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‘CNN Marketplace Africa’: Kene Mkparu....Zain Asher Interviews MD And CEO Of Filmhouse Cinemas – Nigeria’s Largest Chain Of Theatres

By Damilare Ogunmowo
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Following the launch of a new IMAX theatre in Lagos, ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’ host Zain Asher met Kene Mkparu, Managing Director and CEO of Filmhouse Cinemas, to learn how the cinema chain can compete with streaming and cable services.

Beginning his interview with ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’, Mkparu outlines his thoughts on the importance of cinema telling Asher: “The experience people can get in cinema cannot be replicated anywhere on a small screen of TV… The whole experience; the sound, the picture, the guest service, you can't get it at home. But the way we see it, we see Netflix and the rest of them as complimentary. We don't, personally, see them as competitors. Because the same audience that will come to a cinema to watch a film, then three months or so down the line.”

With Filmhouse Cinemas being the largest cinema chain in Nigeria, Asher asks Mkparu about the market as a whole and what genre of films are the most popular to Nigerian audiences.

Mkparu explains to Asher: “At the moment, it's about 60-65 per cent Hollywood, the taste. And then about 35 per cent Nollywood… But what we're finding is that Nollywood films are generating the kind of revenues that Hollywood films are generating in cinemas.”

Asher asks Mkparu whether he could present a unique characteristic about Nigerian audiences and their movie tastes.

Mkparu explains to ‘Marketplace Africa’: “I think the mistake people make is to look at Nigeria as one demographic. Nigeria is not. To us in the cinema business, Nigeria is three different kind of demographics of people… And it's very important to understand this because their behaviour, their taste, their economic power - completely different.

And where they live, completely different. We set up three different kinds of cinema. The cinema we're sitting in now is our signature cinema, but we also have the regular multiplexes for the regular middle class and lower middle class folks.”

On the topic onto piracy and the film industry, Asher asks Mkparu where responsibility lies to combat it.

Mkparu tells Asher: “I think it's everybody… There are only about 35 cinemas in Nigeria, and that's not enough.People yearn and demand film entertainment in cinema, or film entertainment as a whole. They don't get it, so pirates fill that gap.”

Continuing on the topic of piracy, Asher asks Mkparu on what could be done to stop the consumer accessing pirated materials.

Outlining his position to ‘Marketplace Africa’, Mkparu responds to Asher by saying: “By building them their own cinema… Once we have those in place, and Nigeria needs at least 500 of those, once we have those 500, I tell you piracy will reduce significantly.”

Concluding the ‘Marketplace Africa’ facetime interview, Asher asks Mkparu what he believes the future of Nigerian film is.

Mkparu tells ‘Marketplace Africa’: “Last year alone, the Nigerian theatrical box office value was $50 million. And that was only in about 20 cinemas. We expect this year for that value to jump 40 per cent… we expect the footprint to almost double or grow by 50% in Nigeria this year.

So we expect year on year a minimum 15 percent growth in cinema business. There are probably about five cinemas open every single year and that's been happening like that for the past three years.”​