On April 20, 2016, Nigerians came together for the fourth edition of the Nigerian Entertainment Conference (NECLive 4) to discuss how entertainment can rebuild Nigeria’s wavering economy.
#NECLive4 featured an interesting line-up of professionals not only from the entertainment industry but from all works of life to serve as panelists and moderators who gave insights from the business and creative sides of the entertainment world and how the industry can revamp the economy of Africa’s most populous country.
The 4th edition of the Nigerian Entertainment Conference, which held at Victoria Island, Lagos was expected to attract about 2,500 Nigerians from different parts of the country.
Between April 19 and April 22, 2016, #NEClive4 drew in over 12,000,000 people online.
Themed Entertainment As Last Hope For Africa’s Largest Economy, the recently concluded #NEClive4 event attracted 2,749 people on site on April 20.
Some of the panelists and moderators that graced the event include CEO 141 Worldwide, Olubunmi Oke, Founder Spot Studio, Sebastian Paszek, Nigerian conceptual designer, Kayode Olowu, Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Tony Ojobo, Tiwa Savage, TY Bello, Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi, Kaffy Shafau Ameh, amongst others.
In 48 hours, #NEClive4, which was a top trending topic on Twitter, gathered over 62 million impressions on Twitter and Instagram from 1,000 users across Nigeria.
Some of the brands, platforms and individuals who contributed to the #NEClive4 conversation include MTN, The Guardian, Bella Naija, The Cable, This Day, Funke Bucknor-Obruthe, Wofai Ifada amongst others.
Nigeria wasn’t the only country interested in NECLive 4. 11 other countries including Ghana, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Canada, Britain, Iran, Italy, Sweden, Netherlands, Poland, and U.S.A joined the conference via television and livestream on social media.
The infographic below summarizes NECLive 4 in numbers.
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.
BHM Group President, Ayeni Adekunle has been announced as lead speaker at Success Stories Africa Conference 2015 holding on Saturday 12 September 2015 in Lagos.
The respected writer and entrepreneur, who is also the founder of digital agency ID Africa, entertainment website TheNETNG and music platform Orin, is an in-demand public speaker with a wealth of business and lifestyle tips to share. Ayeni, who founded his first business at 17 has spoken at a number of high profile events including the recent Junior Chamber International (JCI) Lagos City Monthly Business Meeting With Entrepreneurs, Project Fame West Africa 2015 Image and Personal Branding Master Class and the African Public Relations Association (APRA) 2014 Conference in Mauritius.
Speaking on the topic, ‘The Making of BHM Group’ and in the course of developing this theme, he will share his life’s story highlighting key encounters, lessons, habits, people and principles that have shaped who he is today. By telling his personal success story to a diverse audience of young Nigerians engaged in different fields of endeavour, he hopes to help those present to find their way and achieve success in life.
Speaking recently, he commented, “I am always happy to share stories and ideas that can possibly make the journey easier for people trying to find their way.
Aimed at empowering African youths to enable them change their lives for the better, the conference themed ‘Buy The Future’, will also feature addresses from other media personalities including CEO Red Media Africa Chude Jideonwo, actress Monalisa Chinda, CEO AGDC Detoun Ogwo and Founder Omojuwa.com Japheth Omojuwa.
About Ayeni Adekunle
Ayeni is a Nigerian Public Relations practitioner, Journalist and businessman. He is the founder of Black House Media, a Public Relations firm, and ID Africa, a digital marketing agency. He is also the founder and publisher of Nigerian Entertainment Today (NET), which organises the annual Nigerian Entertainment Conference and Orin, a music platform. He attended the University of Ibadan where he graduated with a BSc in Microbiology. Often referred to in Nigerian media circles as ‘Ayeni The Great’ or ‘ATG’, Ayeni lives in Lagos and is happily married with two children.
Ayeni Adekunle is the PR practitioner, journalist and businessman behind Black House Media (BHM) group, a public relations and digital communications agency based in Lagos, Nigeria, with offices in London, UK. He founded BHM Group in 2006 from humble beginnings that manage strategic communications programmes for companies with interests in entertainment, lifestyle and ICT.
While studying for a degree in microbiology from the University of Ibadan (UI), Ayeni started his career with Hip Hop World magazine, worked with Encomium Weekly, Thisday and The Punch before leaving to concentrate on the BHM Group. He founded Nigeria Entertainment Today, a niche website on November 23, 2009, five months before launching its print version in April 2010.
Since 2013, Ayeni has convened the annual Nigerian Entertainment Conference, the largest gathering of artistes and professionals in Nigerian entertainment, and in 2014, he led the BHM Group to conceptualise and build BHM App, Nigeria’s first PR mobile application.
BHM’s clients include MTV Base, Nigerian Breweries, Nickelodeon, Hennessy, Interswitch, Verve, as well as BET and Comedy Central.
In this interview with journalists, he gives a rare peek into digital marketing agency ID Africa, his latest business venture, which will see a spread of the BHM Group’s clientele and content across more nations on the African continent.
How did BHM Group begin?
BHM Group started in 2006, while I was still a reporter, from my two-bedroom flat in Akute (Lagos). My wife and I had no furniture so I bought a small chair and table, and could only afford to pay someone to assemble a computer. We started out working for musicians, actors and record labels that had smaller budgets, so it was tough but fulfilling work.
A few years later, my friend Ayo Animashaun gave me a desk in his office from where BHM operated. Eventually, we had to rent our own office space and today we have 60 employees and various consultants across the world. In 2009 we began working for corporates, and they tapped into the experience we had built with entertainers and young people.
It’s never happened in Nigeria that an organisation comes from entertainment – working for artistes and actors – to begin working for multinationals. That’s our story and we are proud of it.
You’ve recently launched ID Africa, a digital agency and subsidiary of the BHM Group? What do you hope to achieve?
With Digital Marketing, disparate uptake rates exist. Brands across regions in Africa are very late to the party, while those trying to get into the party are not in the appropriate attire; I mean they are not using the right tools to speak to, or listen to the people. Africa is a continent of up to 2000 languages from numerous tribes, with over 1 billion people becoming increasingly globalised, yet retaining the peculiarities that categorize their individual heritages – the status quo is changing. We all know that the latest arrivals to a party can still make the atmosphere electric, so this is an opportunity for practitioners.
We are fortunate to have an extensive understanding, based on our PR background, about people who consume and publish content on the Internet. We know what they are looking for, so we have an understanding of how to use that social space better to create the kind of conversations that can help people meet each other and have a nice time, whether it’s a brand meeting the consumer or just consumers interacting, or even brands needing to engage with each other.