THE ECONOMICS OF TANZANIAN FILM, ART AND BUSINESS PART 2:

 




THE ECONOMICS OF TANZANIAN FILM, ART AND BUSINESS PART 2:


The challenge of sustaining the industry now, like at its inception, is to find creative solutions and innovative ideas that can break new grounds to enable Tanzanian film Industry be competitive internationally. Tanzanian film Industry cannot afford to break ties with technology, particularly in this age of New Media and digital technology.

SO WHAT IS WRONG WITH DISTRIBUTION IN TANZANIA?
To understand the future, it is useful to interrogate the past. Therefore we should begin by asking the question: what is wrong with distribution in Tanzania?
In Western societies, a film’s commercial lifespan would normally begin with a box office or cinema release, then video release, then broadcast on fee-paying television, and finally on public television. Producers and marketers would then generate the appropriate promotion and publicity to maximize profitability out of each phase. The Tanzanian experience with the video culture so far has shown that without piracy, there are huge potentials for making money in the industry. In South Africa, I understand that video distribution usually doubles or triples a movie’s revenues. The video boom is therefore not just a Tanzanian phenomenon. Video appears to be the home entertainment mainstay for the world’s developing countries.

From all indications, the future of the Tanzanian movie industry is promising. I understand that every day, about three new low budget movies are released into the market. Each film is then replicated into about 100,000 video cd’s and distributed to markets, video clubs and eventually various homes. This process creates jobs and income for the people involved in the production, distribution and marketing of the movies. It is only when we change our paradigm and see film production as big business, that the film industry will take its rightful position in the economy.

The Indian film industry has been projecting India’s culture globally for over 50 years and has remained one of the most important foreign exchange earning sources for that country. Francophone West African films, which get showcased at FESPACO, the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, which holds in the Burkinabe capital every two years has helped in improving the quality and global appeal of Francophone films. As a result, these countries’ film industries have contributed significantly to their respective economies. The United States of America is the best example of a perfect union between the film and the financial services industries. Do you know that the American movie industry is the second largest export revenue earner for that country, after the aviation industry? Thanks to Hollywood and its spin offs, the state of California, with a gross domestic product of $1.4 trillion, is the fifth largest economy in the world, richer than the combined wealth of all the 54 countries in Africa. Today, underscoring the industry’s contribution to the rest of American society, the current Governor of California is Arnold Shwarzzenegger, an actor (Shwarzzenegger, Govenor of Californoia at the time of presentation of this paper has already served his full tenure as helmsman of the state). Former President Ronald Reagan was also a Hollywood actor. These American examples show us what the Tanzanian movie industry can become in terms of stature and relevance in society.
Let me say that the need for partnership between Tanzanian government and the film industry are obvious. We all now know from the American experience that film is big business. As financial intermediaries in the economy, government has a key role to play in the development of the industry. Government are interested in helping to build successful businesses out of ideas and if the film industry should open itself up to the same evaluation and analysis that government subject all their borrowers to, government would really want to lend to them. With the support of the financial sector, the film industry will certainly rise to prominence.
Before I conclude I have some questions for TAFF (Tanzanian Film Federation). These are questions that government would like to have answers to before supporting the Tanzanian film industry:

• How much is the film industry worth today?

• How much does it cost to produce a good movie?

• What is the annual turnover of an average movie producer?

• Do firms in the movie industry have collateral to pledge for credit?

• Do companies in the film industry have audited accounts?

• Do companies in the film industry have formal structures?
(to be continued)

So far, our film industry lacks the structure to provide positive answers to my questions. I am therefore suggesting that the Tanzanian film industry become better organized, and start to maintain proper records and accounts, engage the services of auditors and have formal organisational structures. When this is done, government will find the industry more amenable for support. The government will also be able to:

• Learn about the dynamics of the film industry

• Know the people driving the film industry

• Easily provide credit in the form of loans to the industry

• Provide financial advisory services

• Serve the industry’s domestic and international money transfer need.

• Help midwife this booming sector of the economy which has great potentials for growth and foreign exchange denominated earnings.

One should also ask what the movie industry can do for the financial services industry and by extension, for the country.

Already, beyond being a ready-made pipeline for the discovery of young artistic talent, its potential for generating direct and indirect employment is well known.
(to be continued)


Story by SELLES Mapunda (BA) Works for Steps Entertainment (T0 ltd also a Managing Director/CEO of SELLES BUSINESS INC.2012.
  
KAMA ULIKOSA SEHEMU YA PILI YA MAKALA HII BOFYA KIUNGA HIKI
THE ECONOMICS OF TANZANIAN FILM, ART AND BUSINESS PART 1:

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