Did Ghana’s Movie Industry Miss Out On Streaming?

Ghanaian Moviegoers who want to watch the latest Yvonne Nelson movie online will have a hard time finding any trace of it.

YN Productions’ last movie Kotoka, was released in the movie cinemas in March 2023. In industries in the US and other parts of the world, movies show up on streaming platforms after their theatrical release. In the case of Ghanaian movies, that doesn’t seem to be the case. It takes months before movies show up on streaming platforms and that’s not even guaranteed.

In recent years, the Ghanaian film sector has been struggling to keep up with the changing trends and demands of the global market.

One of the main challenges facing the industry is the lack of access to streaming platforms, which is becoming the dominant mode of distribution and consumption for movies in the 21st century.

The Rise Of Streaming Platforms

Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and HBO Max have revolutionized the way people watch movies and TV shows. They offer convenience, variety, affordability, and personalization to millions of viewers around the world.

They also provide opportunities for filmmakers and producers to reach wider and more diverse audiences, as well as to experiment with different genres, formats, and styles.

However, Ghana has been largely left behind in this streaming revolution. Netflix recently released a report about their investment in the continent but Ghana was left out with Netflix highlighting countries like Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa as major wins for local content.

The director, Shirley Frimpong-Manso has her own streaming platform, Sparrow Station, which streams her produced movies. But as a whole, the entire industry is not moving towards that streaming strategy.

By The Numbers

According to a report by Statista, Ghana had only 0.1 million subscribers to video-on-demand (VOD) services in 2020, compared to 6.9 million in Nigeria and 3.9 million in South Africa.

This means that only a small fraction of Ghanaian viewers have access to streaming content, and that most of the content available is not produced or tailored for the Ghanaian market.

Diving Deeper

With the current situation, the exposure and revenue of Ghanaian filmmakers and actors are limited because they have to compete with foreign productions that have more resources and marketing power.

Lack of data is also an issue because most studios hardly report box office numbers for their movie releases. This makes it difficult to know the size of the industry as a whole and what it’s worth.

What Needs To Happen

In order to make an impact when it comes to streaming, stakeholders in the movie industry need to

  • Developing a national strategy and policy framework for the movie industry and streaming sector, with clear goals, targets, incentives, and regulations.
  • Providing financial and technical support to local filmmakers and producers, especially those who focus on original and innovative content that showcases Ghana’s culture and values.
  • More collaboration with telecom and ISP companies to offer subsidised plans and packages specifically for streaming content
  • Negotiating with international streaming platforms like Netflix to increase their presence and investment in Ghana, as well as to feature more Ghanaian content on their catalogues.

Ghana has a lot of potential to become a leader and innovator in the movie industry and streaming sector in Africa and beyond. However, it needs to act fast and decisively before it loses its competitive edge and cultural relevance. By embracing streaming as an opportunity rather than a threat.

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