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How marketers are ruining Nollywood

Source: http://nigeriafilms.com
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•It's a bloody lie — Olasco
•Marketers are business people - Saheed
If there is one segment of Nollywood that deserves praise for sustaining the industry it should be the Idumota- and Aba-based marketers that have been pumping money into the movie industry. So, it was a kind of shock when last Monday, some artistes (names withheld), descended on the marketers for ruining Nollywood especially the Yoruba genre.

“The fact that marketers don't want to know their limits in Nollywood is causing lots of problem. Can you believe that marketers of Yoruba movies are now claiming to be producers, executive producers, writers and so on?” an aggrieved director told us. “A case in point was the blockbuster movie, Jennifer. It is general belief that Funke Akindele wrote the story but Alhaji Olatunji Balogun (Olasco), the marketer of the movie is claiming to have written the story because he bought the script and copyright from Funke.”

A very popular actor said in an interview recently that he gets better paid in English genre unlike the Yoruba where producers and marketers offer him N30 000. “How do you expect me to collect N30 000 for almost a week job and live like beggar stars outside?” he asked.

Marketers need to step up the way they treat artistes in Yoruba sector of the industry. The likes of Yomi Fash Lansho, Funsho Adeolu and Saheed Balogun who have refused to collect peanuts are being seen as 'too heady' and marketers have stopped calling them for job. “Though marketers should be appreciated because they are doing a lot for the industry but they need to begin to have more respect for the actors especially the old timers.

They should stop treating old timers like greenhorns? How can you offer someone like me N50 000 or N25 000? Being a star attracts lots of responsibilities therefore we should be well remunerated. If anyone raise eyebrow they (the marketers) would stop using the person. That accounts for the usage of particular actors for a number of movies. The reason we keep seeing same faces is because these set of people collect peanuts from these people,” Saheed Balogun said when we posed the question to him.

Another star who begged that we withhold his name for fear of reprisal said, “marketers should pay well. Yoruba actors should set the standard. Oga Bello still collects N60 000 and he is said to be evergreen. We don't want fame without substance,” he cried out.

Saheed Balogun however said all these are not the marketers' fault. “It is not marketer's fault, this is what we ask for. If you say you don't want to collect N40 000 nobody will force you to location. As for me, if you can't afford to pay me, don't bother calling. I have reached a stage where I cannot continue to do everything that comes my way. Nobody can force me to location with promise of N50 000. We can't blame the marketers because they are business people. Every businessman wants to pay less and earn more. I think it is the actors that should set standard for themselves. The Yoruba actors who feel his worth is N40 000 should continue to do it but those of us who are bold enough to say no will get our pay as at when due.”

Another allegation against the marketers is the mafia-like way in which they do business. “When last did you see a movie produced and financed by a non-marketer doing well in the market? The marketers make sure they stifle life out of it and market with less fervency because it is coming from an outsider. But if it is from any of them they give it their best shot and distribute it effectively. The unwritten rule is, 'we control the market, anything from an outsider is unwanted.'

But Alhaji Olatunji Balogun, CEO of Olasco Film and Records, said the allegation is false. “How can they say we pay less when we all sit down to negotiate? Most of the times marketers are not producers. We don't determine who get what. We only finance the movie. If they are not satisfied with it they should ask the producers who pay them less. This is business; we have contract and business agreement to honour, and if you are not satisfied with the contract why get involved?” he queried.

And on the allegation that marketers do not market other people's work, Olatunji said that did not make sense. “The more I sell, the more I make money, so how can I hoard the products that would give me money? These people don't know what they are talking about.”