The decision of Kannywood producers and filmmakers to screen their films at cinemas before they make their way to the market is costing them their fan base.
Findings indicate that the absence of the cinema houses in major northern Nigerian cities has seen erstwhile Kannywood fans gradually switch to purchasing Bollywood and mainstream Nollywood films instead.
Stakeholders say it is largely due to the fact that many lovers of Kannywood films are also Bollywood buffs.
An avid Kannywood fan, Ahmed Sani, who resides in Kaduna, is unhappy about the decision. He says the producers did not seek the opinions of their fans before choosing to return to the cinemas.
He said, “Kano is the only northern state that has cinema houses and hundreds of film viewing centres readily available. You cannot find cinema houses in Kaduna State, which is the second home of Kannywood.”
“This means that anyone who lives outside Kano State will have to wait for as long as the film will last in Kano Viewing Centres before he or she can eventually see the film. It’s a really bad decision.”
Mr. Sani also added that the move has prompted Kannywood fans like him to lose interest in some Hausa films.
“About 70 per cent of the people who watch Kannywood films live in the villages and local governments. Women at home also constitute a very good percentage of viewers. Now, they won’t be able to watch the films as it drops until after a very long time. Since they cannot find them when they need them they are gradually returning to Indian films full time,” he noted.
Until now, Kannywood films had been released directly to the market in dvds, giving fans the opportunity to buy the movies; however, the challenges of piracy continues to plague the film industry in Nigeria and this has prompted filmmakers in Northern Nigeria, to take a different approach by screening first at the cinemas.