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
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.
Honoraria. Flava. Keske. T-fare. Brown Envelope.
These are just some of the code names by which cash exchange for editorial coverage is known in Nigeria.
In a country where there are over 50 newspapers and magazines on the newsstands, hundreds of radio and TV stations, and an ocean of blogs and websites, it is no surprise that the media environment is industrious.
Everyone wants to be in the media – politicians, motivational speakers, consumers, brands, entertainers, pastors, even bankers, fraudsters and climbers.
To be frank, only few deserve coverage, but in a country where a tabloid journalist earns less than $100 per month, where most newspapers owe up to six months’ salaries, and TV stations pay tokens for wages, it is no surprise that the numbers of reporters and editors patronizing their subjects have been increasing.
Some of the busiest journalists are freelance agents; securing advert placements, planting news and features in their journals, managing celebrities and consulting for banks and politicians. Many of their bosses are aware of these activities – if not equally guilty.
According to a May 2015 report by the Nigerian Union of Journalists, about 9 Nigerian newspapers owed salaries up to 18 months.
The media scene is a mess and the public relations industry in Nigeria is a beneficiary. Driven by a news conference and press release culture, PR pros in these parts have mastered how to speak the language of envelopes. For decades, they have connived with poorly remunerated reporters and struggling publishers to fill papers and magazines with promotional content that scarcely catches the interest of the readers.
There are now about 50 agencies registered with Public Relations Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), the body recognized by government to regulate PR consultancy in Nigeria. Yet, there are hundreds more, practicing in every sector, without certification by NIPR or PRCAN.
A 2015 BHM Survey estimates that around 1,900 press releases are issued per day in Nigeria. Most of these are from politicians, corporate organizations and celebrities.
Journalists on every beat are bombarded with emails and phone calls requesting priority. Usually, only those from ‘friendly’ sources make it into the pages in consequence of bank alerts, gifts and promises. Most of the time, the press releases are announcing a new product, countering a report, promoting a new artiste, or an event.
In 2013, three top 10 agencies paid out over $250,000. One year after, the figure could have quadrupled for each of these agencies.
Meanwhile, newspaper sales continue to drop at an alarming rate. At least, five print publications – The News, Entertainment Express, Sunday Express, PM News, Y!,- have gone under in the past year; many have reduced frequency of publication while others are shutting down presses and cutting staff. After publishing for five years, Nigerian Entertainment Today is shutting down its weekly print edition to focus fully on digital operations.
PR agencies are not doing any better. Many are unable to keep senior staff due to poor remuneration. Salaries are owed regularly – a sad reality for an industry that pays less than half what advertising pays. Just as it is in the media, some of the brightest talents in PR have fled, in search of better packages.
The verdict is clear – consumers don’t care about press releases. Consumers only care about themselves and what is important to them. When agencies and media began to bore audiences, they wasted no time in switching to an alternative: blogs and websites, which spoke their language.
Elsewhere, in the United States and England, agencies are embracing story-telling and big ideas. Agencies are news jacking, blogging and breaking the Internet. The press release has been murdered and buried. Elsewhere, bribery is a sin and if it does happen at all, it is clandestine with clear understanding of implications.
Moreover, PR is driven by clear strategy and clear measurement indices. Media is driven by circulation figures and ethics. Those who practice otherwise are the exception, not the norm as it is here in Nigeria.
Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and PRCAN are working hard to cleanse the practice and lead the industry into the future. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other associations are working to ensure organizations treat their journalists better, and more than a few agencies are determined to execute campaigns that meet current global standards.
But experts claim some things will need to happen before we experience this big transformation.
- Journalists will have to be better trained and remunerated.
- Media organizations will have to be better funded and run.
- PR professionals will need to embrace new thinking – we will need to think and behave like copywriters, filmmakers, storytellers, comedians, designers, editors and bloggers.
- Regulation will have to be stringent to make it more difficult for quacks to find and keep business.
- PR consultancies will have to be better funded and run. There will have to be mergers, acquisitions and partnerships.
- In-house PR staff will have to embrace technology, stay updated on trends and be at the forefront of helping management understand that #PRISDEAD.
- Training, according to all the experts surveyed, is at the centre of it all. We all -media, agencies, regulators – must invest in training and tools if we are to change our stories and change our lives. All three must work together to create the kinds of experience that will lure the audiences back.
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.
To read more about Ayeni click here
It’s already five years since we launched Nigerian Entertainment Today, the multi platform ‘newspaper’ that reinvented how entertainment and celebrity lifestyle is covered in Nigeria.
When our website thenet.ng launched on November 23, 2009, to be followed by the weekly paper on April 26, 2010, it was the beginning of many things: an opportunity to deliver a 24 hour channel for entertainment news in a country where you had to wait for the weekend pages. It was also an opportunity to determine whether indeed Nigerians cared for the kind of content we believed in or indeed, if it was possible, as we thought, to gather the kind of content that would sustain this kind of platform.
Today, this is where we are: kicking off yet another venture, a travel into books.
Many regularly read our content online and offline. But even more are those who may never have had the opportunity. Many have desired to have some particular contents in their libraries, in a format that supports storage. And there are those who just want company at home or on the go, and they deserve that little friend to talk to, that silly book to chat with ‘just for a couple of minutes’.
That’s what you have – the NET Book Series, starting with ‘Wanderings…’, a book of entertainment to keep at home or take with you.
Wanderings of a Rapidly Degenerating Mind is a careful collection of the greatest pieces by Chris Ihidero who is not only an accomplished writer and filmmaker, but also the chairman of the editorial board of Nigerian Entertainment Today. As the title already tells you, the gentleman is not all gentle, not at all ‘well’.
These are some of the works that made people insult him on Twitter, cause some to befriend him on Facebook and made many decide he has a knot missing somewhere.
The pieces are as varying as Chris’s interests, but the style, uniquely his. And it’s that style, I believe, that transforms every writing, from just another article, another column, into a movie – something that grabs you by the collar and makes you sit on the edge of your chair, until the final full stop. You know, something that makes you ask ‘oh, did he just say that?’ ‘Does that mean what I think it does?’ ‘Wait! OMG!’.
And to be honest, most of these articles even have ‘Part 2’ and ‘Part 3’.
Chris is not well, I swear!