Movie shop business in Kenya: The movie shop business is dying a swift death in Kenya. It is an industry in terminal decline. This once healthy market has gone steeply south. Around 5 years ago, you would have spotted a stall selling the latest movies and TV series at every corner you turned. Nowadays that’s not the case. You have to walk for miles before finding one of the few remaining shops that are trying to eke out whatever profit is left in the sector. Even the surviving ones have tried adding an array of other services such as printing and gaming because movie-selling by itself is not that profitable anymore.
But why is this so? What has changed yet many people are watching movies today compared to five years ago. If consumption has nothing to do with the drop in revenues of movie shops – what’s happening?
Well it all has to do with internet and convenience. Kenyan movies shops get their collections illegally by downloading the latest flicks via popular piracy websites like ‘Kickass Torrents’, ‘Pirate bay’, ‘YIFY’ and ‘Putlocker’. To get movies from these platforms, all you need is fast internet. A while back, fast internet wasn’t that easily accessible to everyone. We all had to rely on data bundles or cyber café internet that was slower than a 1960s train. That’s why buying a physical DVD copy was necessary.
Nowadays, wifi hot spots with fast internet are everywhere nowadays. Learning institutions are filled with them and so are recreational centers. What results is the students for example, who would have otherwise made a reliable customer base for the movie shops, end up downloading the movies online. . And once they do so, they easily share the files with their friends through flash disks. No need for DVDs anymore. Every young person also owns a laptop. So you can literally get a constant supply of movies from friends even if you have no internet yourself. The need to buy movies is thus eliminated.
Also, given the knowledge that by downloading a file or getting it via a friend and copying it to your computer, your viewing won’t be burdened by scratches that are so common on a DVD disk, it’s clear to see why local movie stores are struggling.