Dwindling Oil revenue, Agriculture & how Entertainment can save our economy – Video from my #NECLive4 speech
I’m happy to welcome you to the fourth Edition of Nigerian Entertainment Conference. I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for four years – with the sweat and blood of friends, team members and organizations who are committed to working with us to build the industry of our dreams.
Today as we gather here, we are at a critical period in our existence as a nation. The old issues are still around – epileptic power supply, fuel scarcity, security challenges, bad tools, poor healthcare, unemployment and underemployment, and so much more. And they’re joined by new issues that threaten to drown us. We are battling terrorism, feeling the impact of fallen global oil prices; even as youth continue to search for personal and national identities.
With all these problems and more, why should any government take a minute off and look at the creative industry? Why should we even be discussing entertainment at all when we’re trying to fix roads and kill Boko Haram and increase power supply? Why should anyone besides Ali Baba believe that entertainment business is serious business?
Because as everyone who should know has admitted – it’s time to look at the non-oil sector if we are serious about diversifying our economy. We’ve missed at least two opportunities to diversify, in the face of dwindling income from oil. It will be a disaster if we miss this one.
So if we must look at other means, what are our immediate options? The regular suspects are taxation and agriculture. The government already plans to earn 5 Trillion Naira from taxation in 2016. We’ve seen the power of agriculture from the pre-oil boom era, we’ve seen that, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, the value of agriculture in Nigeria is over 100 billion dollars. This is projected to grow to 256 billion dollars by 2030, if that sector is properly harnessed.
But where are the figures for entertainment? Is it possible that the private and public sectors are underestimating and ‘unlooking’ an industry that can be a top-three earner in a non-oil economy? Is it possible that the creative and entertainment industry may become the last hope for the Nigerian economy?
Here are some facts from Hollywood and Bollywood.
Here’s what we know about the entertainment industry in Nigeria.
What could the future look like if we made the right investments and build the right systems? What should government do? What should practitioners do? What’s the responsibility of the allied sectors which today, will include telecommunications, brewing, banking, PR and advertising?
I hope everyone here today will be able to have clear answers by the time we leave here this evening.
At Nigerian Entertainment Today, we will continue to follow global best practices in helping consumers connect with the music, news, culture and entertainers they love. We will continue to provide a platform for entertainers and creators to connect with their fans and the brands that care about them. That’s why we started test running Orin.ng in 2015. Today I’m happy to announce that Orin.ng is available to all labels, musicians, DJs, artistes and promoters to upload and share their music to the world. We are giving you an opportunity to stop offering your music for free downloads on Soundcloud and Hulkshare. There are already a couple of platforms with the right technology to sell your music online. Your true fans can find them there – be it Spinlet or MTN Music Plus or Cloud 9. But if they want to listen for free, the way of FM radios, please use Orin.ng. Fans can listen, like and share their favourite songs and videos. We are committed to making sure that we build the largest community of Nigerian music fans in the world. We cannot achieve it without the labels and artistes.
I pray God will spare my life to see a day when Nigerian music will no longer be available for free download online.
Also we announce today, the launch of NETSHOP. With over 5 million active users on THENETng we discovered in 2015 that we may be the best place for those selling entertainment products to meet those looking to buy those products. Asa is having her first Nigerian solo concert in May. Where do most of her fans catch up on what’s happening with her? THENETng. Darey is planning for the fourth edition of ‘Love Like A Movie’ . Where’s the best place to get details and buy tickets to see the show? THENETng. We are blurring the lines between journalism and e-commerce, hoping to make it easier for the industry to get their products across to consumers through NETSHOP; and for consumers to access the products, events, and properties they love.
What I expect is that more people will be encouraged to produce and create if they do not have to bother with how to sell. Of course there will be PR and Marketing support from our sister companies BlackHouse Media and ID Africa, for those who decide to use Orin and NETSHOP.
Finally, we are announcing today, the inauguration of an annual Readers’ Choice Awards, to select one individual worthy to be called ‘Entertainer of The Year’. It will be a big decoration we hope will encourage actors, comedians, musicians, and others, to do the best work possible, while maintaining a great relationship with the fans. ‘Entertainer’ will debut in 2017. NET Honours will also now be given out at this event.
Since THENETNG debuted on November 23, 2009, we have worked tirelessly to build what we believe will become the world’s number one source of everything you need to know about Nigerian entertainment. Today, 36,000 stories, 6 billion page views, 15 million video views, 5 million users, and 77 months after, I’m happy to say we are firmly positioned to break barriers and build tomorrow.
I believe, as those who know me will agree, that it is possible.
I want to thank you again for coming out. I look forward to having a great time.
Please enjoy the conversations!
Every day, I come across people who want to know why we could have done something as stupid as resting the weekly print edition of Nigerian Entertainment Today. With each enquiry, I take my time to explain what’s happening, how consumer habits are changing, how news has become fast food, how circulation in Nigeria is a mess, how media agencies and newspaper agents are evil, how small businesses are better off shedding that excess print baggage and focusing on all the opportunities digital provides.
Digital adoption will continue to be on the increase, as internet access gets better in developing countries like Nigeria. Newspaper and magazine sales will continue to drop, as consumers look to radio, TV, blogs and other means to get information and entertainment. It’s my wish that newspaper owners will do digital better – I’ve seen, and must commend what The Guardian is doing, with the help of Ventra Media. I’ve seen how Vanguard is using technology and innovative reporting to build impressive traffic. But, in a market as promising as ours, I believe there’s more to be done, if the big seven are to survive the next 10-15 years.
It’s not only the newspaper business that’s being disrupted by technology.
Music, transportation, medicine, education, agriculture, banking, communications, construction, just name it. Even technology itself is being disrupted.
To understand what has happened, what’s happening, and adapt accordingly, is one thing. To imagine – and prepare for – what is to come is another.
To determine what should and could happen, and enable such is where you want to be – that’s what our friends in financial services have done; what those in telecommunications are doing. It’s what’s consuming the entire music industry.
Things will never remain the same. Media organisations need to begin to think themselves technology companies; think themselves marketing companies. They must begin to see the telcos and TV platforms as competition. Even the music and movie industries.
It’s time to disrupt yourself, your business, and all those trying to disrupt your market.
It’s time to see the future.
It is possible
So we hosted a media party for Nigerian pop star Davido in celebration of his recent global deal with Sony Music.
Something happened in 2015.
A poor 72-year-old, unpopular, retired army-general ran to be president of Nigeria, an oil-rich West African country with population of about 200 million people.
His opponent, the incumbent, was a 57-year-old Ph.D. who, three years earlier while he was VP, was so popular and favoured that influential citizens marched the streets protesting, when it appeared some powerful interests were determined to prevent him from becoming president after it was clear his boss, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had passed on.
That election, to elect the 15th president of Nigeria, finally held on March 28 and 29, 2015.
But it had been won and lost months before. Won by General Muhammadu Buhari of the Action Congress of Nigeria who comparatively, had little money and plenty obstacles, but deployed an almost-excellent political strategy and reputation management.
The defeated sitting president as we have since discovered, had limitless access to funds and other resources. But his campaign strategy was lousy. As lousy as some of the people who were the faces and voices of his re-election project.
One party found a big idea (Change) and rode with it. The other was hijacking a campaign to bring back kidnapped schoolgirls from Chibok, a little town in Borno, South-eastern Nigeria. One party proactively used research data to develop PR strategies for youth and citizen engagement, the other, as we also have now seen, used cash and mercenaries and sophistry, until the last minute.
Buhari was a mean military dictator, despised by many discerning Nigerians. He was an old, eighties man who, as many agree, was out of touch with the tools and trends required to transform a paralyzed country like Nigeria. Yet about 15,424,921 million Nigerians in 36 states voted for him to return as president, defeating his young, ‘better educated’, rich and powerful opponent by a 2,571,759 margin.
It’s not fiction.
The role of public relations in politics and governance in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized. The ‘Buhari-GEJ’ story would have been remarkable if it were rare. Yet if you look deeply into the affairs of the private and public sectors in Nigeria and indeed elsewhere across Africa, what presents, is an increasing intervention by PR to help communities and organizations and governments solve problems they thought were insurmountable. In Buhari’s case, he had contested and lost three times in 12 years.
In 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin completed an orbit of the earth, effectively becoming the first man in space. If there had been no records of the event, if there were no pictures taken and circulated, no reports made, did he really make the trip? Did he accomplish the feat?
A historic moment becomes myth, fable even, if there are no evidence and facts to support claims and silence sceptics. Who here will call a party to celebrate a child’s excellent result without first laying hands on the report card?
There’s little data, if any, on the role of public relations in the last national elections. Little data, if any, on how in-house PR teams and external consultancies are helping local and international brands make sense out of a chaotic business environment like Nigeria. You will go very far to see case studies on all the great work I’m aware have been done by Nigerian professionals on brands like Wole Soyinka, MTN Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries, Dangote, Indomie, Etisalat, GTBank and Airtel.
We complain regularly that the quality of our work can be better. We excuse clients’ lack of trust and investment with the belief that we really haven’t shown value. But how do we get better if we do not have records of the work we do – the good, the bad and the ugly? How do we train beginners? How do we engage globally, in a space where the lingua franca is billings and case studies?
The global PR Agency industry revenue is put at over $13 billion. I can assure you Nigeria, which by BHM estimates, makes over $68.75 million, is not in that calculation.
We all know why.
That’s why our company BlackHouse Media created the campaign #PrisDead in 2015. That’s why we decided, after relevant consultations, to begin this hopefully annual report on the Nigeria public relations industry.
Of course it’s inspired by The Holmes Report’s World PR Report, which, I hope, starting 2016, will begin to feature great Nigerian agencies doing amazing work.
We have a lot to do, to make that happen. We have even more to do, to accomplish our dreams of increased billing, attracting and retaining super talents, and becoming big regional and global players.
The ball is in our court.
It is possible.