Tag Archives: Toyin Subair

Subair hails IPTV, triple-play opportunities

Day three of Africast 2018 began with Toyin Subair of Digital Play Nigeria highlighting the possibilities of IPTV and triple-play media services.

Toyin Subair

In his speech, the company’s CEO discussed digital switch-over (DSO), which has been a major concern in Nigeria, and the need to transit from analogue to digital broadcasting.

He told delegates at the three-day broadcast business event, held in Abuja, that customers’ needs are being neglected while more time is being spent on other aspects of DSO, which should not be the case.

“It’s been all about subsidies, transmitters, set-top boxes, BON, FreeTV, satellite, middleware for Push VoD, audience measurement and a recent push for content to be put on the front burner,” he said.

“It seems we have left the customer behind. I cannot point to any recent survey to understand exactly what the customers that occupy the approximately 24 million TV households in Nigeria really want.

“It should then not surprise us if, after all our efforts, we find out that customer expectations were far ahead of what we were all knocking our heads together to complete.”

He went further by illustrating that regarding digitisation of television, customers, content and quality of video delivery need to be properly understood because people are interested in watching not just content from TV but also video.

“The landscape has changed. Audiences are fragmented, the competition from disruptors is relentless, the accelerating shift towards mobile continues unabated and a content renaissance has left consumers feeling lost in a sea of available programming,” he said.

“The time to act is now. Media and entertainment companies that want to stay in the game may need to embark upon a holistic, orchestrated and integrated programme of digital reinvention to focus their resources, investments and capabilities on the things that truly matter.”

He claimed that those trying to implement DSO are only concerned about convenience and their immediate economic returns, rather than paying attention to what customers want, what they watch, when and how they want it delivered.

And since they cannot see things from the customer’s point of view, the audience will soon be out of their reach, taken away by smart media entities.

“The problem is that technology is not thinking on those lines and very soon the smart media entities will leapfrog all our plans, institutions and government power and reach the customer, leaving us with empty castles,” he said.

Triple-play offers the best way to deliver services to customers, Subair said. It is not just all about putting together a mix of voice, video and data but about how convenient it can be for customers in terms of price package, reception, purchase and payment.

Subair added: “Nigeria is the leader in raw content in Africa. Nollywood, Afrobeat and our comedians testify to this. But we are hardly the engines monetising them, either through production, distribution or royalty collection.

“In fact, with about over N40bn currently expended on DSO, less than N500m has gone into content. Nigeria has forgotten that television – or, sorry, video – 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 – and also video is now delivered via social feeds like Facebook, Wechat, LINE etc,” he said.

In an attempt to make money and get a good price, some players urged the government to reduce data connectivity on the DSO boxes and also discard any middleware that will make it easy for customers to have Nollywood at their fingertips.

Toyin suggested that while video is the future of media on the web, DSO had not even focused on any of the above.

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CNS upbeat about digital era

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.”

Speakers line up on day two of CNS2018

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.

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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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Subair: take back control of our TV

Toyin Subair, exec chairman of media company Digital Play, has called out to the federal government to regain control of Nigeria’s TV industry from foreign companies.

Toyin Subair

In a recent interview with newspaper The Nation, Subair said Nigeria has the biggest creative industry in Africa but is unable to monetise its content because of the invasion of foreign TV companies. These control the TV infrastructure and dictate what is broadcast, he claimed.

According to Subair, home-based infrastructure is what is needed to help the industry thrive. “We need to fight the infrastructural battle. We need to own the platforms. We need to get the right kind of funding,” he said.

“We need to ensure that our stories are told the way we want them to be told and that they are not bastardised by the ones controlling it. Somebody else is deciding what goes on and what doesn’t, when it should go out and how it shouldn’t go out. You don’t want that; you don’t want people to take our creativity out of the country.”

Subair, former CEO of now defunct Nigerian pay TV outfit HiTV, said the digital switch over (DSO) transition will be instrumental in the nation’s control over its content, with the advent of set-top boxes ensuring content creators have access to more than 24 million TV households.

However, he pleaded with the Nigerian government to ensure that DSO is not taken over by foreign companies.

He also claimed that while DSO is lucrative it needs to be funded. “They say there is no money, but how can you say there is no money? The very essence of DSO is that you free up spectrum that people can use to go and sell data and make data cheaper via LT 4G 5G.

“So, 16 analogue TV channels find that if they move to digital, they will only need a fraction of it and then you can take the rest and sell it. With regards to the funding of DSO, we are sitting on it ourselves with no transaction being done properly to free it. It’s like a chicken and egg situation.

“You are sitting on the money but you need to monetise it. You just need a few smart people in one room, create a model where it is used as security to fund the rest of DSO, and then once it is funded and you remove the people, you use the asset and sell it off to monetise the investment. Now, what I just said looks simple; we make it difficult for ourselves.”

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