Consumers who want to buy home entertainment media in Nigeria - DVDs, CDs, cassettes etc. - overwhelmingly must buy counterfeit products. According to Business Day (Johannesburg) an estimated 95% of these products are sold by pirates, and shops that feature such merchandise openly flourish.

This was not always the case. From the very earliest days of the entertainment industry, in the late 1800s not long after Edison invented his "vitascope", and Charles Urban improved on it with the more successful "bioscope", shops, cafes, and other easily acceptable locations began showing primitive movies in many African countries. Nigeria was no exception. As movies became more sophisticated, the small theatre locations proliferated. But when the military came to power in Nigeria in 1970, this vibrant "corner bioscope culture" disappeared. And the pirates took over.

The result says Business Day, is that a generation of Nigerians has grown up watching grainy, poorly reproduced movies. Change, however, is underway. Three South African media companies Johnnic Communications, Primedia, and Media24 are beginning to distribute popular magazines and home entertainment media in Nigeria as part of a major expansion into that country. Johnnic, particularly, is prepared to compete directly with the pirates. High reproduction standards for movies provide quality and are street-priced. The company is also planning to open movie theatres...

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