All posts by Gary

Momoh freed from lawsuit

The lawsuit filed last month against Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and the CEO of Channels TV John Momoh has been dropped.

John Momoh

The move was announced by Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), who had initially filed the suit on December 19.

The AAC brought the case after Sowore was excluded from the vice-presidential debate held on December 14. However, due to the inability of the court to serve him hearing notice, Sowore withdrew the action.

Through his lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, Sowore appealed that his name should not be removed from the January 19 presidential debate. This was granted by Justice Danlami Senchi, who also removed Momoh’s name from the suit.

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African pay TV subs set to hit 46m

The number of pay TV subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow to 45.63 million by 2024, according to the newly published Sub-Saharan Africa Pay TV Forecasts report.

This suggests Sub-Saharan Africa will add 16 million subscribers in the next six years, marking an increase of 61%. Pay TV revenues were forecast to reach US$7.72bn by 2024, up by US$2.3bn on 2018.

Three big operators – MultiChoice, Vivendi/Canal+ and StarTimes – dominate the Sub-Saharan Africa pay TV market, with a combined 93% market share.

At the end of 2018, pay TV operator MultiChoice had over 14.34 million subscribers on its DStv and GOtv platforms and this figure is estimated to increase by five million by 2024.

France’s Vivendi had 4.01 million subs to its Canal+ satellite TV platform and Easy TV by the end of 2018, which will climb to 6.21 million by 2024, said the report. StarTimes had 7.75 million pay TV subscribers by the end of 2018 and it is estimated to reach 14.85 million by 2024.

According to Simon Murray, principal analyst at the report’s publisher, Digital TV Research: “Subscriber numbers will climb by 61% over this period, but pay TV revenues will rise by only 42% – indicating lower ARPUs. Pay TV revenues will reach US$7.72bn by 2024, up by US$2.3bn on 2018.”

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Reality show Hymnodia hits the right note

Hymnodia is launched at Ikeja City Mall

Reality show Hymnodia has been unveiled at an event at Ikeja City Mall in Lagos, where visitors were treated to renditions of hymns.

The aim of the show is to prepare talented singers so they can join a world-class choir that will perform soul-lifting hymns all ages.

Kufre Ekanem, MD of Philosoville, the company behind the show, said: “It is an initiative of nurturing talents in rendition of hymns, which are inspirational and tells the values that redefines our perception and belief.

“It is also designed to redefine the perception on hymns and reposition the minds of Nigerians on the almost forgotten art and value of hymn creation, writing and singing.”

Anyone interested in participating should download and complete the ‘Hymntestants’ application form here and return a scanned copy to [email protected]

They should also record a 60-second video of themselves singing hymns and post it on social media or a website using the hashtag #hymnodiahq. Shortlisted participants will then be auditioned.

The series, intended to be an annual event, will run for 13 weeks before the winner is declared at the grand finale on April 21. They will be rewarded with a specially designed trophy, a new car and cash prize of N5m (US$13.750).

The channels that will air the show have not yet been disclosed.

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Yiaga Africa gets Ready to Run

A new television programme titled Ready to Run has been launched by Yiaga Africa, a pro-youth advocacy organisation based in Abuja.

Samson Itodo

The aim of this TV programme is to assist young people in politics who are actively involved in the 2019 general election and give them easier access to the media.

Samson Itodo, executive director of Yiaga Africa, said the programme would enable young candidates from different parts of the country display their public leadership competence and capabilities.

“Most youth candidates running in the 2019 elections are faced with the challenge of limited access to the media or low media coverage. This is further exacerbated by the high cost of engaging media during electoral campaign,” Itodo said.

“The TV show is designed to address this challenge by providing a unique opportunity for youth candidates to showcase their competence, capacity and commitment to excellent public leadership. Every week, youth candidates running for legislative and executive positions will be featured to engage voters on their manifestos and agenda.

“An upsurge in public demand for qualitative and accountable public leadership is expected through the show hence the integration of a public engagement segment with youth candidates through tweets, Facebook posts and SMS-based interactive platforms.

“To complement existing capacity building initiatives for youth candidates, Ready To Run will feature a political organising lab to equip candidates with skills and tactics for running effective electoral campaigns.”

The show will air on Sundays on Channels Television at 6.15pm. It is a partnership between Yiaga Africa, the #NotTooYoungToRun movement, Channels Television and Premium Times with support from the European Union.

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MultiChoice calls for Netflix rules

Africa’s largest pay TV operator MultiChoice has called for regulations to be imposed on Netflix as it blames the US-based streaming service for the subscriber losses it has suffered since 2017.

As a result of Netflix’s popularity among African viewers, pay TV companies MultiChoice and StarTimes are experiencing serious challenges to their business models and revenue streams.

In a recent report by Quartz Africa, Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice, said his company had lost over 140,000 subscribers to Netflix, including 100,000 in the past financial year. The streaming service, he said, is also free from any affirmative action regulations, which gives the US firm a major advantage.

Even though pay TV companies are already competing with local streaming platforms like Iroko, Netflix’s plan to focus more on Nollywood and African content is set to create another area of competition for these companies in 2019.

Calvo Mawela

Netflix’s VP of international originals Erik Barmack told C21Media’s Content London conference in November that the streamer’s European team is “in the process of looking at opportunities in Africa. It’s definitely the case that we’ll commission some series there in 2019.”

In an article by Business Insider magazine, Netflix said: “The company is following Nollywood closely and focusing more on content. There are no plans to have a physical office in Nigeria. We are following the local industry closely and focusing more on content rather than physical presence.”

While pay TV companies work on having better streaming services and pricey data plans, Netflix has deployed a dedicated server in Nigeria in partnership with Spectranet in order to have a secure connection for its Nigerian audiences and also provide customers in Nigeria with a better video-streaming performance.

Despite the fact Nigerian movies such as Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart, Kunle Afolayan’s October 1st and Biyi Bandele’s Fifty are available on Netflix, thus creating competition in the Nigerian market, all hope is not lost for MultiChoice. The South African company still has three of its indigenous African Magic stations on DSTV, namely Africa Magic Yoruba, Africa Magic Hausa and Africa Magic Igbo.

Although the competition would impact viewers across Nigeria, perhaps leading to possible lower subscription fees for streaming and TV content packages, it will now be a fight between four major contenders: MultiChoice, StarTimes, Iroko and Netflix.

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Peejay wins Aforevo’s Yes You Can

Anambra-based musician and model Peter Edozie (aka Peejay) has been named winner of the 2018 reality TV show Yes You Can.

Peejay

The news was announced at the grand finale which took place recently at Tickle Bay, Lekki, in Lagos.

Out of 28 contestants selected from different parts of the country, only seven made it to the final stage, while Peejay eventually won N15m (US$41,275) in prizes and a two-year movie deal.

Yes You Can, a reality show that mixes entertainment, lifestyle and information, brings together individuals from various branches of the arts to spend eight weeks together in an effort to hone their skills and unearth their hidden potential.

Yes You Can was organised and aired by channel Aforevo TV and Asaba-based production company Zogi Entertainment, a subsidiary of Nollywood producer Ikenna Irikannu’s Best Movies Productions.

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Interns line up for reality show Fired!

Interns chosen to take part in reality series Fired!

The 30 interns set to feature in the first season of sports reality show Fired! have been chosen.

The show is a combination of entertainment and sport in which 30 interns undergo mentoring by 10 team leaders in an office for 29 days.

The team leaders were selected from sports TV crew Femi & the Gang at a media event in Victoria Island, Lagos, at the end of last month. They will take up managerial roles in a live transfer market to each ‘buy’ three interns from the 30 finalists.

The winner goes home with a cash prize of N5m (US$13,750), a car and a job opportunity as a member of Femi & The Gang. First runner-up wins N3m while the second runner-up wins N1.5m.

Femi Obong-Daniels, head of broadcasters Cool FM, Wazobia FM and Nigeria Info, plays The Boss on the show.

“I am excited to see these greatly talented interns feature in the first season of this show,” he said. “The core objective of Fired! is to project all categories of talent to stardom on one platform.

“If you’ve got the fire and want to project it to the world, Fired! will greatly amplify your talent and training for you. It’s simple: on this show, interns either get fired up or get fired.”

Fired! is set to air on cable and terrestrial TV, radio and online in the second quarter of 2019.

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BSES to reopen after election storm

The Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES) is set to reopen this week after it was shut down by Nigeria’s broadcast regulator the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) last summer.

The service was taken off the air on July 15, 2018 after it made an unauthorised announcement about the results of the previous day’s state governorship election.

The directive was issued by state governor Kayode Fayemi in a statement. It read: “The re-opening is sequel to the submission of a report by the panel set up by the state government to look into the remote and immediate causes of the closure as well as Governor Fayemi’s intervention.

“Following the governor’s engagement with the NBC leadership, the regulatory body agreed to an instalmental payment of the fines slammed on the station.

“Consequently, the governor approved the January 1, 2019 commencement date and directed that all arrangements for the re-opening be concluded within the next week.”

“While appreciating NBC management, under the leadership of Isha’q Modibbo Kawu, for its understanding, Governor Fayemi said the government would put necessary structures in place to ensure that BSES is henceforth run professionally.”

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DSO offers 30 new channels

Over the Christmas season, 30 or more local and national TV channels were made available on Nigeria’s FreeTV platform, thanks to digital switchover (DSO).

Lucky Omoluwa

The extra digital bandwidth made available by DSO has meant more television channels can be offered to homes with the right digital TV equipment.

Lucky Omoluwa, chairman of Nigerian tech firm Pinnacle Communications, said Nigeria’s population is now “more informed about the country’s events and issues” since DSO has been implemented in the country.

According to Omoluwa, the switch from analogue broadcasts in Nigeria has immense benefits on its citizens and the country as a whole. His comments were made as part of his annual Christmas announcement.

Pinnacle is reportedly the only private licensed national signals distributor as part of the DSO Nigeria programme.

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NigComSat expands broadband service

Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) has completed a deal with Newtec, an equipment maker for satellite communications, to expand its broadband offerings in Nigeria.

Abimbola Alale

The government-owned satellite operator will be able to expand its enterprise, government and consumer Ka-band broadband services in Nigeria by deploying another hub and satellite modems.

Newtec’s business partner, Content Oasis, will be the system integrator responsible for maintaining the modems installed for the NIGCOMSAT and Newtec Dialog platform.

Abimbola Alale, MD and CEO of NigComSat, said: “The ability to run multiple services over Newtec Dialog was a key advantage for us when selecting our technology partner for this expansion as it means we can install a variety of modems and select the best one depending on the application being addressed, and all via a single platform.

“Along with the optimal efficiency achieved via Newtec’s in-built technologies, this will allow us to quickly and cost-effectively expand our portfolio to meet the rising demand we are currently seeing across Nigeria.”

This deal was made possible as a result of NigComSat’s continued success with the Newtec Dialog VSAT platform.

The CEO of Newtec, Thomas Van Den Driessche, said: “As NigComSat looks to expand its offering, Newtec Dialog offers a perfect fit for this, allowing NigComSat to seamlessly move into new markets.

“We are pleased to be able to expand our long-term partnership with NigComSat at what promises to be an exciting time for the company and have every confidence that our technology will meet the needs of both the company and its customers.”

“As a multiservice VSAT platform, Newtec Dialog enables operators to build and adapt satellite networking infrastructures according to specific needs. With Newtec’s modems, a choice of three return technologies is provided, including MF-TDMA, SCPC and Newtec’s unique, dynamic Mx DMA, which combines the best qualities of both to provide dynamic bandwidth allocation with the highest level of efficiency,” Newtec said.

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Channels TV boss faces legal action

Political party the African Action Congress (AAC) has threatened to sue the chairman of Channels Television John Momoh, the Broadcast Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG).

John Momoh

AAC has written a letter warning it will go to court if its presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, is not included on the list of those set to participate in a presidential debate.

It claimed that his exclusion went against the rights of all political parties to fair representation as set out in section 100 of the electoral act.

Five candidates had already been chosen as revealed by NEDG, organiser of the debate in collaboration with BON.

The letter read: “From the foregoing, it is apparent that the decision to exclude the AAC from the NEDG/BON 2019 presidential election debate is unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, undemocratic, unjustifiable and indefensible.

“Accordingly, I hereby demand the inclusion of the AAC in the scheduled NEDG/BON 2019 presidential election debate.

“Please take notice that if the AAC is not included in the said debate as demanded, we shall commence legal action against you, the BON and the NEDG in a court of competent jurisdiction to seek redress, including an order of injunction restraining you, BON and the NEDG from holding or organising the scheduled debate.”

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Accelerate TV offers new Shebi

African entertainment portal Accelerate TV has released a second episode of its animated show Shebi That’s How.

The show, which launched in November is hosted by comedian Ebiye Victor, reflects the daily experiences of people in the city of Lagos.

Its second episode, titled Two Can Play The Game, can be watched on Accelerate TV every Thursday at 4pm.

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Viacom channels join MTN Shortz

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) has agreed a deal that puts several of its global channel brands on mobile operator MTN’s short-film streaming platform in Nigeria.

MTN’s Shortz platform will carry shortform content from VIMN brands including Nickelodeon, MTV, MTV Base and Comedy Central as part of the deal, which VIMN secured alongside Lagos-based Arial View Nigeria and MTN.

Under the deal, MTN subscribers will have the possibility to watch all the best shortform video from the iconic VIMN brands via their favourite devices. The deal licenses AVNL to distribute and monetise content to MTN, Africa’s largest mobile network operator with more than 200 million subscribers, including 57 million in Nigeria alone.

Mobile penetration and the demand for short and bite-size content continues to grow in sub-Saharan Africa, thus making MTN Shortz a strategic and long-term platform to reach audiences.

VIMN announced the MTN deal together with a similar content licensing deal with Vodafone in Turkey, which took 300 hours of VIMN’s SVoD content, versioned in Turkish, from Nickelodeon, Nick Jr and Teennick. The content will be distributed exclusively for mobile consumption via the Vodafone TV app.

VIMN has also launched the MTV+ Prime Video Channel on Amazon in Germany and Austria. Prime members can add MTV+ to their existing Prime membership for €2.99 per month. The new offer gives Amazon Prime Video members the ability to access the linear MTV Brand New channel and various premium MTV content on-demand.

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NCC backs tech to boost broadband

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has approved the use of a new technology, TV White Space, to ensure that rural communities have access to broadband internet coverage.

Umar Danbatta

The move was announced by the executive vice-chairman of NCC, professor Umar Danbatta, at a workshop organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Abuja.

TV White Space, spearheaded by Microsoft and Google, refers to the broadcasting frequencies in the wireless spectrum that are unused and the government is anxious to use it so that broadband penetration in Nigeria can be increased.

During the workshop, Danbatta said that using TV White Space in Nigeria would be relatively cheap for broadband coverage.

“We have TV White Space in abundance in Nigeria. It is an effective means of serving underserved communities,” he said. “The communications minister is more eager than ATCON to see pervasive use of TV White Space in Nigeria. It is a cheaper way of making broadband available.”

President of ATCON Olusola Teniola also acknowledged that deploying this new technology would be of benefit to everyone, including communities that are under-served.

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Abudu talks up African ‘opportunity’

The founder and CEO of African broadcaster EbonyLife Media believes the continent remains an untapped opportunity for producers as well as those looking to sell programming to networks and platforms there.

Mo Abudu at the International Drama Summit

Mo Abudu told delegates at her International Drama Summit keynote in London this week that US and European studios should work more closely with African writers, producers and directors to help programming become more authentic.

Her firm’s network, EbonyLife TV, which launched in 2013 and produces more than 1,000 hours of original programming each year, struck a deal with Sony Pictures Television earlier this year that will see the pair co-develop three scripted projects. Abudu said such partnerships would allow a “transfer of knowledge” and could help programming travel further.

“Can we tell these stories to a global audience? No, we cannot. But do we need to be a part of the process? Yes, we do,” she said.

“We need to be in the room. Audiences everywhere can detect very quickly if a story isn’t authentic and we’ve had our stories told by others looking in many time.”

Abudu added that now is the time for Africans to tell their own stories.

Ebonylife Media Group was born from the desire to fill the gaps in the market, she said. “My big dream was and still is to change the narrative about my continent.”

Linear lifestyle and entertainment channel EbonyLife TV was intended to offer something fresh and different, she explained. EbonyLife Films was set up in 2014 and has now produced two of the highest grossing Nollywood films of all time.

Global VoD service EbonyLife ON launched this year and EbonyLife Productions was established recently in the UK, to be followed eventually by EbonyLife Studios.

Abudu claimed that for stories to be told in an authentic way there had to be a partnership between creative and business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.

“As a continent, Africa has remained creatively silent for centuries. Our stories were seldom told outside of our fami-lies and villages and often from the perspective of ‘someone’ looking in,” she said.

“These stories need to be told with authenticity and also produced to the best international standard – which can really only be done in partnership with those that understand how to get the best out of truly great stories. Nobody does it better than Hollywood for the gloss and Europe for the grit.

“But these stories cannot be told effectively without our input. If these stories are told from both perspectives there is a captive audience on both sides of the Atlantic waiting to be entertained as never before.”

Abudu’s first series, The Dahomey Warriors, is in development, while EbonyLife’s new Afro genres – Afro-history, Afro-futurism, Nigeria 2099, Afropolitan and Afro-modern and Afro-impact – are currently being worked on.

She added: “As storytellers, it’s important to remember that our emotions are not limited by language or where we come from. I think we have a responsibility to remove barriers.

“Most important of all, let us connect the world with our sto-ries. We believe that we are in a unique position to partner with those looking for fresh, authentic and original stories to take to a global audience.

“As you develop your slates, we simply ask that you consider a slate within your slate that tells our stories.”

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Tele-shopping service Shopex TV to launch

Response Architects, a new multi-channel retailer that sells innovative products for everyday life, is to launch the first international TV shopping business in Nigeria.

Isi Abebe

Shopex TV is Nigeria’s first international tele-shopping platform and is positioned to give Nigerians direct access to leading products from the global market.

It has completed its first round of financing with investment from television shopping and broadcasting advisors Expert Media Partners (EMP) based in London and is the exclusive distributor in Africa.

With television as its main channel to market, this platform is offering Nigerians a range of products they can buy at prices they can afford. The launch will kick-start with a TV campaign featuring an infomercial on December 1 to showcase one of its leading products, the Copper Chef pan.

This TV campaign will run in partnership with DStv, EbonyLife TV, TVC and Silverbird TV. Viewers will be able to place their orders for the product by calling dedicated numbers and will receive their order the next day.

Shopex TV was founded by Isi Abebe, MD of Response Architects Marketing, who worked as head of media planning and strategy in one of the biggest TV shopping companies in the UK.

“We’re excited about this project, having observed Nigeria’s logistics and payment platforms mature over the years. We’re confident that we can make it work and we have a line-up of great products and offers from across the globe that we believe will appeal to the Nigerian market,” said Abebe.

Ed Hall, managing partner at EMP, said: “We have worked on complex broadcast projects in Nigeria since 2003, and we have developed plans for television shopping in East and West Africa in the past. We are delighted that with Isi and Shopex we saw for the first time an experienced and credible management team, and we are very happy to be early-stage investors in this business.”

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StarTimes unveils new OTT brand

Digital TV operator StarTimes has launched a new brand, StarTimes ON, for its OTT business.

StarTimes ON claims to be Africa’s top online video streaming service, with more than 150 channels in at least 10 languages. It covers movies, series, news, music, sports, documentaries and kids’ content.

The launch has led to the upgrade of the original StarTimes app to StarTimes ON. “More excellent international and local channels will be put online, and diverse and rich contents will always be the core of StarTimes ON service,” said Ariel Lin, operation director at StarTimes ON.

Some of the top international channels available on the service include Fox News, BBC World News, France 24, Bloomberg, AMC Movies, Fox Life, Passions TV, Baby TV and NGC. StarTimes ON has also imported local content from TV stations like NTA, ZNBC, TVM, TBC, KTN, RTI and RTs.

Users can access ST Novela Plus, ST Nollywood Plus, ST Dadin Kowa, ST World Football and ST Sport Premium, plus sport including Fifa World Cup, UEFA Europa, boxing, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 matches.

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Maltavator Challenge comes to Lagos

A US$20,000 prize is on offer to the winner of Maltavator Challenge

Pan-African gameshow Maltavator Challenge, organised by Nigerian beverage company Malta Guinness, is set to take place in Lagos on December 1 at the National Stadium, Surulere.

Following auditions in Ibadan, Enugu, Abuja and Benin, the second season of the show will have its final auditions in the city of Lagos.

Contestants from Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia will compete for a chance to win US$20,000 and other prizes in various mental and physical challenges and games.

The Maltavator Challenge is in search of contestants that are strong, fast and smart, who will join winners from the previous auditions to battle it out at the grand finale for the final spots on Team Nigeria.

Aspiring contestants – known as Maltavators – should arrive at the venue by 7am dressed in their sport gear to tackle the obstacle games.

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Iroko TV CEO to receive BON award

The 10th edition of the Best of Nollywood (BON) Awards next month will see the head of Iroko TV pick up a Special Recognition Award.

Jason Njokwu

Jason Njokwu, co-founder and CEO of video-on-demand service Iroko TV, will be one of the recipients of the award for his contribution to the growth of the Nigerian movie industry.  The ceremony takes place on December 8 at Kakanfo Inn, Ibadan Oyo State.

Seun Oloketuyi, BON Awards’ executive producer, said: “The choice of Njokwu was arrived at to applaud his pioneering efforts at developing a digitised distribution model for local movie contents in Nigeria.

“He launched Iroko TV as a VoD platform, to be to Africa what Netflix and Hulu is to the West. The platform is one of Africa’s first mainstream online movie streaming portal, giving instant access to nearly 10,000 film titles.”

Other award recipients are Kene Mkparu, the former MD of Film One Distribution; Abdulraaq Abdullahi, CEO of Corporate Pictures; and the late filmmaker Moses Adejumo (aka Baba Sala).

Mkparu will be rewarded for the re-awakening of the cinema culture in Nigeria while Abdullahi will be honoured for raising the standards for distribution and consumption of Nigerian movies made in the indigenous Yoruba language.

Baba Sala and Yoruba actor Baba Ajimajasan will be recognised posthumously for their contribution in laying the foundations for the comedy and film industry.

The awards would be presented by HE Senator Abiola Ajimobi, executive governor of Oyo State and chief host for BON Awards 2018.

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Skincare entrepreneur wins Next Titan

Ogechukwu Alexis Obah is presented with her prize money

Skincare entrepreneur Ogechukwu Alexis Obah has emerged the winner of the fifth season of entrepreneurial reality TV show The Next Titan.

Obah won N5m (US$14,000) and a new car to support her dream business, Bodylikemilk Skincare & Cosmetics. The brand produces skincare and cosmetic products and also offers skincare services.

Out of 20,000 entries and 18 contestants who made it to the house of The Next Titan Nigeria, 25-year-old Obah surpassed the judges’ expectations by getting through 10 weeks of business tasks and weekly boardroom sessions.

Obah is a graduate of University College Ghana where she obtained a degree in human resource management. She also has a diploma in business and marketing, and an advanced diploma in sports nutrition and beauty from Shaw Academy, Ireland.

Her company, Bodylikemilk Skincare & Cosmetics, is NAFDAC-certified and aims to provide and dominate quality skincare and cosmetics services in Nigeria.

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