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How to Start a Cinema in Nigeria

How to Start a Cinema in Nigeria. Do you have the passion and knowledge of movies? Do you intend to make some money from movies? Here is how to start a cinema in Nigeria.

As at the year 2015, analysts have placed the entire Nigerian movie industry at a value of about $3 billion. This means that Nigerians have a very healthy appetite for movies. One sure fire way of tapping into the huge and still expanding movie industry is by going into the cinema business.

A cinema or movie theatre is a place where a movies are shown on large screens for a paying audience. Cinemas are usually characterised by superior sound effects, high picture quality and comfortable furniture. All these combine to give movie goers an awesome movie viewing experience.

The cinema culture in Nigeria dates as far back as the pre-colonial days from where it then peaked in the 1970s and 1980s. Due mostly to the economic recession of the time the cinema culture became comatose in Nigeria. It was not until in 2004 when the Silverbird Cinema opened in Lagos that cinema culture was rekindled in Nigeria. Since then, lots of cinema houses have popped up in different parts of Lagos, and in almost every major city in Nigeria.

In Nigeria today, the cinema business has grown to become a very profitable and lucrative business, pulling record crowds to movies viewings and generating massive profits for their owners.

This article will show you how to start a cinema in Nigeria.

As with any other business venture, it is important to take some important points into consideration before starting. This will ensure that the risk of failure is highly minimised.

There are two major ways of going into the cinema business in Nigeria.

  • Starting Your Cinema Business Under an Existing Franchise

You can get start your cinema by approaching one of the major existing cinemas in the country and going into a partnership with them. This partnership will enable you to start your own cinema, while using the name of the existing company. The advantage of this method is that you get to enjoy the popularity of the existing brand and the relationship they have with movie distributors, marketers and producers. This can go a long way to attract customers to you. You will also benefit from their wealth of experience.

The no so good side of this method is that it might tend to hinder your own creativity because being a franchise, you have to do things strictly according to the procedure and dictates of the parent company. Running under a franchise also means that you have to part with a portion of your income.

  • Starting Your Cinema Business Independently

In this method you will have to start the entire business from scratch. This method is encouraged if you have been previously involved in running a cinema business and you really know what you are doing. You will be required to market your own brand name and establish your own contacts within the industry. Despite the fact that you are free to do what you like at your own pace, this method carries along with it a greater amount of risk because there is no “big name” for you to start under and learn directly from.

It is in your best interest to properly consider both options, research on them and then determine for yourself which will be best suited for you.

Before going ahead to begin to put money into this business, here are some salient points that need to be carefully thought out.

  1. Select a Good Location

The location of your cinema business is probably the single most important factor that will determine the success or failure of the business. In selecting your location, you have to carry out the proper research on the people living in that locality.

First of all, you should be able to determine using a market survey if the residents in that locality have the need for a cinema house around them. A good market survey will be able to tell you if you will be able to attract customers to your cinema.

Secondly, your location studies should also take the cost of securing a structure into consideration. To guarantee profitability, a cinema house requires a large hall that can comfortably hold at least a hundred people at any given time. Depending on the capital that you have at hand, you may decide to rent a hall or build one yourself.

Thirdly, your location must be visible and accessible with ample parking space. Locating your cinema in a busy area of your city will go a very long way in giving you the much needed exposure that will bring customers to your business.

  1. Embark on Training

If you already have extensive experience on running a cinema business then that is fine. If you do not, then it might be advisable for you to embark on training that will help you to know how to run a cinema.

Apart from going on formal training, it will also help to patronise the cinema houses of your potential competitors. Pay close attention to how they carry out their business and pin point areas where you can improve on their services.

  1. Register Your Business

It is an established law in Nigeria that all business places have to be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Proper registration is also an important requirement when you want to source for funds from any financial institution.

You will also need to be registered with and get permission from the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB). This is also very important because the NFVCB has the sole responsibility of regulating the movie industry in Nigeria. You can be heavily fined or completely shut down if you go ahead to show films or videos that have been banned by the board.

See How To Register a Business

  1. Engage With Distributors and Producers

The film distributors and producers are somewhat the life blood of your business. This is because they provide you with your the main commodity; the movie. Let it be stated here that it is a huge offence to show a movie in the cinema without the permission of the owners of the movie.

Establishing a good business understanding with distributors and producers not only ensures that you get their movies for your cinemas, it also means that you will get their movies on time. Remember that the earlier you get a movie, the higher your chances of getting a full house.

  1. Purchase Your Cinema Equipment and Fittings

The next step will be to procure the appropriate equipment for your cinema. Apart from your rent, this will be the other area that will take a lot of your capital. Try to focus on the basic equipment such as projectors, screens, lighting, and sound systems.

You also need to get fittings for your cinema. Your cinema should be fitted with the right furniture to maximise comfort. You will also need to fit air conditioners to keep the place cool.

You will need to buy a generator to power your equipment and other electrical fittings in the event of power failure.

  1. Create a Snack Stand

Apart from the movie ticket sales another major source of income for a cinema is the sale of snacks and drinks. Most movie goers cannot resist the urge to snack away while watching a movie. Ensure that our snacks are fresh and your drinks are always kept cold.

See How To Start Snacks Selling Business in Nigeria

  1. Employ Staff

You will need to employ staff to carry out the sale of tickets, operate the projectors, lights and sound, sell snacks and man the entrances. If you have the funds and lack the needed experience, you can hire a cinema manager to help you with the day to day running of the business.

  1. Advertise Your Cinema Business

After putting all the above listed in place, it is now time to blow the trumpet of your business. Explore as many means as possible to let people know about your business. Do not ignore the importance of social media in modern day advertising. The social media will give you a much broader audience than conventional media platforms.

See Where to Advertise in Nigeria

The cinema business has proven to be a very profitable and lucrative one. You will only survive in it if you do things the right way. The above listed are just steps that will guide you on how to start a cinema business in Nigeria. Your own creativity and hard work is also required to help you succeed.

If you have any ideas, questions or comments, please do not hesitate to use our comments section below.

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Ikponmwosa Aikhionbare

Ikponmwosa Aikhionbare is a Content Developer at InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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