OPPORTUNITIES IN MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT IN NIGERIA

BACKGROUND
IBST is one of Nigeria’s leading creators of television, music and film programming, new media and entertainment products. IBST designs, creates, produces and distributes media, entertainment and lifestyle products based on contemporary African culture. It is structured as a Limited Liability company with 100% Nigerian ownership, operating businesses in television, film and event production, interactive media services and broadcasting. IBST also provides consultancy and implementation of media technology projects and systems integration which have included major projects such as the Broadcast facilities for the All Africa Games and a recent development of educational studios in 6 Universities in Nigeria for the Interactive Learning Network an initiative of NEPAD and the Educational Trust Fund (ETF).

IBST’s mission is to be the definitive Nigerian media company creating breakthrough cross-platform African media content that entertains educates and informs; which delivers value to contemporary Nigerian culture and lifestyle, enhances the quality of media and content experience of Nigerians living within and outside the continent, and finally to tell our stories in our own ways to the rest of the World.

IBST’s business objective is to become a leading media and entertainment company in Africa, delivering compelling content to a global audience. This means we must always strategically be aware of the trends, opportunities and challenges that our industry presents in the face of economic variables.

GLOBAL TRENDS AND MARKET OPPORTUNITY
Globally, digital technologies and the Internet are transforming the media, entertainment and telecommunications industries. New entrants into the entertainment industry, from internet companies like Facebook, Youtube, Google and Yahoo to established telecommunications giants like AT&T, MTN, British Telecom and VIRGIN are competing with traditional broadcasters and cable and satellite operators to deliver content to end consumers. These dynamics are creating a new, global market for compelling music, TV, and film content.

Developing countries are claiming increasing shares of the global trade in entertainment products, in addition to growing their domestic markets. For players interested in growth prospects in entertainment and media on and from the African continent, Nigeria is key to conquering Africa as it has the potential to be Africa’s biggest entertainment market by value, having Africa’s largest population and strongly youth-skewed demographics. The recent unmeasured success of Nollywood movies and Nigerian urban music – in spite of poor structural support for the entertainment industry, suggest that success, from an external demand standpoint, is within reach as well.

Further, the growth of pan-continental brands in Africa in sectors as diverse as telecommunications, banking and consumer products suggest that the continent will experience an explosion, as other markets have, in the use of media and entertainment in marketing to drive product adoption.

This confluence of factors presents a unique opportunity for anyone who has the vision; ambition and veracity so they can both leverage domestic demand and consolidate content creation and marketing power to address the immense new international opportunities on the horizon.

Technology and the consumer choice it has engendered are pushing the demand for media and entertainment products towards a single global market. As the success of a single global marketplace enabled by technology creates the Holy Grail for the entertainment industry – one platform for all products for all the consumers in the world. For the time-being, demand for TV, film and music content is being driven by new, well-financed competitors to broadcast, satellite and cable operators – fixed and mobile telecommunication operators and the major internet media aggregators.

MARKET SIZE AND GROWTH PROSPECTS
Developing countries account for an increasing share of global exports in cultural goods – from $4.2 billion and 11.2% in 1994 to $11.6 billion and 21.2% by 2002. This growth was particularly pronounced for audio-visual media, where developing countries’ share rose to 44.6% in 2002 from 27.6% in 1994. In 2008 developing countries accounted for more than $17.8 billion in exports of cultural goods an increase of more than 50%

China (including Hong Kong) and India, who account for a large share of this trade, are also experiencing booms in their domestic entertainment and media markets. The Chinese music market is growing at 30% a year, while the Indian entertainment market is growing at 20% annually, led by television broadcasting.

The Nigerian marketplace offers similarly compelling growth prospects.
Apart from its strong demand base, Nigeria generates film, music and entertainment content that is popular across the continent and in Europe and the Americas. For instance, between 500 and 1,000 new titles of Nigerian films enter Kenya every year. These films account for about 60% of the total films traded in Kenya per year, which is put at between $3 million and $6 million. However, the country’s entertainment and media businesses are fragmented and poorly organized and financed, unable to stimulate and meet domestic, much less continental or international, demand.

Key constraints to the sector’s growth and development include financing, domestic and international distribution, and the dearth of technical and creative training, As a result, most players in the Nigerian entertainment and media have therefore stayed at the artisan level, unable to muster the depth and breadth necessary to capitalize on continental and global opportunities.

This confluence of factors presents a unique opportunity to leverage domestic demand and consolidate content creation and marketing power to address the immense new international opportunities on the horizon.

Today I am going to touch on the following areas:
• Skill Set
• Music
• Television and Film
• Content, New Media & Technology

Lets look at some of these opportunities:

SKILLS SET
The Media and Entertainment industry is full of people with potentials, however the major setback is the unavailability of appropriate skillset. By this I allude to the inability to perform and carry out the most basic functions and roles within a set environment or project.

The need in the media and entertainment industry for well-trained professionals cannot be over-emphasized. As the industry professionalizes, demands higher standards of delivery and creativity, the gaps to be filled will become greater creating opportunities for people who invest in proper training, apprenticeships and understudying the requirements of delivering high quality creativity, sustained performance and reliability.

From scriptwriters and directors, to talent managers and artiste agents; from graphic designers to studio managers, animators and content developers, as we evolve the industry and resource for the best talent who understand their work processes, it will be important that everyone comes to the table with skills that have been well developed.

In summary the entry barriers into the industry whatever the sector is getting higher, and at the top of the pyramid unless you are competent the opportunities will elude. So the first and most important things is to get the appropriate skills you need to work in the industry of your choice.

MUSIC
The business of Music is one, which I understand but have not taken time to study in depth, even though at some time in the past I have been involved from a distance in the management of a prominent record label in Nigeria. In my early days I also worked in London at CBS Records as a New Release Coordinator, managing the distribution of New Releases into the London Market, so whilst you will excuse my not so in-depth knowledge of the industry, I have been a close observer for years having produced many music events and programmes.

The opportunities in the Music industry in Nigeria are enormous. Look at how the music industry operates elsewhere in the world and the gap between where we are and where they are, and that gap is the opportunity. Developing the music industry in Nigeria goes far beyond the huge increase in the quality of Music Videos, and the prominence of some artistes in national newspapers, presence on MTV Base, Channel O etc. It goes beyond the hype and should focus on the need to build structures that are sustainable into the long term. Whilst the opportunities are enormous, so are the challenges.

The need to build a viable distribution network for products and a business model that destroys the pirates are imperative for sustainability. Regulatory and industry collaboration is important. However, this model must also take into cognizance the era of the digital platform (iTunes etc.) and what this means to our industry in Nigeria. The opportunities that convergence provides and eventual appearance of broadband albeit slowly in Nigeria will change the face of Music.

Music industry primarily derives revenue from sale of recorded music in CD format and digital downloads. This revenue comes principally from purchases of CDs by wholesale or retail distributors and direct retailing by “street teams”. In addition, revenue can be derived through licensing music for download on Internet-based distribution services such as the iTunes, which I have mentioned before.

Revenue can also be earned from licensing music for ringtones and similar mobile applications, which a lot of companies and young Nigerian entrepreneurs are exploiting today through content aggregation.

Revenues in the music industry can also be derived from sponsored concerts and special events which as a rule are promoted and created as promotion vehicles by forward thinking businessmen and women who have the vision to see opportunities and engage at a level where they can take their plans forward.

One of the advantages of the music business is its contractual flexibility with regard to the timing and amounts of advances paid to existing recording artists, songwriters and musicians which provide an expansive blanket for agents, managers, and a high level of discretion regarding anyone who wants to invest in new artists and songwriters, which further allows the music business to respond to changing industry conditions in a variable economy.

Here are some opportunity areas in the Music Industry:

• Attract, Develop and Retain Established and Emerging Recording Artists and Songwriters. Focus on finding, nurturing, developing and retaining recording artists, songwriters and producers who can achieve long-term success. Seek to sign talented recording artists with strong potential, whose releases will generate a meaningful level of sales and build an enduring value of cataloged music by continuing to generate sales on an ongoing basis. Identify promising songwriters and producers who will work in conjunction with you and your recording artists in producing work that will increase the appeal of your recorded music offering. Focus on nurturing and developing songwriters and producers as a key competitive advantage to your business thereby enabling your business to produce music significantly better structured, performed and recorded than that offered by direct competitors.

• Set up a business that Capitalizes on Digital Distribution and Emerging Technologies. Digital formats represent new avenues for the distribution, promotion and exploitation of our recorded music assets. Internet and wireless channels for the purchase of music holds significant promise and opportunity. These distribution channels, such as the Apple iPod and iTunes service, are effective means to reach a global market of consumers. As networks and phone handsets become more sophisticated, music will become increasingly available on mobile phone platforms through wireless service providers via ringtones, ringback tones, full track downloads and music video downloads.

• Provide an outlet for Products In The Continued Development And Formalization Of Nigeria Physical Distribution Channel. The media distribution system in Nigeria is rudimentary and offers significant opportunity for improvement. Try to work with existing distribution partners and new distribution ventures in Nigeria to improve the distribution system for its CDs and DVDs and other media and make it a business.

• Develop Distribution Relationships with Ex-Nigeria Distributors and enter into distribution agreements with dominant media distributors in markets outside of Nigeria. Act as their local agent and distributor through concerts and promotional events- to capture and stimulate market demand for your agency Music products.

• Develop a University-Campus Based Promotion and Distribution Network as a significant part of a distribution and promotion strategy for Music. Develop a network of student-representatives on University and polytechnic campuses to serve as promoters, distributors and general cheerleaders for Music and artists.

TELEVISION AND FILM
The core of the businesses I have been involved in for more than 20 years is filmed entertainment, which engages in television and feature film production and distribution although I must admit my company has been more prominent in the area of the TV production and Facility development

Television production business creates scripted and non-scripted television programming. Scripted programmes are programmes such as drama, comedy and soap operas for which writers pre-determine the script and structure. Non-scripted programmes comprise reality TV entertainment, game shows and talent shows in which the main events within the programme are not pre-determined by writers and producers but are the result of actual events occurring during the show.

Generally, a television, satellite or cable network will license a specified number of episodes of a show for exhibition on their network during the license period. In Nigeria this does not happen because all broadcasters do is retail airtime. So producers in Nigeria must be conversant not only with communication, advertising and marketing strategies, they must also be creative and able to translate marketing goals of the sponsors to creative programming and formats that delivers their marketing objectives. All other distribution rights, including international and off-network syndication rights, are typically retained by the production company, or if sponsored retained and exercised by the sponsoring Company.

Production companies can also enter joint-venture arrangements with international production companies such as Endemol, Sony Pictures, Marc Burnett Productions to mention a few for joint production of television programming for the Nigeria and African market. Pursuant to the terms of the joint venture agreements, the joint ventures are the exclusive vehicle through which either party may produce television programmes for the Nigeria market. The joint venture normally provide for split of all profits.

Production companies also produce feature films and made-for-television movies both independently and under co-financing arrangements with others. Or, also acquires rights in, and distributes, completed films produced and financed by others.

Revenue derives generally from licensing filmed entertainment product to broadcasters, sponsors and other aggregators. In addition revenue can be earned from purchases of DVDs of filmed entertainment by wholesale or retail distributors and direct retailing by the production company through television direct marketing, its website, “street teams” and at promotional events.

Incremental revenue can also be derived through licensing and merchandising arrangements. These licensing and merchandising arrangements enable the Company to exploits its film and television properties and characters by entering into licensing agreements for merchandising, literary publishing, wireless, games, themed entertainment and promotional and advertising tie-ins.

Here are the opportunities areas in the industry:

There is a dearth of skilled personnel in all areas of Film and TV production in Nigeria with the requisite education, practices and knowledge of processes. If you have the required skills and knowledge in the following areas you will not be short of opportunities. However, you must develop those skills to a high level to gain entry into an industry that even today in Nigeria is paying very good income to professionals.

Directors, Producers, scriptwriters, Production Managers, Directors of Photography, Art Directors, Production Designers, Animators, Graphic Artistes and Editors etc. at the top end of their game in Nigeria today are constantly working and can take home as much as N750, 000 per month on projects. My advice is get trained, build up your skills and gain experience. Whatever role or profession you desire within the industry is up to you. It’s an open space waiting to be filled.

CONTENT, NEW MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY
The challenges facing the media and entertainment industry in Nigeria today are numerous, but what is emerging is a strong base upon which to build and grow the exciting possibilities of the future.

One of the key factors in Nigeria is that Household usage and adoption of
communications services will accelerate as more people are provided access
to the mobile phone, Internet and affordable cable services. Mobile phone
usage will increase and in a country where the 70% of the population is below 30, the number of connections to make low-cost calls, SMS and access
downloadable content on the phone will start to make major in roads to
traditional content platforms.

In many sectors, increased usage or signing up for new or more advanced
services would inevitably lead to increased costs to the consumer. However,
in the communications sector, a combination of new technology, intense
competition between providers and regulatory intervention, where required, will lead to significant reductions in retail prices.

Consumer choice and convenience make the consumer the king. They are
completely in charge these days concerning what they watch and where they watch it. For these very reasons the media who spend most of their lives producing content need to be excited at the prospects and study the trends of the industry, what is happening and where it is going.

Not only do we need to now start developing new models for our business, we need to start understanding even more what the consumer wants, and where he wants to get it. This obviously is not as easy as it sounds. Walking the talk can be expensive, moreso when we look at changing technology and the requirements of producing multi formatted content. There are many issues to be resolved such as multicasting, the role of the Internet, compensation for content, protection of intellectual property and so many other parameters.

However, playing a defensive game will leave you behind. Attack is the best
form of defense and our future successes in media and entertainment will depend on our creative skills and abilities to exploit every opportunity and technology on every platform available from Satellite and cable to mobile and gaming.

One of the most interesting trends is the striking evidence that our very young and growing ‘networked generation’ is turning away from television, radio and newspapers in favour of online services, including downloadable content – used on multiple devices such as iPods and mobile phones – and
participation in online communities such as facebook and youtube etc.

Despite the power of television to a largely rural audience, the evidence is that Television is of declining interest to many 16-24 year olds in the urban areas; Of the television they do watch, an even smaller proportion of their time is spent viewing public service broadcasting channels. Instead, the Internet plays a central role in daily life.

The same group also uses mobile phones extensively, on average making
more calls and sending more texts per week than the wider Nigerian
population. Extensive use of the Internet also continues to influence 15-24 year olds’ consumption of other media. Their radio listening is getting lower compared to the wider population; additionally they read newspapers less as a consequence of their online usage.

No matter the channel or medium though it is no longer debatable that content is not King, connectivity is King, the ability to socialize with each other, share content peer to peer and grow a network of friends who they can share content with is the compelling driver.

Key considerations as we propel ourselves on this journey will
include distribution. The ability to provide and distribute content on multi
channel platforms will be significant as Nigerian Producers and broadcasters
get ahead of the game and source for the significant revenue streams
available. A key factor is that content produced here would have to meet
international production standards and be available everywhere and on any
type of device. We need to incorporate and work with Telco’s, broadcasters, content aggregators and media distribution agents. Our future is all about distributing signals to every device available and producing the content that fits the device.

We must start to look closer at new devices and what they mean to our
business model and revenue prospects. New devices are potentially users of
the content TV producers provide, and new stream of programmes are
potential revenue streams. Planning ahead is key, and staying abreast of
technology led solutions even more important because really we need to
provide content on every new device, even those waiting to be created.
There are other issues of course, which we all know, Copyright, business
models, technology adaptations and revenue channels, however what is most important is how we adapt to the changes and embrace the future.

Lets look at some important pointers. In a recent Media report published by
MediaReach Limited, Lagos, I have been able to establish from this report
and their previous reports over the past three years the following:

In an important change in habits, viewers in Free-to-air households now
spend more time watching privately owned TV channels than any one of the
state or Federal Government owned channels.

Advertising and Sponsorship revenue remains the largest source of funding
for television channels in Nigeria with revenues up by 18% on previous years
for some stations. Overall, television industry revenues increased by 21%
from last year based mostly on increase spend from the Telco and Financial
sector of the economy.

Regarding online and new media services, the office of Communication
(OFCOM) reports and I quote “Online advertising continues to grow in
importance as a mass marketing medium, attracting significant revenues
away from other media. These trends are likely to continue as new technology and new products expand choice and availability”.

With Mobile phones playing an increasingly important role in consumers’ daily lives. Many households now have a mobile phone as a landline phone; and for the first time, the proportion of households relying on mobile phones exclusively is significant enough to start looking at emerging opportunities in this realm.

Mobiles are becoming the preferred means of making calls in many
households. Greater competition, falling prices and the erosion of traditional revenues and audiences are transforming the sector. A new generation of consumers is emerging for whom online is the lead medium and convergence is instinctive.

For broadcasters the challenges are even more daunting, if they hope to be in business many years from now they must start to chart a new course and
develop business models that guarantees viewers and advertisers value.
Their scheduling and programming must offer compelling content, and they
must start to understand that they must open up revenue sharing options with partners and producers as they build enduring brands that have resonance in the market place.

Broadcasters must be able to take advantage of the digital platform and the
great opportunities it offers. If they cannot show consumers the exciting
possibilities how on earth will advertisers and sponsors get on board the
plane! Many Nigerians today even those in the industry do not even have
any iota of an idea what the digital realm offers. Their minds are numb; they don’t even know where to start.

As Media and Entertainment professionals it is our responsibility to start providing some of these answers to consumers, advertisers and professionals alike, as a means of protecting and growing our investments. We must
start to show consumers and viewers that the exciting possibilities are
within our grasp. That we have a plan to move from where we are today and build an enduring media and entertainment sector that truly provides great entertainment, first class information and an enduring platform that has commercial viability through the provision of compelling content distributed to the many digital devices available today.

SUMMARY
Opportunities in Media and Entertainment are numerous. They will require that you understand the developing trends, the market and business models and the roles that are available, and the skills you will require to exploit these opportunities. More importantly you must be well prepared and have the adequate skills to survive in every challenging environment where the consumer dictates your viability, relevance and profitability.

You must understand what the future holds and position your self in a manner that enables you to be first to market, or alternatively provide a unique and quality service or product. You must engage at all levels and never stop thinking of what’s coming next and be there ahead of your competition.

I wish you the best of luck.

RECREATING THE NIGERIAN TV PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

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Television production can be defined as the creation, development, production, management and distribution of commercially innovative and original TV content and properties across multiple delivery platforms and channels. An individual or company may well supply a blend of content and associated services to its customers, clients and broadcasters.  Today this includes also the opportunities the telecommunication industry presents to content providers.

When I first got involved in TV production in Nigeria many years back broadcast content was mainly produced by broadcasters for their own channels, there was minimal independent production in the country and this was mainly focused on TV commercials and the odd drama production.   That has changed and over the years many local independent producers have started creating, developing and producing content off the back of sponsors who seeking customized solutions of high quality to leverage their brands commission these independent producers.  More recently in the broadcast channels sector this role has mainly fallen to the likes of MNET and to a lesser extent Hi TV who see the need and viability of commissioning local independent producers to generate content, viewers and advertising revenue for their channels.  Local broadcasters are yet to develop business models that make this type of commissioning possible; creating products that deliver viewers and advertising through commissioning their own proprietary content.  The inability and short-sightedness of local channel owners to develop business models that enable the commissioning of Independent production for their channels remains a strategic roadblock to the development of the Nigerian TV Industry.  How local broadcasters, especially those in the terrestrial domain innovate and react to this dilemma in their business models is something that should give all Nigerian independent producers sleepless nights. Continue reading

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