Which Nollywood movies did you rent from a video club? What do you remember about the video club era?
Many years ago, in place of cinemas, there were video clubs.
The film rental service was once a thriving business in Nigeria, not just for the seller, but also for the buyer.
With as little as 100 naira, a movie aficionado could rent the latest Nollywood movie from the countless video clubs that existed, rather than purchase at a more expensive rate from a standard shop.
These home videos, which went from being on VHS (Video Home System) to being on VCD, were watched by individuals, who would, in turn shared or exchanged with their relatives, neighbours and friends.
The level of Nollywood penetration in households was satisfactorily high, making it easy for the industry to create actors who became and have remained household names.
Joining a rental club was easy. An aspiring member only had to register with a certain amount, after which they became eligible to rent movies for as cheap as 100 naira.
There was a time frame attached to each rental and failure to meet the deadline always attracted a fine.
To start off the business, one was required to register with the Video Rental Operators Association of Nigeria, to avoid being harassed by a task force.
Unfortunately, most video clubs weren't registered, as they were constantly raided by the task force and their cassettes confiscated.
Gradually, with the advent of affordable cable packages and distribution system, the use of video clubs began to decline.
Also, the decline in quality of Nollywood movies in the mid 2000s, led to a drastic reduction in the number of Nigerians, who were interested in the industry and its content.
The video club rental operation was a system that seemed to be working. Sadly, the illegal existence of most clubs denied producers the financial profit they deserved.
It was simply an era that had to die for a better and more profitable Nollywood.
What do you remember about the home video clubs era?