It’s time to see the future

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

The Concept of Virality – The Olajumoke Orisaguna report

Something from BHM Research & Intelligency I believe you’ll absolutely love. Highly recommended if you work in public relations, advertising, media, entertainment, digital marketing, social media, brand management or the academia.

You’re welcome

Concept of Virality cover

Please download the full report here

 

Celebrating Davido With Media Friends At BHM Lounge

So we hosted a media party for Nigerian pop star Davido in celebration of his recent global deal with Sony Music.

25-Ayeni Adekunle and Davido-001

Couldn’t find my glasses. And my cap.

Davido

Are you in a photo if it’s just your hand in it? Davido

Davido and his NET cover

Davido was a bad boy. Proud of how he’s cleaned up his image and used his music to show young folks what’s possible.

01-Ayeni Adekunle and Davido 1-001 (1)

Frosh

The BHM Team and Davido

The BHM Team pose with Davido before he had a chance to enter the lounge.

Using Our Own Medicine – My speech at the Public Presentation of Nigeria PR Report

 

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.

Panel

 

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.

Public Presentation of Nigeria PR Report

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

Presentation of Nigeria PR Report

Download Nigeria PR Report 2015 for free on AmazoniTunes and on the BlackHouse Media website.

Introducing the official Chart Of Searches, Visits And Trends From Nigerian Entertainment Today

Starting December 31, 2015, we reveal the annual report on searches, trends and views from the world’s leading website on Nigerian entertainment, thenet.ng. The report, available for download on our website, is our close-to-scientific approach to identifying which people, events, places and things that shaped the year.

Our website, thenet.ng has been visited nearly 50 million times since December 2014, with our most popular subjects being Wizkid, Davido and Maheeda. For example, Nigerian international pop star Wizkid is the most searched male artiste for 2015 while Mavin singer Tiwa Savage is most searched female.

Nollywood stars, Jim Iyke and Tonto Dikeh topped the list of popular actors and actresses for 2015, respectively. Difficult to believe, but Maheeda is, according to analysed NET data from Google and WordPress, more popular than Linda Ikeji and Don Jazzy.

This year alone, we scored over 6 million video views on Facebook and YouTube combined, published almost 20 thousand stories, and recorded 29% growth in our traffic. We are effectively, according from data by Alexa, the 6th most popular entertainment website in Nigeria.

Most of our coverage are determined by people and issues we believe deserve attention. But we also create and curate based on our visitors desires, and these visitor analytics, will play a part in determining how we prioritize in the coming years.

It should also guide advertisers and subjects on how to rate or rank, especially for business purposes. Also important to note, the apparently higher engagement rates on Instagram and Facebook, compared to Twitter and YouTube, and the fact that the majority or readers obviously prefer soft news to hard, industry news.

Click Here to see report.

Most searched musicians on theNETng

Most searched actor:actress

Popular Actors and Actresses on theNETng

Most Popular people on theNETng

Most Read Stories on THENETng

Most watched videos on theNETng

Most popular couples

Most Popular Events

Most popular comedians

Most searched comedian on theNETng

Most searched musicians on theNETng

Most popular Browsers on theNETng

theNETng About us

 

 

 

 

Surprise visit by City People publisher Seye Kehinde

Dr. Seye Kehinde, publisher of City People stopped by BHM this morning.

Dr Seye Kehinde with Ayeni Adekunle

With Publisher, City People Magazine, Dr. Seye Kehinde

Of course all we talked about was the past, present and future of the media industry in Nigeria

Dr. Seye Kehinde at BHM with Ayeni Adekunle
He said he came to interview me. But I ended up asking all the questions and picking every part of his brain.

Publisher of City People, Seye Kehinde With Ayeni Adekunle

City People is one of the most successful celebrity magazines in Nigeria. Now in its 19th year, SK and his team are now plotting a future in an industry that’s increasingly under the influence of bloggers and social media influencers.

I’ll be glad to see Nigerian brands face the digital challenge and not only survive, but use the advantage technology provides to enter new markets and – as we say at BHM – ‘go global’.

You see, to survive in this business, you have to ‘see’ tomorrow.

Publisher of City People, Dr Seye Kehinde with Ayeni Adekunle

 

Dr Seye Kehinde leaving BHM after his interview

Why NET Is No Longer A Newspaper Company

Today, I confirm what many have suspected: the weekly print edition of Nigerian Entertainment Today will no longer be available.

Yes, we are stopping the 16-page newspaper we debuted on April 22, 2010 after 216 editions.

I’m a print man. I worked for newspapers and magazines, gathering bylines from Hip-Hop World Magazine (now also out of print) to Encomium, The Guardian, THISDAY, The Africa Report, The Punch and more.

I love the look and smell of print. I’m still a regular collector of the FT, WSJ and The Times.

Sadly, there’s a narrow future for the print business all over the world.  The situation here in Nigeria is made more scary, because of poor distribution infrastructure, media agencies’ chronic debts, and increasing availability of a faster alternative: everyone now can potentially access news on the go, on their phones or laptops.

In January 2014, disturbed by the circulation and advertising trend I’ve monitored over the past two years, I asked our editorial board for permission to shut down the newspaper and focus on our digital assets (at the time, we only owned thenet.ng). The board convinced me it didn’t make sense to stop.
Part of our differentiation, they unanimously argued, was that we have a popular and credible print asset. People don’t see us as a blog. We can compete with the Big 5. We can attract partnerships and advertising. We can embrace training and conferences and classifieds.

We already started Nigeria Entertainment Conference (NECLive) in 2013 to resounding success. I was convinced our investments should lie in such properties, and other digital assets, not in a weekly paper that’s clearly not scalable.

On August 5, 2015 I wrote the board again, hoping to start another conversation about shutting down the weekly print newspaper.  Advertising revenue was nothing to write home about, agencies were owing for up to two years, sales revenue continued to dwindle, even after we doubled cover price. The paper was everywhere. But the figures didn’t look good.

Nearly everyone wrote back, agreeing it was time to nail the coffin.


Before my August pitch, we had already launched our human-interest site newsroom.ng, we had been test running our music site orin.ng for four months, we had seen our lifestyle platform star.ng off to a good start. Our TV platform, which launched in March had already pushed out 1000 videos and recorded over 2 million views on Youtube and Facebook. The team didn’t need any further convincing that our model needed this adjustment; that the future of our business can be guaranteed only by our investment in visual content, better story telling and a pool of digital assets that can meet the needs of those we care about.

How do they want the content? Why do they want it? Where do they want it? When? What exactly do they want?

I was a young boy around 1996-1997 when I first dreamt of publishing a newspaper.  When in 2005 I started shopping for financiers to start an entertainment newspaper, my belief was that it’s possible to do a very good paper Nigerians cannot do without. A paper that will reach millions daily and redefine what people consider entertainment or celebrity journalism.

Shame we did not come close to doing a daily, not to talk of having a paper that reached millions.
On the best days, we had circulation reaching 7,000 to 10,000. Most weeks, we could barely sell 3,000 copies.

Meanwhile, our website thenet.ng continued to show promise, despite a 2013 hacking and eventual domain loss that set us back remarkably.  Our visitors (especially returning ones) and pageviews have quadrupled over the past year alone. Through our website and social assets (FB, IG and Twitter) we were reaching more people daily than the paper could in 10 editions. Six month figures for April – September 2015 shows thenet.ng reached over 50 million users on the website, FB, IG, Youtube and Twitter. We’ve seen revenue growth surpass 300% in the past year alone.

Then someone told me: Perhaps it’s time you redefine ‘newspaper’ and take it that your dream of having a medium that’ll reach millions of Nigerians daily is already being accomplished?

Then the truth hit me. Although in the past year alone, the likes of The News, PM News, Entertainment Express, Sunday Express, Y!, and more have gone off print, most of them continue to have heavy influence online. The Express titles and PM News in particular have shown, with the rapid growth of their websites, that it was a wise, decision to shed off excess weight.

At a time when journalists are no longer influencing readers the way bloggers are, when there are over 70 million Nigerians on the internet and over 18 million of them actively using FB, Twitter and IG combined; when the language of news has moved from just text, to include memes, audio visuals, skits, info graphics, GIFs, and all, the right thing for us to do is to understand that today’s newspapers and magazines are no longer being read in news print. They are being consumed on mobile phones, on tablets, and on computers. Being ‘read’ on screens by an involved generation that wants to, according to The Economist, curate, create, and consume.

This understanding (and of course, that of the board) is why we have focused all investments this year on assets like Newsroom, Orin, Star, and thenet.ng. It’s why we are looking into television and biographies and e-commerce.

It is why we no longer call ourselves a newspaper company. To be sure: we will continue to dabble into print, as you’ve seen with the NET Book Series and the presentation, yesterday, of ‘A Very Good Bad Guy: The Story of Innocent 2face Idibia’. There’ll be occasional special publications: for example, our Encyclopedia of Nigerian Entertainment, which is already in the works.

Also good to note, that we’re not downsizing. In fact we are currently looking for a news editor, a comedy writer, cartoonist and a couple of developers.

The future looks good, interesting, in many ways you can’t imagine.

May we live in interesting times!…