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!