spring up as a direct result of a thriving indigenous animation industry.
Technology Partners for the Animation Industry In the event of a fully functional animation ecosystem, there are stakeholders who will necessarily beneﬁt and technology partners who will open new lines of business in Nigeria derivative of the animation ecosystem. These include: 1 . Computer Hardware Manufacturers: Animation rendering requires high-end hardware, distinct from consumer level hardware commonly in sale in Nigeria today. These are required for the rendering of animation frames, higher end Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) required for handling complex scenes, servers for managing the huge amounts of data that are generated in the course of large scale productions. Intel, Nvidia, AMD fall in this category. 2. Information Management Software Suppliers: The data generated by animated movies require specialised tools to effectively organize them. 3. Animation Software manufacturers: Animation is done today through the agency of complex software developed by large corporations. Industry-speciﬁc tools such as Autodesk’s Maya and 3ds max, Blender the open source animation tool, Quixel’s DDO, the production suite from Adobe are just a few of the tools without which animation would be impossible for the Nigerian producer. 4. Independent Software Developers: Developers capable of extending the capabilities of the off-the-shelf tools are necessary partners in creating animation. 5. Motion Capture Companies: Companies that offer motion capture services would thrive in a successful animation industry from business they would obtain from directors and producers looking to tell their animated stories.
SWOT Analysis of the Nigerian Animation Industry Strengths Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ
Unique history with a strong visual identity Rich and diverse cultural heritage from which a pool of characters readily presents itself Large population with signiﬁcant potential for talent abundance Low cost of labor within the country
Weaknesses Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ
Fragmented industry made up of very small companies. Lack of institutions of learning in the animation industry Lack of business exposure among most participants Weak distribution channels Absence of community within the industry Lack of institutional funding frameworks within the Nigerian cultural space Lack of skilled manpower within the industry
Opportunities Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ
Franco-German fund and its efforts to develop the animation industry in Nigeria Rise in the number of cinema screens in Nigeria Netﬂix now carries Nigerian content Kwesé has purchased Iﬂix in the VOD space creating more avenues for monetization Improvements in motion capture and real-time rendering technologies Increased international interest in the Nigerian animation industry The advent of creative labs across the continent. The increasing power of open-source software to create content with. The increased availability of business skills classes on platforms like Coursera by which animat
Threats Ÿ Inﬂux of Chinese competition into Nigeria Ÿ Strong competition from other African countries with better developed animation
Ÿ Inﬂation resulting from the implementation of a new minimum wage regime Ÿ Premature government regulation of the animation industry
Need for Massive Scale Animation Education One key thing highlighted by this research is that in order to take advantage of the opportunities the Nigerian animation industry has, the manpower shortage must ﬁrst be addressed. This is because the original content development and co-production opportunities that currently abound require the industry to be able to produce animation at scale. It is noteworthy that the ﬁrst Nigerian animated series “Turtle Taido” was itself animated in the US.76 Animation studios are faced with a chicken or egg scenario - which comes ﬁrst? Do the studios wait until they are funded in order to reach beyond their comfort zones and take on the manpower crisis with the seriousness it deserves? Or do they create the talent pool necessary for scaled up production in order to attract funding? Ultimately, each studio must carefully consider the costs and the beneﬁts of each course of action in order to develop their strategic and business
Repositioning In the Animation Advertising Space The 2016 economic recession and the attendant fall in the value of the naira has seen local producers get more animation projects. This scenario casts the Nigerian animation industry as the inferior commodity when compared to local live action practitioners and South African animation studios. This scenario need not be a permanent one, and animation studios in Nigeria must seize the opportunity for aggressive upskilling within the industry. When the economic tides eventually turn for the better, Nigerian animation companies should be able to rise to the occasion and handle the technically complex projects that are currently being outsourced to South African vendors.
Nigerian Animation: Writing Our Own Narrative In embracing the business of animation, Nigeria has to write her own script. While the business models of the US-based companies are the most well known because those companies have largely succeeded in their quest for global domination, those models are not the only paths to success. Indeed, the environmental conditions and business climate that enables those models succeed in the US may simply not be available here in Nigeria. It is therefore necessary for local animation producers to look inward to industries that have had a measure of success and are yet in the process of continental dominance such as the music and the movie industries. A comparison can be drawn between the ambitious local producers and the French or New Zealand companies like Mc Guff and Weta Digital respectively. These companies have emerged as top of the line partners for American productions such as The Lord Of The Ring movies, and the Despicable Me movies, earning global accolades for their efforts. The commonalities between the industries that produced these companies are noteworthy; both are built on a rich supply of local artistic talent capable of world-class production and both have lower labor costs than their American counterparts. As a result, they represent an avenue for their Hollywood partners to save cost without the compromise on quality usually associated with such a saving.
https://friedplantains.com/film/adventures-of-turtle-taido http://www.nearshoreamericas.com/animation-cottage-industry-argentina-gamblingbuild-future/ 77
There is no limit to the number of choices available to the Nigerian animation industry in its approach to the global market. The rose that grew from concrete may simply forge its own way, growing its faithful fan base from the Nigerian market, outwards to Africa and then the world. This will follow a path already set by Nollywood and the music industry; co-productions may provide local animation producers with an intermediate working environment in which local production capacity can be upgraded to match the expectations of the global marketthe possibilities are endless. Meanwhile, there has never been a time like this for African content; the success of Marvel Studio’s "Black Panther" having dealt a blow to the myth that audiences would not watch movies that featured African characters in anything other than token roles. Given the rich and largely unexploited history and mythology that Nigeria, like most African countries is endowed with, crafty storytellers have an opportunity to expose the global audience to new visual languages and tastes they have never experienced before. As these things happen, the ﬁrst success stories will blaze the trail for the others to follow. The world will awake to the realization that the dark continent has more to offer than mere images of poverty and famine, and that it in fact has a lot of light she could share with the rest of the human race. It’s been afﬁrmed that Africa is the world’s last large untapped entertainment and media market. Where does this leave the Nigerian artist with a computer and a dream? Go make that movie!!!
[PWC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2017-2021] https://www.statista.com/statistics/555316/nigeria-mobile-games-market-value/ https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151102005692/en/Research-MarketsPay-TV-FTA-Broadcasting-Nigeria https://tradingeconomics.com/nigeria/indicators https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/02/no-local-content-childrens-televisionprogramme-nta/ http://mediaperspectives.ng/nmag/analyze/?sector=mediafacts&data_title=Regional+Channel+Viewership+Skews+-+Lagos
B I B L I O G R A P H Y
Uchenna Onuzulike, Nollywood video ﬁlm's impact on Nigerian and other African environments and cultures (PDF Download Available). Availablefrom:https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280034246_Nollywood_video_ﬁl m's_impact_on_Nigerian_and_other_African_environments_and_cultures [accessed Mar 25 2018].
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http://www.nbc-2.com/story/37491642/3d-animation-market-2018-global-trendsmarket-share-industry-size-growth-opportunities-and-market-forecast-to-2025 Wesson, T., Barrows D., & Randall, G. (2010) A strategy for the Ontario Animation and Visual Effects Industry, Computer Animation Studios of Ontario. (2008), Ohio State University http://www.nearshoreamericas.com/animation-cottage-industry-argentina-gambling-build-future/
B I B L I O G R A P H Y
Bibliography Yamada, K. , (2013) Market Competition in the animation industry between Japan and China: How to meet China's rising interest in promoting Domestically-Produced Animation, NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute: Media Research and Studies
Nordicity Group limited, (2012), Economic Proﬁle of the Computer and Visual Effects Industry in Ontario, 2008-2010, Computer Animation Studios of Ontario Hjeyin, Y., The Animation Industry, Technological Changes, production challenges, and Global Shifts Ganiyu, A. The Role of Editorial Cartoons in the Democratisation Process in Nigeria: A study of Selected Works of Three Nigerian Cartoonists: Dissertation.com, 2011 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Age_of_Nigerian_Cinema [Accessed March 12, 2018] http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/stanley-ohikhuare-set-to-release-ﬁrst-nigeriananimation-movie.html
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http://paulacallus.blogspot.com/2009/10/coconut-island-more-from-lagos-nigeria.html [Accessed March 12, 2018] https://techpoint.ng/2015/12/04/4-nigerian-3d-animators-you-never-knew-existed/ https://www.360nobs.com/2013/10/must-watch-video-hilarious-nigerian-animation-clip-bad-gbeduseason-1/
http://www.institutfrancais-nigeria.com/2719/ https://www.indexmundi.com/nigeria/demographics_proﬁle.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underdogs_(2013_Argentine_ﬁlm) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_Nigerian_ﬁlms https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2017/07/27/cinemas-best-thing-movie-production-producer/ Prensario, Co-producing with Latin America: Resourcers, facilities and support offered by the top 6 Latin American markets to audio-visual co-production, Reed- Midem https://guardian.ng/art/african-folktales-and-the-challenges-of-comics-animation-production/
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B I B L I O G R A P H Y
B I B L I O G R A P H Y
Appendix I QUESTIONNAIRE
What are your sources of income?
Which of these sources of revenue would you consider your biggest earner?
What is the proportion of your revenue that is derived from business with Nollywood?
Where in Nigeria are you based?
Do you have original content?
How much of your revenue does it generate?
What is your average quoted price for a 60 second 3d animated commercial?
What is your average quoted price for a 60 second 2d animated commercial?
What is your average quoted price for a visual effects shot?
How many 3D animated commercials do you execute in a month on the average?
How many 2D animated commercials do you execute in a month on the average?
What is the size of your team?
How many of your team members are freelancers?
How many of your team members are full-time staff?
How many of your team members are artistic/ technical staff?
How many of your team members are administrative staff?
What is the average salary in your studio?
Do you have a training system in place?
How many minutes of 3D animation did you produce in 2017?
How many minutes of 2D animation did you produce in 2017?
What would you consider to be your biggest challenge?
Have you ever successfully raised funds?
What is the most important attribute you think an animator should have?
Where/how were you trained?
A P P E N D I X
Is your ďŹ rm a limited liability company,a partnership or a sole proprietorship?
A P P E N D I X
Appendix II TOP 40 GROSSING FILMS IN NIGERIA
A P P E N D I X A P P E N D I X
The white paper was developed by Tayo Fasunon under the auspices of Quadron Studios for the Franco-German cultural fund managed by the Insti...
Published on Nov 21, 2018
The white paper was developed by Tayo Fasunon under the auspices of Quadron Studios for the Franco-German cultural fund managed by the Insti...