EXCLUSIVE : CENSOR BOARD VS MARKETERS : THE REGULATION WAR
It's been a long time coming, but the day has finally come. The R word is finally out in Nollywood, R as in regulation of the market by the Censor Board of the marketers' activities. At the beginning of this year, the Censor Board forcefully stepped in to impose to the marketers a new set of rules and regulations to adress abusive conduct and the rampant lack of professionlism among them.
How many times have you watched a movie that is the carbon copy of another just released?
How many times is a bored married woman going to get an accident and fall madly in love with the passerby/doctor/mechanic who comes to her rescue?
How many times will a rich man/woman conspire to have their offspring marry the rich offspring of their friend/business partner/political godfather?
How many times will a match made in heaven be undermined by trouble brewed by the boy/girl best friend?
Now you get the point. The Censor Board has unveiled a couple of measures to stop this kind of nonesense , but also to enhance distribution, to broaden the scope of activities for marketers and favour market entry to newcomers and vary destinations.
In order to pull this off, the Board has published a couple of rules and regulations:
1 Issue conditions for licenses to marketers
2 Submision of storylines before taking off to location
3 Determine the maximum amount of releases per year per production house
4 Reduce the number of sequels a movie is allowed to have
5 Categorise the movies by grades
6 Make registration with the Censor Board compulsory for distributors
7 Issue a seal of approval to figure on every movie released
8 Categorise the marketers following their networking activities
While this is wonderful news to Nigerian movies lovers and would-be marketers, the marketers in the market stood up like one man against the new regulations. Some took the step to approach the chairman of the House Comittee of Information, the Honourable Ayaoju Eze and offered him a bribe in order to quash those projects submitted to governmental approval.
Instead , the Honourable called the director general of the Censor Board Emeka Amba and blamed him for the situation. Marketers such as Remy Jez, Amaco Investment and Elonel got arrested in the subsequent investigation about the bribery, those who escaped got their salespersons arrested.
Regardless of the scope of business, the conditions to obtain a license are first a deposit of N 25.000 in oder to get the application form and then to pay a fee of N 500.000 to submit it.
Marketers wishing to operate within the boundaries of their community pay a fee of N 500.000, National marketers who operate (inter) nationally pay a fee of N 2.000.000. These fees are renewable every 2 years.
Production houses are required to submit their storylines to the Board before going on location, rumour has it some marketers submit a very different storyline to the Board than the one they take on location by removing censure-sensitive parts, just to get the indispensable seal of approval.
The Censor Board also wants on one hand to see marketers decrease the number of yearly releases and slow down production. Old marketers would be allowed to release 2 movies a year while the new ones will just get a single shot. On the other hand, The Censor Board wants to introduce a distribution grade in order to filter releases and to label marketers in 3 categories according to their level of networking either at the community level or (inter)nationally.
Every movie released must have a seal of approval sold 2 kobos by the Board. It is set to become a compulsory item to figure on each and every piece of movie sold.
The contents of the movie will determine the grade, a general grade is granted for movies that can be viewed by all. A grade 18 is fit for movies displaying nudity and violence.
With all these measures protecting the market and the customers, the Censor Board hopes to finally regulate a market that was ruled like a circus, where marketers had the power to determine what producers brought onto the market, to ban actors and to shamelessly exploit niches without caring about the quality of the products launched.