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Call to keep content production in Nigeria

Nigeria’s creative industry is being held back thanks to the amount of local content being shot abroad, the country’s producers have claimed.

Lolu Akinwunmi

Femi Odugbemi, former president of the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria, has claimed that Nigeria has the technical expertise to produce commercials but fears that local content is being ignored by creative agencies.

“The problem of shooting TV commercials abroad is killing Nigeria’s economy because our creative agencies and their clients, mostly multinationals, go abroad for production when it can be offered locally and pay foreign vendors in foreign currencies,” he said.

“The practice became popular when companies operating in Nigeria started going abroad to bring in marketing directors. Of course, such directors will influence the company to go to their own country for commercial production, leading to huge capital flight.

“My question is this: why do we think it makes sense to build the economy of another country through their creative industry and leave our own? Again, how many of these brands being overseen by foreign marketing directors have become global brands?”

The Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had warned that in order to promote Nigeria’s creative industry, the production of local content such as movies and music videos in foreign countries could be banned, but his warning was not heeded.

Production work that could be handled in Nigeria is still being done in countries like South Africa and the UK.

Odugbemi said that if some aspects of the Nigerian industry could go global, then locally produced content would be accepted worldwide.

Taye Ige

“It is absurd when we use foreign music that has no local relevance in a TV commercial meant for Nigeria,” he added. “If you find yourself in a foreign land, you should be able to understand the culture of the people the moment you watch their ads – but unfortunately that cannot be said of Nigeria as our banks, telcos and other multinationals still go abroad and import content.”

The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) had initially placed a check on this by drafting a reform to promote local content by charging extra for commercials produced outside the country.

They believed that commercials were being shot abroad because of inadequate technology and manpower at home.

Lolu Akinwunmi, a former chairman of APCON, said: “It is difficult to stop them under the law of free enterprise. They have a right, but for the country to avoid going into free fall, we can do what the local industry did in Brazil: if you wish to use material produced abroad, you pay an extra cost. China did it too. This way, the federal government will stop them. ”

Taye Ige, CEO of media business HS Group, said a lot of money is being spent shooting commercials abroad.

“Perhaps we are not proud of what we have but I’m confident that there is equipment and adequate technology support locally to produce commercials meant for our market. By going abroad, we are losing a lot in the area of logistics and other production requirements. Since Nigerians pay for the consumption of these products, they must be allowed and encouraged to participate in their production,” Ige said.

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