FremantleMedia executive Anahita Kheder discusses Nigeria’s position in the African TV market and how it can become a major player in international formats.
In her presentation to last week’s Creative Nigeria Summit (CNS) in Lagos, Anahita Kheder, senior VP for the Middle East, Africa and South Eastern Europe at FremantleMedia, commended the Nigerian TV industry for always going after the best content despite the many challenges it faces.
Kheder said the country would soon be the biggest digital TV market in Africa, due to the fact that it has the largest population (195 million) and the highest density of smartphone users (112%) on the continent.
This mobile-first population means linear TV is not the only way to get content viewed, she added, with many productions using digital media to reach their audiences across different platforms.
FremantleMedia is one of the companies using digital media to its advantage, reaching a total of 308 million people across Instagram (13 million), Twitter (32 million), YouTube (69 million) and Facebook (194 million).
Topping the charts for the most engaging content via these digital platforms is entertainment and talent formats (37%), followed closely by reality shows (36%), gameshow and quiz formats (19%), and dating and relationships programmes (9%).
Kheder told CNS delegates that Got Talent, The Voice, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, Minute To Win It and Money Drop were the top five international formats. The top five global format distributors are FremantleMedia, Endemol Shine Group, Banijay Rights, Warner Bros and All3Media respectively, she added.
Touching on why Nigeria seems to be lagging behind in terms of format development and distribution, Kheder pointed to a lack of a typical commissioning model, a lack of audience measurement, a scattered ad market and a lack of sponsorship.
She called on brands and content creators to speak with one voice, ensuring that everything they do benefits each other, as everyone is in the business to make money. “For this to work, broadcasters, distributors, media agencies and advertisers must work hand in hand,” said Kheder.
She also emphasised that a global outlook is key to making successful scripted formats. “Many formats are better known in foreign countries than in the country they were originally created for. Create local content, something that will appeal to your market, but think global,” she said.
FremantleMedia operates in 31 countries, producing over 11,000 hours of programming a year. It also rolls out more than 60 formats and airs more than 420 programmes around the world annually.
The company also distributes more than 20,000 hours of content in over 200 territories. In Nigeria, it is behind the local versions of Got Talent, Idol, The Price is Right and Family Feud.
Creative Nigeria Summit 2018 wrapped up successfully on Tuesday with a full day of in-depth masterclasses and industry discussions.
The second and final day of Creative Nigeria Summit (CNS) 2018 kicked off with a plenary discussion focused on coproduction that featured Sanjay Salil, MD of MediaGuru, Waterstone Entertainment CEO Jeff Kallegheri and producer and host Eunice Omole and was moderated by Africa MediaWorks CEO Lindsey Oliver.
According to the panel, the key to the right coproduction is focusing on the fundamentals, by looking at your environment before going to Hollywood. They all agreed that building relationships locally is essential for growth, although honesty and good reputation are also key.
Meanwhile, Salil warned against having certain expectations when coproducing: “If someone tells you to change things too much, don’t do it. If you are convinced that you shouldn’t do something, don’t compromise. Always have editorial control, never bend over completely to change your story.”
In his keynote speech, Vesselin Shaoulov, CEO of GARB Audience Measurement in Bulgaria, gave an in-depth insight into the importance of audience measurement within the television and film industries. During his presentation, guests were made aware of the processes involved in audience measurement and ratings.
“Effective and successful media products target the right audience and communicate with them in an effective way. As the media industry becomes more fragmented, so competition for the audience share becomes more intense than ever. Knowing precisely who your target audience are and what makes them tick is therefore increasingly important,” said Shaoulov.
Offering a completely different perspective on retaining audience attention, Nigerian writer Tolu Ajayi returned with another masterclass, this time focusing on the power of telenovelas and how to create them locally.
“Firstly, you must legally acquire telenovelas to adapt them. Then you write in your own backgrounds and characters in a way that your viewers can relate to but ensure that in editing you keep it as close to the original as possible,” he said.
The secret to international formats Anahita Kheder, senior VP for the Middle East, Africa and South East Europe at FremantleMedia, gave her take on the secret to international formats: “Use the right platform for the right audience and generate revenue for your local content by going global,” she said.
“You don’t need to produce a pilot to share your content. Why not sell your story instead, sell the script and have someone else produce the film, but ensure that your rights are protected.
“Sometimes being on TV is unnecessary – try digital instead. Many projects began on a digital platform. At FremantleMedia, we don’t leave the virality of our content to chance. If we want it to go viral we put in the work, we put ourselves out there, making sure our content remains relevant to audiences around the world,” said Kheder.
In a panel session moderated by Africa MediaWorks’ Oliver, Play TV chief Toyin Subair asked a panel of advertising agency and media execs – including Viacom Africa’s Bada Akintunde; Anthony Ekun, creative director at SO&U; and Tolulope Ajayi, branded content manager at Insight Communications – to address the issue of “unfair mediation” by agencies in the media industry.
“You are the ones who will lose if brands go digital without the interference of agencies, so I ask: what solutions do you propose to this, because you make more money out of these deals. You’ve stated the problems and directed them at the producers and directors, but where do you come in?” asked Subair.
Akintunde replied that he couldn’t speak for the other agencies but believes that the media industry should jointly deliberate on how these issues can be solved.
However, the panelists agreed that brands are becoming more forthcoming with audience engagement and are improving the content they produce, making each advert relatable to its target audience.
Elsewhere, Ed Waller, editorial director of UK publisher C21Media, delivered a report on the international formats market. “The value of the global formats industry has more than doubled since 2004 and demand for local programming is the key to this growth,” he said.
The last plenary discussion was about the effectiveness of social media in the media industry. The session was moderated by Tobi Balogun, CEO of TobyDonut, featuring Tiwalola Olanubi, lead creative at DottsMediaHouse, and Olufemi Oguntamu, CEO of Penzaarville Africa, who spoke about the importance of social media to marketing.
According to the speakers, social media is a way to advertise as though you are not advertising. In that way you get people talking about a movie long before it begins to air and it helps to keep your audience interested and engaged.
“If you are a producer, you don’t need to fight to get your content on TV – try digital media. That’s what [child comedian] Emmanuella did with YouTube. However, you need to understand that what worked yesterday may not work today, but always bear in mind that getting content on social media doesn’t require a huge budget,” said Balogun.
The event wrapped with a vote of thanks from Taiwo Olakunle, MD of Think Tank Media & Advertising, organiser of Creative Nigeria Summit.
Gabriella Opara offers a round-up of the first day of the Creative Nigeria Summit (CNS), which began in Lagos yesterday.
The second edition of the CNS has seen more than 1,000 TV industry professionals and media entrepreneurs converging to discuss the future of Nigerian TV in the digital age.
Media figureheads from several countries are at the summit, including EbonyLife TV CEO Mo Abudu, Sony’s Kunle Falodun, Anahita Kheder from FremantleMedia, Lindsay Oliver from African Medi Works, MediaGuru chief Sanjay Salil, UK producer Emma Smithwick and Lighthouse TV & Filmworks CEO Neil Oyenakan.
The event began with a welcome address from Nigeria minister of information and culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who discussed several initiatives that have been put in place since last year’s CNS. These include anti-piracy policies, the creation of interest-friendly loans, the development of better infrastructure and the setting up of audience rating and measurement systems.
Speakers and panellists addressed various topics targeted at the television and film industry in the country and how to further develop it.
The first panel discussion featured Kheder, Oliver and Falodun, as well as US producer Jeff Kallegheri and C21Media founding partner and commercial director Odiri Iwuji. With the panel focusing on how Nigerian producers can crack the international market, delegates heard of the need to create high-quality content that appeals to local and international audiences and the importance of finding the right partners.
“Relationships are an important thing in the industry,” said Kallegheri, CEO of Waterstone Entertainment. “Connect with people wherever you get the chance. Also, take time to develop your content – ensure it’s up to par before thinking of marketing it.”
In a later panel session focused on drama, Abudu, Iwuji, Smithwick, Sahil and Kallegheri all stressed the importance of creating relatable content, as this defines “the power of drama.”
Abudu explained: “One of the most important elements of drama is to create content everyone can relate to, within your target audience. This is one of the things we had in mind when we created dramas such as Sons of Caliphate and Castle & Castle on Ebonylife TV.”
Kallegheri added: “Timing is everything. Just because a show doesn’t have much viewership now doesn’t [mean it won’t] have a great audience in years to come.”
Elsewhere, Digital Play executive chairman Toyin Subair touched on some of the issues relating to telcos and content providers in Nigeria. “Nigeria is the biggest market for telecommunication companies and TV platforms. It is the first country to start with TV in sub-Saharan Africa and also one of the leading data-consuming markets in Africa. Yet the biggest telcos and TV platforms in the country are owned and controlled by foreign companies,” he said.
Meanwhile, Smithwick offered this advice to content creators during a masterclass on pitching: “Pitching ideas requires time-consciousness, brand awareness and a thematic approach. Before pitching, ask yourself these question: what’s the core narrative? What’s the theme? And what’s my approach? These will help guide how you pitch, since there is no one way to pitch.”
In a separate masterclass, Tolu Ajayi, CEO of Insight Communications, advised attendees about creating original scripts: “Nothing is really original because we are always inspired by something, so what we are doing is recycling. So the question is, how do you recycle with a fresh take? Well, mix ideas, brainstorm, disrupt, smooth them out, do something old with a new approach. Ideas stem from anywhere – you just need to make yourself accessible to it.”
The first day of the CNS concluded with a keynote address from a representative of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, who spoke about the benefits of taxation to the creative industry in the country.
Content Nigeria will continue to provide news and insight relating to this year’s CNS. For live updates on #CNS2018 day two, follow us on Twitter.