Tag Archives: Mo Abudu

Castle & Castle S2 in the works

Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Media is developing a second season of its legal drama Castle & Castle.

The first run, which was picked up by global streamer Netflix in February, was directed by Tope Oshin, Niyi Akinmolayan and Kenneth Gyang and followed a happy couple, Remi (Dakore Egbuson-Akande) and Tega (Richard Mofe-Damijo), who ran a successful legal firm in Lagos.

Abudu, EbonyLife Media’s CEO, took to Instagram to make the announcement saying: “Super-excited about this month of July. Such great news to share with you all. Guess what guys – Castle & Castle, Nigeria’s first legal procedural series did so well it’s getting a season two and it’s exclusive to Netflix. We are in development. It will be coming to you in 2021.”

The series cast includes Dakore Egbuson-Akande, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Eku Edewor, Deyemi Okanlawon, Etim Effiong, Dorcas Shola Fapson and media personality Denola Grey.

The show is one of EbonyLife’s Afropolitan projects that reflect African issues and contemporary African life.

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EbonyLife TV quits DStv

EbonyLife TV, the fast-growing African broadcast entertainment network founded by Mo Abudu, will no longer air on pay platform DStv from the end of this month.

Mo Abudu

Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV, took to her Instagram page to make the announcement, saying: “Remember when we used to wait a whole week to watch our favourite TV shows? Well, those days are gone forever! Now we can binge on the whole series if we want to. Therefore, we have decided that EbonyLife TV will no longer be available on DStv from 31st July 2020.

“Create your own viewing schedule and watch your favourite EbonyLife shows with our app, EbonyLife ON, available from Play Store or App Store for access to our library of over 5000 hours of series, lifestyle and entertainment.”

EbonyLife TV launched on DStv across Africa in July 2013 and debuted on rival service StarTimes in 2018. Later that year, the company launched its own video-on-demand (VoD) service available on iOS platforms and Google.

The channel was still available on Star Times at the time of writing and no announcement has been made about dropping carriage on that Chinese-owned pay TV platform.

EbonyLife TV’s move to drop its linear channels on a third-party platform in favour of the company’s own direct-to-consumer on-demand service mirrors a similar move by The Walt Disney Company (TWDC).

The US-based media giant recently announced plans to close Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior in the UK, with all content being made exclusively available on recently launched SVoD service Disney+ instead.

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Netflix, Abudu link for Nigerian originals

Nigerian producer Mo Abudu has signed a deal with Netflix that will see her develop original titles for the streaming giant.

Mo Abudu

Under the partnership, Abudu and her EbonyLife prodco will create two Netflix original series and multiple Netflix-branded films.

The deal will also result in screen adaptations of literary works by Nigerian authors Lola Shoneyin and Wole Soyinka. Shoneyin’s bestselling debut novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives will be adapted as a series, while Soyinka’s Death & the King’s Horseman will be made into a film.

Further details of the other projects have yet to be revealed.

Abudu said: “As a Nigerian storyteller, my biggest motivator has always been to tell authentic and untold stories that resonate with every person, regardless of where they’re from in the world, while showcasing our culture, heritage and creativity.

“This unprecedented partnership is testament to Netflix’s investment in African storytelling, and we at EbonyLife are grateful and excited about the opportunity to work together with Netflix to deliver a slate of unique and riveting stories from Nigeria over the next few years for Netflix audiences around the world.”

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EbonyLife preps ‘Afro-futuristic’ crime drama

Mo Abudu’s entertainment channel Ebonylife TV is developing ‘Afro-futuristic’ crime drama Nigeria 2099 for AMC Networks Entertainment Group.

The show will be executive produced by EbonyLife Media CEO Mo Abudu and EbonyLife TV’s head of programming Heidi Uys, while Ahmadu Garbu (Happy, Sinner) will write the series.

Set in a futuristic Nigeria, the drama is about a police officer in Lagos who is assigned to protect an American businessman and unravels a global conspiracy.

Sarah Barnett, president of AMC Networks Entertainment Group, said: “We’re looking for highly original visions and voices as we think about how AMC Networks evolves. The projects in development, both on the entertainment group side and at AMC Studios, all embrace people with singular and surprising points of view.”

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Abudu to chair International Emmy event

Filmmaker and CEO of EbonyLife TV Mo Abudu is to chair the 47th International Emmy Awards Gala on November 25 in New York.

Mo Abudu

She took to her Instagram page to make this announcement, saying: “I am honoured to chair the 47th International Emmy Awards Gala that celebrates extraordinary television producers from all over the globe. I would like to thank the International Emmy Awards for this honour and opportunity.

“As producers, we are in a unique position to share fresh, authentic and original stories with a global audience. Our content is not limited by language or culture. Viewers want to see stories that reflect their everyday lives which can be found everywhere.”

The International Emmy Awards are bestowed by the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in recognition of the best television programmes initially produced and aired outside the US.

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Abudu receives Reformers of Africa award

Media entrepreneur and filmmaker Mo Abudu has been honoured with the Reformers of Africa Arising Award at the Reformers Arise Summit.

Mo Abudu at the Reformers Arise Summit

Reformers Arise characterises a reformer as someone who is tired of the status quo and full of creative energy and passion.

As the first recipient of the award, Abudu was recognised for her numerous contributions to the media and television industry and also promoting African culture at both home and abroad.

Announcing the award on Instagram, Abudu said: “On Saturday June 1, I was pleasantly surprised with being the first recipient of the Reformers of Africa Arising Award at the Reformers Arise Summit. My dear friend Alero Ayida-Otobo had asked me to come and present an award, only to get there and be a recipient.

“The Summit defines a reformer as someone full of creative energy and passion, who wants to see change and are willing to be the instigator of that change. I will continue to do my best to live up to this objective.”

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Abudu wants African stories to go global

Mo Abudu is interviewed by the BBC in Lagos

Nigerian media mogul Mo Abudu has called on African creatives to tell local stories with global appeal.

The EbonyLife TV founder made the comments in an interview with British broadcaster the BBC in Lagos.

“Africa has remained creatively silent forever, so there’s such an abundant treasure trove of stories that we have to share with the world. Our stories need to be heard globally,” Abudu said.

“Our content is fascinating for anyone to watch; we have a huge amount of history to share.”

Although Nollywood has been in existence for 20 years, Abudu said the next step for the African screen industry was for its stories to have global presence.

She added that this had been her motivation in producing movies, which include top-grossing titles such as Fifty and Chief Daddy.

“I want EbonyLife Film to be the provider of the niche market [of viewers who] want African stories that speak to them. EbonyLife Film has a brand and an audience waiting,” Abudu continued.

She also offered tips on good filmmaking practice, including finding relatable stories and working with great talent, as well as striving for high production values and good sound grading, marketing and post production.

EbonyLife is working hard to invest money and resources in content development, Abudu added.

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Mo Abudu judges Rolex Awards

Mo Abudu (in yellow) with the other jury members

EbonyLife Media CEO Mo Abudu has been revealed as a juror for this year’s Rolex Awards for Enterprise.

Established in 1976 by the luxury watch company, the Rolex Awards recognise “exceptional individuals who have the courage and conviction to take on major challenges; men and women who have a spirit of enterprise, initiating extraordinary projects that make the world a better place.”

Influential Nigerian media mogul Abudu, who launched EbonyLife in 2006, was one of 10 jurors chosen for their expertise and stature in a wide variety of fields. The jurors have selected 10 finalists for the awards, with the winners set to be revealed next month.

Announcing her involvement via Instagram, Abudu said: “Earlier this year in February, I was invited to join the Jury of the Rolex Awards. I had the privilege of meeting and spending a few days in London with executives from Rolex, my co jury members and we had the opportunity to evaluate the most incredible and diverse set of projects that were presented to us.

“As a 2019 Rolex Awards jury member we had a challenging time selecting the 10 finalists. We are off to Washington DC in June to judge the finals.”

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Abudu to receive Médailles d’Honneur

Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV, is set to receive the 2019 Médailles d’Honneur award at the MipTV conference and market.

Mo Abudu

Reed Midem, organiser of the event, said the award ceremony will take place on April 8 at the InterContinental Carlton Hotel, Cannes, France.

The award is given to senior executives who have contributed to the development of the international TV community and to the world of TV. Abudu, who is a member of the International Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences board, is one of the most prolific producers in Africa.

She launched EbonyLife TV in 2013 and has since produced a number of movies, including Fifty in 2015, The Wedding Party 2 in 2017 and Chief Daddy in 2018.

Abudu said: “I am thankful and overjoyed at the news of being one of the four recipients of the 2019 Médailles d’Honneur at MipTV. I am so excited and most grateful for this recognition of our work and, more than anything, that our stories are now making a difference across the globe.”

Abudu will be receiving her Médailles d’Honneur award in Cannes alongside three other 2019 recipients: US writer/showrunner Ilene Chaiken; Banijay Group chairman Stéphane Courbit; and Sky Vision MD Jane Millichip.

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Abudu joins IATAS board

Mo Abudu at the International Drama Summit late last year

Mo Abudu, CEO of Nigeria’s EbonyLife TV, has been made a director of the New York-based International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (IATAS).

The move means Abudu joins the board of the organisation in charge of the world-famous International Emmy Awards. Her appointment comes off the back of Abudu’s ongoing effort to secure global recognition for Nigerian TV and film productions.

Abudu said: “I’ve always wanted to be a member of the International Academy to help make African voices heard when it comes to nominating and rewarding the world’s best television shows. To be approved as a director is even better, because we need a seat at the table when important decisions about our industry are being made. I’m grateful to the Academy for their confidence in me.”

Founded in 1969, the IATAS is an independent organisation that brings together leading media professionals with the aim of discussing and promoting strategies to develop quality global television programming.

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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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London university honours Abudu

Mo Abudu, CEO of Nigerian broadcaster EbonyLife TV, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Westminister in London.

Mo Abudu

The award was for her contributions to the broadcasting industry in Nigeria and the presentation took place at the university’s annual graduation ceremony on November 12.

A broadcaster, filmmaker and producer of the very first pan-African talkshow, Moments with Mo, Abudu had previously obtained a masters degree in manpower studies at the university in 1993.

She said: “I would like to say a big thank-you to the University of Westminster for awarding me an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts, in recognition of my contributions to broadcasting enterprise in Nigeria.

“My second honorary degree – it’s really exciting to be recognised for doing what you love.”

EbonyLife TV is now a media group, encompassing broadcasting, TV and movie production, and video-on-demand services.

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Nigerians named on UK’s Powerlist 2019

Mo Abudu: “I am honoured and humbled to be included.”

Several influential TV executives of Nigerian heritage have been included in a recently published list of the most powerful black Britons.

Tunde Ogungbesan

The selection was based on how influential they are among their immediate sphere of expertise and how far that influence reaches into the wider world.

The Powerlist has been compiled every year since 2007 by London-based Powerful Media, with support from JP Morgan, Ernst & Young, Linklaters and the Executive Leadership Council.

Among the 100 people in the 2019 list are Mo Abudu, CEO and executive chair of Nigerian broadcaster EbonyLifeTV; Tunde Ogungbesan, the BBC’s head of diversity and inclusion; David Olusoga, historian, filmmaker and joint creative director of London production company Uplands Television; and BBC TV presenter and actor Ade Adepitan.

David Olusoga

The Powerlist 2019 was unveiled at a gala dinner held on October 23 in London. The list showcases and celebrates African and Afro-Caribbean men and women who are making an impact on people’s lives and their environment.

According to Abudu: “The Powerlist is the most authoritative recognition of black influence in the UK; therefore I am honoured and humbled to be included. It’s nice to know that those of us who return home to make our contributions are not being overlooked.

Ade Adepitan

“This publication is sent to schools and universities all over the UK, so I hope that my story can influence even one child to follow their dreams,” she added.

Now in in its 12th year, the Powerlist has succeeded in creating a network of influencers and also elevating ordinary people to a state of prominence.

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EbonyLife talks up ‘Afro-genres’ at Mipcom

MIPCOM: African channel EbonyLife Media is at the Mipcom market here in Cannes looking to work with international partners on a range of drama projects it is billing as ‘Afro-genres’.

Mo Abudu

EbonyLife has spent the past few years teaming up with international partners to develop and evolve its original African content. In 2014, the company partnered with Disney to produce Desperate Housewives Africa, which was based on the US drama and became a major hit across Africa.

Since then, EbonyLife has produced more than 5,000 hours of entertainment and reality programmes through EbonyLife Studios. Furthermore, its Nigerian movie franchise The Wedding Party has emerged as a major favourite.

In March 2018, the company struck a three-project deal with Sony Pictures Television to produce dramas including The Dahomey Warriors. EbonyLife also acquired a licence to produce gameshow The Dating Game Nigeria.

The company is now at Mipcom looking to continue this strategy of teaming with international partners. In addition, EbonyLife CEO Mo Abudu will give a keynote address on the significance of EbonyLife’s Afro genres at Content London, which takes place in the UK capital from November 27 to 30 this year.

EbonyLife is in discussions with international partners over various coproduction projects, and is offering producers and distributors distinct content formats, scripts and concepts in the form of series, movies and shows that are ready to be developed.

To meet the demands of audiences, the EbonyLife research team has been developing content in four major areas under the overall ‘Afro-genre’ label.

Afro-history deals with stories related to myths and legends from the African continent such as The Dahomey Warriors, a series about a young girl who faces adversity when she joins the renowned female warriors who guard the king in the 18th century West African kingdom of Dahomey.

Afro-futurism explores a futuristic Africa using science-fiction and adventures to tell stories. One of such project is Nigeria 2099.

Afropolitan refers to series that reflect African issues, contemporary African life and African drama generally. Legal drama Castle & Castle is one example.

Afro-impact encompasses drama related to current events that reflect societal issues such as the war against modern slavery and terrorism. Human-trafficking film Oloture comes under this label.

EbonyLife Media said it was able to convert African stories into a language understood globally. Its partnership with international studios is aimed at brining these concepts to life.

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Abudu launches mentorship programme

Mo Abudu, the founder and CEO of African network EbonyLife TV, has launched a mentorship scheme to coincide with her 54th birthday.

Mo Abudu

Abudu plans to mentor 100 Nigerian women via the programme, titled The Power Series for Today’s Woman.

The media mogul said her experience has gifted her a wealth of knowledge that she now hopes to use to help others pursue better careers and reach their goals.

“I have gained a huge amount of experience throughout my life as a serial entrepreneur. It is with pleasure and excitement that I launch my mentoring scheme for women aged 18 to 34. These young women will receive help to define their passion and to make a difference in their lives and careers, one moment at a time,” Abudu said.

Registration is free, and interested women can apply by clicking here. The deadline for applications is December 31.

Shortlisted applicants will get a chance for a one-on-one mentoring session with Abudu on January 14, 2019.

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Entries sought for The Dating Game

EbonyLife TV is calling for entries for its adaptation of international television format The Dating Game.

Mo Abudu

In a post on Instagram, Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV, has said those interested can now apply to take part in The Dating Game Nigeria.

“If you’re looking for love, the wait is almost over. EbonyLife TV, in partnership with Sony Pictures Television [SPT], is pleased to announce that applications for Dating Game Nigeria are now open. This could be your chance to find the partner of your dreams,” she wrote.

In March, EbonyLife TV announced its plans to launch the first ever African adaptation of the show, in partnership with SPT, sometime this year.

The Dating Game offers single people a chance to find a suitable partner by pairing them up. The gameshow involves an individual asking three potential partners a series of questions and picking the one whose answers attract them the most.

The Dating Game (aka Blind Date) has been on air since the 1960s and is set to reach more audiences in Africa by launching on EbonyLife TV.

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Mo Abudu to keynote at Content London

Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLifeTV, and one of Africa’s most prolific producers, will keynote at Content London as drama in the region booms.

Mo Abudu

Abudu launched Nigerian broadcaster and producer EbonyLifeTV in 2013. It produces more than 1,000 hours of original programming each year, with projects including The Governor, Fifty, Sons of the Caliphate and Castle & Castle.

In March 2018 Sony Pictures Television (SPT) announced a three-project deal with EbonyLifeTV, the first of its kind between SPT and a Nigerian television company, which will include coproduction of a TV series inspired by the Dahomey Warriors.

Abudu will outline her current and future scripted strategy for EbonyLifeTV and provide delegates with insight into one of Africa’s prime drama creators.

Described by Forbes as “Africa’s most successful woman,” Abudu was also listed in the Hollywood Reporter’s 25 most powerful women in global television in 2013 and 2017.

She joins other confirmed speakers:


 
The multi-award-winning Content London is made up of three standalone events: The International Drama Summit, The Unscripted Entertainment Forum and Kids Content Futures.

The International Drama Summit takes place on November 27/28/29, with Unscripted and Kids taking place on November 30.

TIER 3 tickets are available at £799, a £200 saving on the full ticket price of £999. To book your place at this price CLICK HERE.

To see what our delegates say about Content London CLICK HERE.

C21 has negotiated discount rooms at the official event hotel, The St Pancras Renaissance hotel. There are a limited number available. To book your room CLICK HERE.

Keep up to date on Twitter #contentlondon18

Content London 2018 sponsors:

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Nigeria looks to the future at CNS 2018

Gabriella Opara offers a round-up of the first day of the Creative Nigeria Summit (CNS), which began in Lagos yesterday.

Delegates pack out a session at the Creative Nigeria Summit

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.

Mo Abudu

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.

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Culture minister kicks off Summit

Nigeria’s minister of information and culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed kicked off the second edition of the Creative Nigeria Summit (CNS) this week, calling on the creative industry to focus on what consumers want.

The CNS is a two-day conference held annually to bring together international and indigenous experts, thought leaders, industry players and renowned professionals within the Nigerian film and television industries to discuss issues affecting the business.

His speech in full:

Good morning gentlemen, and welcome to the 2018 Creative Industry Summit, with the theme Content – The Future of Nigerian Film and Television in a Digital Era.

This is the second edition of the summit, which started last year. The summit has thus become an annual event designed to bring together international and indigenous experts, thought leaders, key players and renowned professionals from the entertainment and media industry, to examine and exchange ideas and innovations, to create sustainable solutions to challenges and harness the full potential of the Nigerian film and television industry.

The two-day summit, put together by Think Tank Media and Advertising Ltd, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, was born and executed out of a desire to urgently transform the film, television and music sectors into a well-structured industry.

The first edition last year achieved several milestones:

Alhaji Lai Mohammed gives his keynote at CNS 2018

i) Following the summit, a delegation of the Nigerian Film and Music Industry, led by my humble self, held a piracy stakeholders’ meeting with the inspector-general of police, resulting in the establishment of police anti-piracy units in all the 36 states. The subsequent extensive piracy raids have led to the confiscation of pirated products worth hundreds of millions of naira.

ii) Granting of pioneer status for the creative industry by the federal government to reduce financial burdens on new investments and encourage both foreign and local investments within the industry.

iii) A meeting with the governor of the Central bank of Nigeria requesting the provision of stimulus capital for the creative industry to be invested through long-tenured single-digit debt to private investors to build 100 community cinemas, six music arenas across the geopolitical zones and state-of-the-art pre- and post-production facilities across the country.

iv)  Granting of special priority status to international and national investors to access foreign exchange.

v)  A sovereign guarantee to back up international loans to achieve any of the stated infrastructure projects.

vi) Co-ordination of an arrangement to establish a world-class media services production company that will produce Premier League [football], music videos for artists, films for Nollywood and TV shows and soaps for television.

vii) Setting up of an audience rating and measurement body for TV and radio, on the back of the ongoing rollout of the digital switch-over (DSO).

During the intervening period between the inaugural edition and the year’s summit, our personal research has been focused on an understanding of what, in particular, the customers in the 24 million TV households in Nigeria really want. We have arrived at the findings that the digitisation of television required a much deeper understanding of customers, content and the quality of delivery of ‘video.’ Yes, I did not use [the word] television and that is because that is not what people all want to watch. They want to watch videos, however they are delivered, including – but definitely not limited to – television.

The landscape has changed. The accelerating shift towards mobile delivery continues unabated and a content rekindling has left consumers feeling lost in a sea of available programming. I believe the time to act is now. Media and entertainment companies that want to stay in the game may need to embark upon a holistic, coordinated and integrated programme of digital innovation to focus their resources, investments and capabilities on the things that truly matter.

With respect to content consumers in Nigeria, a well-researched survey of what the customers want, where they are, what they watch, want to watch, when and how they want it delivered, does not exist. The stakeholders within the ecosystem of the DSO project are unfortunately focused on their immediate economic returns and convenient modules of implementation. But technological growth does not flow along those lines and, in the near future, smart media entities will outstrip all plans, institutions and government power and reach the customer, leaving non-informed players with empty castles.

On the issue of content, Nigeria is the clear leader in raw content in Africa. Nollywood, hip-hop, Afrobeat and our comedians testify to this. But we are hardly monetising them either through production, distribution or royalty collection. In fact, with about 20 billion naira currently expended on the DSO, less than N500m has gone into content. It is apparent Nigeria has forgotten that video, not television, is about content.

And everywhere in the world, Video has exploded via on-demand and live streaming. Online TV or subscription services are now the norm – YouTube, Netflix, Iroko etc. Video is now delivered via social feeds like Facebook, WeChat, LINE etc. Indeed, video is the future of media on the web and is competing with scheduled linear TV content for consumer attention. I implore the key players in the DSO project to focus on any of the above.

A recent survey done in over 42 countries revealed that expected video consumption on devices over the next three years will grow 45% on mobile, 45% on internet-enabled TVs, 40% on tablets and 36% on laptop computers. Traditional TV grew by 0%. This led the researchers to come to the conclusion that video is not only increasingly consumed from the internet, it is clearly going mobile.

TV companies have used their advantage of being first in the homes to introduce data to the homes, thereby not only improving their revenues significantly but securing their roles in the future of video watching. Some 70% of homes in the UK get their data from Sky, Virgin or YouView. In fact, BT, the main telecom operator, rushed to set up their own TV entity, acquiring Champions League football rights and offering it for free, if you buy data from them. Who is doing this in Nigeria? This is where we have to play.

Very soon the race for content will begin. With a significant increase in the number of distribution channels and a variety of content to choose from, the clear winner will be the media company that invests in high-quality original content that has taken into consideration the preferences of the customer. Ultimately, the goal will be to match content with audience expectation and enjoy maximum compensation.

Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to use this opportunity to salute all the players in our creative industry. They have all made Nigeria proud. Between the 2017 summit and this year’s edition, we have seen a harvest of global recognitions for our industry players. Mo Abudu and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde were named among the top 50 women doing extraordinary things on the worldwide stage by Variety magazine, and prolific author Chimamanda Adichie’s novel Americanah was listed in the New York Times’ list of 15 remarkable books by women that are ”shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century.”

Also, Wizkid has made history by becoming the first African artiste to sell out the Royal Albert Hall in London, while Davido emerged winner of the 2018 BET Award International Act. Congratulations to all these stars who are making our country proud, and indeed to all of you in the rapidly flourishing creative industry

Finally, let me assure you that this administration remains dogged in its determination to grow the creative industry and turn it into a creative economy. I wish you all fruitful deliberations and I thank you for your kind attention.

For more information about the conference, click here. The Twitter hashtag for the event is #CNS2018 and the Instagram account can be found here.

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EbonyLife TV marks five years with rebrand

Premium lifestyle and entertainment channel EbonyLife TV has rebranded after marking its fifth anniversary this month.

Parent company EbonyLife Media unveiled a new logo and disclosed plans to launch the channel on pay TV platform StarTimes, ending the exclusivity of its carriage deal with DSTV, on August 1.

Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV, said: “This is an exciting time for us. StarTimes is a force to be reckoned with in Africa. It is a privilege for EbonyLife to have an additional home with the network.

“Together with the global reach of [VoD service] EbonyLife ON, we will have the potential for millions more people to enjoy our shows.”

Mo Abudu

“As one of Nigeria’s leading television networks, it made sense to include it in the StarTimes family,” said Justin Zhang, MD of StarTimes.

However, reports suggest EbonyLife may have decided to expand its reach in Africa at this time because DSTV is set to stop airing the channel to subscribers in southern Africa this month. EbonyLife is yet to comment on the reports.

Meanwhile, it continues to expand not just via TV but also by its VoD service, EbonyLife ON, which was previously available only to international audiences.

The video streaming service is now accessible to Nigerians for a monthly subscription of N500. The EbonyLife ON app can be downloaded on Android and IOS app stores.

EbonyLife TV launched on July 1, 2013 and is now broadcast across Africa and the Caribbean on StarTimes (channel 107, 191), DSTV (channel 165) and Flow.

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