Nigerian Entertainment Conference 2014

‘Media, Key to Growth of Entertainment Industry’

15 Mar 2014

Frank Nweke Jnr

The role of the media is critical in advancing the growth and development of entertainment industry in Nigeria. This position was taken at the maiden edition of Nigeria Entertainment conference held in Lagos. The conference with the theme “Building the Industry of Our Dreams” brought under one roof industry stakeholders from the media, music, Nollywood and the Business of Entertainment and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The  conference declared open by Director General, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Frank Nweke Jnr, sought to engage and sustain WWW.ialogue amongst stakeholders in the creative, entertainment industry and the government in policy formulation, implementation and regulation as a mechanism to drive the business of entertainment to the next level. Papers were presented on contributions of media, music, business and Nollywood to the growth of entertainment industry by Chris Ubosi, Kenny Ogungbe, Kola Oyeyemi and Amaka Igwe respectively

In his keynote address, Frank Nweke, said the evolution of multi-dimensional media spheres had created opportunities to birth dynamic contents for local media channels adding that NTA and other local television stations which hold airtime in trust for Nigerians should collaborate with digital content producers to produce content that would deliver value to their local audience. Rather than foster a rent mentality, Nweke said the independent producers and television stations should work together at producing the content rather than paying exorbitant fees for independent producers.

He observed with sadness a development where the Importation of aged Latin American soap operas for broadcast on national television had killed the tradition of world class Nigerian drama. According to him, with the collapse of support structures, NTA which previously championed creation of great local content up till the 80’s could not sustain such practice. “Nigerian entertainment industry must begin to engage in a different narrative, in order to harness the full potential and possibilities at present.” Nweke said

According to Megalectrics CEO, Mr. Chris Ubosi, decentralization of government monopoly of the media industry especially radio and television and advent of the new media play pivotal roles in the future growth of the entertainment industry.

Presenting a paper titled “Role of the media in developing the industry of our dreams”, Ubosi said with the changes in the consumption pattern and content constantly evolving, the media would continue to enjoy significant audience response from Nollywood and the music sectors of the entertainment industry.

Speaking on the decentralisation of electronic media Ubosi held that issuance of private licenses to operators which saw the emergence of private radio and television stations like Ray Power FM,  Wazobia FM, Rhythm FM etc and SilverBird, AIT, Channels, MITV (TV  stations) had revolutionized the entertainment industry. “Today, the media community in Nigeria can account for over 150 regional radio stations and  three national networks that include, one government owned, NTA, and the other two, Daar Communications and Silverbird.” Ubosi said.

According to him “Accessing content is now tilting more towards the new media, which is being consumed in multiple platforms, especially through mobile phones. There are over 100 million mobile phones in circulation, 45 million Internet users are estimated to exist in Nigeria and about 54 million Nigerians probably use mobile phones. It is also recorded according to reports from Lagos Social Media Week 2013 that social media is becoming an integral part of Nigerian entertainment. Nigeria is said to have the largest tweets in Africa with the second largest Facebook access. Therefore penetration of media content through social media is increasing and can be monetized. Sadly, the culture of data keeping is non-existent in the industry. This must change.”

Continuing, Ubosi averred that “the media sector must begin to tell their own story, telling narratives from the Nigerian/ African perspective. To grow the industry of our dreams starts with growing from within. This is achieved by promoting significant collaborations that are in the best interest of everyone and the industry, as 50 percent of content on most international channels – DSTV, MTV base etc are already provided for by Nollywood and the Nigerian music sectors. There is an opportunity to generate better-defined income through these platforms.”

In his presentation with the title “Are record labels endangered species?” Kenny Ogungbe said the record labels are evolving in tandem with new technologies and new media Ogungbe who is also the Founder/ CEO Kennis Music

averred that the technological revolution of the music and entertainment industry had given rise to the impressive and remarkable growth in the media industry especially the broadcast sector.

He noted that “there is an utmost need for the entertainment industry to be appreciated and nurtured in the right stead as it is fast emerging as one of the greatest revenue earner. It is also strategic in its positioning as an international branding platform for Nigeria, only if the system and appropriate structures that can sustain the industry are put in place. The music industry has transited from a communal domestic endeavor into a global multi-dollar business but with gaping voids such as piracy, weak protection of intellectual property rights, ineffective distribution network and non-existing database of sales and revenue.”

Kola Oyeyemi, the MTN General Manager, Consumer Marketing charged  practitioners to engage in a process that would bring about added value to the system as according to him, brand is interested in the value derived from its association with any industry either by direct sales benefit or visibility. He noted that critical evaluation of the value chain between the brand and the sector was necessary to foster symbiotic relationship for the industry as the values could be monetized.

Speaking on “Relationship between Corporate Nigeria and Entertainment – parasitism or symbiosis?” Oyeyemi said there was an increasing need for professionalism in the entertainment industry. “The industry must challenge status quo by making convincing and professional presentations to the corporates or investors. This will inform the business decisions that they will take.”

Speaking on “The Nollywood Paradigm – reflections from an unapologetic commercial Nollywood filmmaker” Director, Amaka Igwe Studios,  Mrs. Amaka Igwe stressed the need for Nollywood to remain innovative and inventive as it sustains its traditional  value and cultural base in telling the Nigerian story. While lamenting the negative import of the ban on cinema by government, Igwe however said advance in technologies has opened a new chapter in the film industry

“Technology has ignited a quantum leap in the future of Nollywood, giving rise to increased interest in training to understand how to use and adopt these technologies for the good of the industry. Training is a guaranteed pathway to gaining better experience and involvement of the industry if it must advance.” she said.

However, distribution and piracy according to her, remain major challenges for the industry with about 82 percent of works being pirated. She also identified lack of data gathering, its interpretation and the utilization of intelligent information to monitor and assess marketing performance within the industry persist, as another major challenge confronting the film industry.

Besides major paper presentations, discussants at the conference also made useful contributions. At the end far reaching observations and resolutions were made.

Among the observations made was that the Nigeria Entertainment industry is evolving with a strong potential to contribute unequivocally to the GDP of Nigeria alongside other sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing, if proper structures and policies are put in the right perspective to support it; that if adequate financial tools are implemented to track and interpret industry earnings, the industry value will increase from the current value of $650m; $105 million and N 100 billion for media, music and Nollywood respectively.

The conference identified that uniqueness of the entertainment industry in Nigeria gives ‘thought’, ‘voice’ and ‘sight’ to the society’s culture and its shared values through the expression of creative works either in film, music, performing arts, literary, content origination and other related intellectual property assets constantly reminding the people who they are and what they represent.

The theme “Building The Industry of Our Dreams” not only challenged all and sundry on the need for collective responsibilities but engaged with varying solutions to redefine the Nigerian entertainment industry. There is an imperative need to begin a process of structuring the business in entertainment, setting up systems that are accountable, practical and very much applicable to the Nigerian environment.

The distribution networks across every strand of the Nigerian entertainment industry must align with the objectives of accessibility, transparency and efficiency. Marketers, distributors (local and international), investors and audiences with an appetite for business or products from the Nigerian entertainment industry must be able to access the sector with ease.

It was also observed that industry credibility was critical and can only be achieved when there is an organised structure put in place to checkmate negative exigencies currently experienced.

The fight against piracy, an ugly demon challenging the industry even at a global level, can be curtailed through collective efforts with the agencies established as watch guards, protecting the industry from continued erosion. To this regard, government policies backing the entertainment industry and protecting the intellectual property rights in this sector should be actively implemented without fear or favour.

Obvious technical deficiencies continue to plague the Nigerian entertainment industry with grossly inadequate distribution structures that could easily be monetized. Businesses existing within the industry should build and operate on a sustainable business plan or model with proper corporate governance identity. It is believed this will help change negative perceptions of entertainers from being seen a ‘joke’ to being seen as ‘entertainment entrepreneurs.’ Hence, the need for adequate education of the entertainment professional to good standards and better still, understand the great influence they wield in society.

Culled from www.thisdaylive.com

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