Everyone enjoys a good movie. However, with the era of flash-disks, downloadable films and uncontrollable piracy, Kenyans’ willingness to pay for a movie is up in the air. This is what can make the prospect of owning a movie shop daunting. However, the fact that “Movies at 50/-” shops are sprouting up in every corner in town is enough proof that those already in the business are doing quite well. Piracy and “niwekee kwa flash-disk” might never wipe out DVD stores completely. If you are a movie buff looking to own a movie shop, there are some things you might want to know if you intend to run a profitable business.
Kenyans’ willingness to pay for a movie is ever up in the air. This is what can make the prospect of owning a movie shop daunting.
You will have to figure out exactly where to put up your store. The location will be influenced by a number of factors, population and demand being key. Paul Musyoki started his movie business back in 2011 while he was in campus. His decision was incited by his fellow scholars’ demand for the latest movies, most of whom have plenty of free time to enjoy them. His business has since died and he hopes to pick up from where he left off someday, this time by putting up a shop in a highly populated residential estate.
To get a shop in Nairobi for instance, things such as rent and goodwill will come to play before one can acquire a stall. To get a front stall – one that is just along the city pavements – you will pay around KES 25,000 in most downtown locations. For stalls within town, KES 35,000 to KES 50,000 is the ammount that you will part with.
Tools of the trade
Movies don’t just happen. There things that you need in order to get the latest films. Anthony Mbote, a movie shop owner along Tom Mboya Street, has some tips for you. He says that you need a really good computer and a speedy Internet connection. A fast PC will enable you to copy your movies onto DVDs. Storing and converting the movies to universal formats that can be played on most machines will also be aided by a powerful computer.
Duplicators: This is a machine that basically has several DVD writers attached to it. It will help you copy multiple discs at the same time, saving you time and potential customers. Anthony’s duplicator cost him KES 35,000, with 5 DVD writers. It is a second hand device but he says that it works like a charm. Then there’s the small matter of blank DVDs. A rim of 50 discs goes for between KES 400 and KES 500, depending on the manufacturer. It’s advisable to buy top quality disks if you want your customers to keep coming back for more.
Where the movies at?
How do you make sure that you are the first person to get a movie as soon as it is out? One easy option is to buy it. There are online movie distributers who you will have to pay through PayPal or Skrill. They give you a download link once the payments are cleared. This could cost between KEs 800 and KES 1,500 per movie, depending on the seller and the exchange rate between the shilling and the dollar. But Joy Korir, a movie shop owner in Umoja estate says that the cheapest and most convenient option is to let someone else buy it first so that you can buy a copy from them…for as little as KES 50. You can then make and sell as many copies as you want.
Other factors to consider would include material such as posters to promote your business, DVD labels and CD pockets and sleeves. You need to be disquiet though, because there is so much backlash about copyright laws that you will need to learn before jumping into the business.