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How to Start a Movie Shop Business

The entertainment industry in Kenya and around the world is a great industry to venture into.

Many Kenyans own a TV, a DVD player, or a laptop making movies and series a great entertainment option at the comfort of their homes.

Some own TV decoders but accessing the current movies and series requires them to pay for a premium subscription. We also have international online platforms such as Netflix and Showmax that give access to TV shows, movies, and series on a subscription basis. Both services are deemed expensive by many people and have pushed many towards movie shops.

Movie shops in Kenya have been seen to bridge this gap for many Kenyans at a low price. With as low as Ksh.20 and a maximum of Ksh.50 depending on the location, Kenyans can enjoy the latest series or movies.

The movie shop business is one of the lucrative small business ventures for young Kenyans. As a young aspiring entrepreneur, this is a good and profitable business idea to pick especially if you are a movie junkie.

Richard Mukunu is one of the young people profiting from the movie distribution business in Kenya. He runs a small movie shop – Richin Entertainment near K.U Ruiru Campus in Kiambu that gives him about Ksh.40,000 to Ksh.60,000 a month.

Depending on the location, your movie shop can make you Ksh.1,000 to Ksh.5,000 or more in a day, and by the end of the month you will have made a good amount. With time, you will even be able to open other movie shops.

“I started my movie shop in January 2019 and so far, considering my location, I would say the business has been profitable.” Richard.

*What you need to start a small movie shop.*

Before you get things started, you need to know what you are doing and how you are doing it. This comes with answering some basic questions that give you an idea and a picture of your movie shop business.

What equipment do I need for my business?

How will I acquire the movies and series?

Who is my target audience and what’s the best location?

What licenses am I required to have?

How much capital do I need to start?

*Licenses you need.*

Just like any other business in Kenya, you need a permit to operate a movie shop business. You will need a single business permit from your county government to operate. The amount you pay for your permit depends on the size and location of your movie shop. It can cost you from Ksh.2,500 – Ksh.15,000 per year depending on the size of your business.

There is an additional license specifically tied to distributing video content and music in Kenya and you cannot operate without it. Those who have operated without it can tell you the horror they have gone through by having their equipment confiscated and some charged.

You will need to get a license from the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) for Ksh.3,000.

“I pay Ksh.2,500 annually to Kiambu County Government for my single business permit and an additional Ksh.3,000 for my regulatory license from KFCB.” Richard Mukunu, Richin Entertainment.


Just like any other business, the location you choose for your movie shop business will determine the success and profitability of your business.

“You need to know who your customers are and go where they are.” Richard Mukunu.

Knowing who consumes what and where puts you on a higher bet of choosing the right location and going where the demand is.

“The young population consumes movies and series more and going to where the youth are, is the wisest idea. I chose this location because it’s near a campus and the people who reside around are mostly young people/students and young families. These two groups consume movies and series more.” Richard.

As you look for a location, settle on a location where the demand is high. Think of a location near a campus, a college, a student’s hostel, or in a town center or a shopping center near an estate.

And, don’t forget about the rent for the space you plan to use. The good thing about a movie shop business is that it does not need a big space to operate. You just need a

d a small shop or stall that accommodates your equipment and allows you to set up a sitting or a waiting area for your customers.

The area you are located in will influence the rent you pay for your space. For example, a stall in town might cost you about Ksh.10,000 – Ksh.20,000. However, spaces in local estates or local towns will cost you way cheaper.

“A stall around my area, Ruiru, will cost you around Ksh.7,000 – Ksh.10,000 per month .” Richard.

*Equipment you need.*

There are equipment you need to make your shop a movie shop. You just need the basic equipment to start.

For some, all they need to operate their movie business is a good computer and very fast internet. If you are copying movies into DVDs you need to make sure your PC is strong enough.

A good and powerful computer will help you store and convert your movies into different formats or into a format that can be played on most machines

Apart from a good computer and speedy internet, you could consider adding a LED T.V, and woofer speakers. Also, remember the other items such as furniture for the sitting area, movie posters for display, blank DVDs, and a DVD duplicator.

“You don’t need to buy brand new equipment for your movie shop. I got my LED T.V, and my computer as refurbs and they have served me pretty well. You need to make sure your internet is strong and speedy as this saves you a lot of time.” Richard Mukunu.

*Where to get your movies.*

Movies and series are the products you are selling and you need to have a concrete plan on how and where to acquire your products.

You can either buy your movies online or from other movie shop owners. There are different sites online where you buy your movies and pay for them through online payment methods such as PayPal. You can buy the movies as singles or pay for subscription services.

“I buy my movies online through several subscription services and I approximately pay Ksh.300 to Ksh.500 and get unlimited access. However, some subscription services such as HBO are a little bit more expensive. Others are limiting in terms of region access and for others, you have to wait until they premier in several regions before you access them.” Richard adds, “I sometimes buy movies from other people after they have bought them and I find this cheaper.”

Depending on the size and how you want your movie shop to be, your total capital will vary from others. You can spend as much or as realistically less.

“I started my small movie shop with a capital of about Ksh.70,000.” Richard Mukunu.

Others spend even Ksh.150,000 or more and it depends on what you want.

“This is a great business to venture into especially for young people to make money, grow, and contribute to the Kenyan economy.”

*Final Thoughts.*

Starting and running a small movie shop does not require crazy skills or specific skills.

Sometimes back one of my friends Edwin insisted that I get a movie at his shop.

He knew that I love movies but nowadays am busy and rarely get time to watch.

So on this sunny Saturday, I decided to take the long walk to his movie shop since I didn’t have much to do that afternoon. On arriving at his movie shop I ordered for a bottle of soda as I waited for YOUNG SHELDON season 1 to burn.

It was quite a beehive of activity in that tiny room. Guys strutting in and out buying movies, mostly on DVDs but some came with flash disks and laptops

“Seriously, how much does Edwin make in this business?” I wondered.

Yea, I know a movie goes for only 50 bob but the number of guys trickling in that tiny room was astonishing. I decided to order for season 1 and 2 of MONEY HEIST just to spend more time and roughly gauge what this friend of mine makes in an hour or two.

15 mins, 30 mins….2 hours later I had counted about 25 guys walking in and none of them had carried just a single movie on their way out. It was either two or three on the minimum.

And the movie boy was quite a salesman.

“hujaona Quantico? Wacha nikuburnie hiyo leo. Nakwambia utarudi kesho ukitafuta season 2…”

“Na ushaona blindspot? Wacha nikuonyeshe tra

iler yake…”

The movie seduction continued…and more business was done.

Okay maybe 25 guys buying movies in a span of just two hours doesn’t surprise you that much but let’s get down to numbers and see what that translates to.

Like I said each person walked away with at least two movies and that translates to 100 bob per person.

100 multiply by 25 makes a whooping 2,500 bob in just two hours!

Ok, that’s gross income you might say. What of the expenses incurred in buying blank CDs?

I know a quality blank CD would cost around 10 bob and if you do the mathematics then you will realize that my friend Edwin would have pocketed a net of Shs.80 per person.

Multiply this by 25 and you get a cool 2,000 bob in just two hours!

So what do you think the guy gets after a hard day’s work? 5,000, 6,000 or 7,000 maybe…

Seriously, how many white collar workers can beat that? Maybe a few employees in big blue chip companies but not many can beat that figure in just a single day.

But if you haven’t sat in a movie shop a whole day and counted the number of folks buying movies you wouldn’t think much of this business. You would look at it in terms of the “tu 50 bobs” and you would say it’s a “peanut” business that doesn’t amount to much.

You would be seated at your desk waiting eagerly for your monthly Ksh.40,000 salary but you got nothing on this movie guy. He makes what you make in just a week with not much sweat.

*Bottom line!*

In the world of business no money is considered small. Don’t ever look down upon these ‘small businesses’ that seem to make pennies per transaction/sale.

Look at it in terms of the volume that it racks up after a whole day or a month and you will realize it was never a small business in the first place.

Also, don`t forget to join our training on Beauty Business.

Kenyans spend over Ksh.5 billion a month buying beauty products. These include bath and shower products, cosmetics, skin care, baby care, oral care and perfume products.

Demand for beauty and cosmetic products in Kenya has grown steadily over the last one decade.

Within those few years, some of the small retailers in this line of business have grown into “supermarket” status and they have opened branches across the region.

Clearly, you don’t need rocket science to understand just how promising this industry is.


Timothy Angwenyi
Business Consultant

Justine Nyachieo
Business Man & Mentor

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