One of the key strategies that companies can undertake to root out the corruption and underhand dealings in the TV production sector in Nigeria is to provide proposals and outlines for key TV projects (RFPs), which outline the key deliverables and requirements. The struggle to push the companies to publish RFPs for theirs TV productions will obviously be a hard and bitter struggle as they are not under any corporate compulsion. However, such an approach will ensure transparency and a transformation that is crucial to a healthy production sector, not only for TV production companies, but the organizations themselves because as a rule it delivers best value and costs, it guards against corruption and ensures a system of merit in the commissioning process. The failure to publish RFPs by many companies and broadcasters within the Nigerian TV production environment should be noted with alarm, not only because it impacts on the financial health of the production sector, but also because the absence of a transparent commissioning process encourages corruption and kick backs. In addition, we should also note with alarm the absence of monitoring local content by the NBC which is dangerous and only adds to the breakdown in the value chain we are witnessing in the local industry.
As core function of NBC’s which is to monitor its own regulations it should be viewed by local producers from a business perspective where any type of content, despite its low production values gets to be broadcast simply because the producer is paying for the air time. Local content is also important for democracy; for the preservation of our languages and building of our nation. The independent production sector employs thousand of Nigerians many of whom are dependent on the need for government and those involved in commissioning local content to ensure that best practices and values are delivered along every aspect of the production value chain.
There is a crisis in the Nigerian TV sector, which is clear in its failure to preserve its core mandate in providing quality programming which delivers value to audiences. This has weakened our production industry. Our local sponsors, producers, directors, broadcasters
and the pool of talent that is involved in TV production are critical to developing and re-building the house, which is now drifting.
By the time we all wake up to the need to produce quality programming, ensure best practices and procedures both the talent in the industry and their audiences will have gone elsewhere, and international companies owned by Non-Nigerians who have the capacity to deliver what the market requires will control our industry. For Nigerian Producers that should be a wake-up call.
I therefore call on the NBC, Nigerian Film Corporation, NTA, local broadcasters and production companies, Government through the Minister of Information and the body of corporate sponsors to put specific time-frames and deliverables to managing the issues which if properly managed can put Nigeria on the international map of TV production and more importantly earning revenues from the export of its entertainment and TV products.
A Framework is provided in the document “Recreating the Nigerian TV Industry”.