Inside Nigeria’s N2bn Comedy Skit Industry

Posted on February 14 2020 , at 05:57 pm
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Arguably, the best thing that’s consistently created positive value for Nigeria has been its entertainment industry. Nigerian entertainers are building a multi-billion dollar industry in spite of the government. Nollywood is growing in leaps and bounds, Nigerian music is taking over the world and our stand-up comedians are getting ready to go global. It’s all happening. 

As the comics are warming up for Netflix specials and Staples Centre gigs, a new sub-industry is blowing up rapidly on the Internet. Armed with smartphones, Wifi, and active social media accounts, dozens of Nigerian youth are now making a legit hustle out of making people laugh online. And they are multiplying everyday. 

Experts say the Nigerian comedy skit industry is now one of the top five in the world, going beyond the shores of Nigeria to the Instagram pages of international stars like Diddy and smartphones of audiences all over the world. From very popular Mark Angel Comedy and Emmanuella, to eternal job seeker Frank Donga, multiple personality Maraji, troublesome barrister MC Lively, chronic ranter Lasisi Elenu, ever angry mother and daughter combo Taaooma and the ambitious Alhaji Nedu, there are now hundreds of popular names and faces making it big.

Tech company Plaqad says it has paid over $300,000 to influencers in the past two years. The average income for a skit per influencer is around $1000 and it is increasing. Some commission up to five skits in a week alongside other auxiliary types of content which brands are willing to pay for. Do the math. 

“The going rate depends on the client and what they want to achieve,” Maraji told Ebuka on the “Rubbin’ Minds” show in 2018. “It is also different from creator to creator but on average I’ll say my fees are around N500,000.”

All of these people and the many others like them on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Tik Tok are making money from brands Pepsi, Coca Cola, MTN, DSTV, Nigerian Breweries, 9Mobile and Budweiser, as well as from Youtube and Facebook. “It is a great, easy way to do something legitimate and still make decent money,” says Joe (not his real name), an aspiring comedy skit creator. “With your phone, internet and basic video editing skills you can become a superstar. Who wouldn’t want to jump on that?”

The revenue for skits has now overtaken that for stand up comedy. But away from their phones and laptops, most of the skit makers cannot perform live for various reasons. Sometimes organising something of such is expensive and other times, the skill to be able to perform live for an audience is missing. Many of them are now taking up roles in Nollywood movies while plotting their next move.

As unemployment levels continue to rise and access to technology continues to grow, the right conditions seem to be falling into place for this sub-industry to explode. If it does, the creators and entrepreneurs able to build scalable businesses off the back of it will be the biggest winners. Either way it goes, we are here for it.

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