Tag Archives: Neil Oyenekan

Love Island Nigeria set for production

Reality show Love Island will go into production in Nigeria this summer to air in the autumn, after the ITV Studios format was picked up by a partnership of Nigerian and UK players in September last year.

Odiri Iwuji, Toyin Subair and Neil Oyenekan at the Love Island Nigeria launch

Lagos-based media and broadcast investment company Digital Play Africa has acquired the format licence to the show from ITV Studios and has teamed with exec producer Odiri Iwuji of the UK’s Chudor House Productions and series producer Neil Oyenekan.

Casting for Love Island Nigeria is due to start next month, with production taking place over the summer. The show will see 20 singletons living and loving in a camera-lined luxury villa for seven weeks, the producers announced at a press event in Lagos yesterday together with sponsors, press and representatives of the UK Department of International Trade.

The Nigerian version of the format will be broadcast via Digital Play Africa-backed platform FreeTV’s free-to-air and premium channels including ONTV and MTV Base, as well as being available for digital streaming via the 9Vision mobile app.

Love Island began airing on ITV in the UK in 2005 and has since been adapted locally in 21 countries including the US, South Africa and across Europe, but this version will be the first to feature only black contestants, according to the producers.

Regarding the local adaptation, Digital Play Africa chief Toyin Subair said Love Island “perfectly sums up the expectations Nigerians have of entertainment as the programme offers a rich mix of fun while still touching on the subjects of friendship, love, romance and enduring relationships between islanders.”

“Love Island is perfect for the Nigerian youth audience; it simply ticks all the boxes,” said Iwuji, who is also co-founder and commercial director of C21Media.

Oyenekan added: “Dating is a critical part of millennials maturation in today’s Africa, and Love Island Nigeria offers a ‘verified’ format through which its key stages get tested – we expect great entertainment!”

Huub Van Ballegooy, head of global content and productions at ITV Studios Global Entertainment, added: “As we have already seen in different parts of the world, Love Island works equally well across linear, digital and catch-up platforms. With love being a universal language and the growing Nigerian market, we are very excited to roll out Love Island soon in Nigeria as well.”

Love Island is owned by ITV Studios and Motion Content Group and is distributed internationally by ITV Studios.

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Oyenekan testifies about The Justice Court

Judge Funmi Asaolu fronts The Justice Court

Neil Oyenekan, MD of Lagos-based Lighthouse Television and Filmworks, tells Content Nigeria about his new reality show The Justice Court and how he came to create the project.

Oyenekan, who had been developing and making TV programmes for over 10 years, says he was approached by a client who was concerned about the justice system, which led to him developing dispute resolution show The Justice Court, where real people present real cases in front of a judge.

Oyenekan says he realised it was an original idea as he could find no country in Africa with its own factual courtroom TV show.

Neil Oyenekan

“The further we looked into the grass roots situation, the more we began to understand such a show is needed, not just for TV but also for people in the community,” he says. “It is a brilliant entertainment show with an educational element that can be used to teach the mainstream about justice and also help the judiciary deal with cases they are probably overwhelmed by.”

He decided that, socially, a factual courtroom show would be “useful beyond entertainment.”

Oyenekan was keen to create a series directed at the primary market while maintaining the human element of the drama, and was aware the Nigerian audience had to warm to the concept.

The first 26-episode season is produced by Lighthouse and Avonix Nigeria and was shot at Hotsports Studios in Lagos. Fronted by Nigerian judge Funmi Asaolu, it launches tomorrow and will air on NTA2 on Saturdays at 6.30pm and Superscreen TV on Sundays at 8.30pm.

In selecting a suitable network, one of the things Oyenekan was concerned about was finding one that understood the show and could give them the best time slots.

As to why he created the format rather than purchasing one from the international market, he says: “It’s all down to budget. We realised that occasionally you have to develop it from the bottom up, and if you cannot afford to buy a format then making yours is the way out.

“If formats from China can do well globally, what does Africa have that is still in hiding? Africa has a huge diaspora which is beginning to constitute a huge base of income. Some things are unique to Africa that are of interest to the rest of the world. We need to dig in more to see what’s there that is fascinating.”

Elaborating on what makes this show different, he says: “We identified that unless there is some kind of value for the viewer, it will just be entertainment. We created a format where the lawyer [Judge Funmi Asaolu] is a mediator who settles issues in society.

“If the viewer can see the court come in to its neighbourhood, then it makes it more relatable and closer to them. It is a show that means well.”

The show will also be tested in other African countries including Senegal and South Africa.

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Nigerian media heads to MipTV in force

MipTV is set to hold another edition of its programme market in Cannes, France in April, this time with a big delegation of Nigerian TV executives in attendance.

The four-day event features masterclasses, screenings, exhibitions, panel discussions and workshops. At the MipFormats sidebar event, there will also be a panel session dedicated to the issues surrounding the development of TV formats in Nigeria.

To be held on April 8, the session will be titled The Producers Toolbox: Will Nigeria Host The Next Format Boom? Four speakers will address the topic, discussing the TV industry in Nigeria and the efforts to develop original TV formats and content for domestic and international markets.

The speakers will include Chichi Nwoko, CEO of Hey, What’s On?; Olasupo Odebiyi, creative director of Pixelator Multimedia; Neil Oyenekan, CEO of Lighthouse Television & Filmwork; and Duncan Irvine, CEO of Rapid Blue.

More than 10,000 TV professionals will represent their companies and media organisations at the event. Some of the Nigeria companies that will be buying and selling include Digital Play, National Broadcasting Commission, Rapid Blue, StarTimes Media, Screenshot Media, Pixelator Multimedia and Lighthouse Television & Filmworks.

Chineye Nworah, chief operating officer and head of content at Screenshot, told Content Nigeria about the company’s MipTV plans: “We attend various content markets annually. Content is what we are about, from feature films to reality TV shows, we aim to sell this content and distribute it. Though we would not be exhibiting at MipTV, we have meetings scheduled with other companies who have indicated their interest in our content.”

MipFormats will take place in Cannes from April 7 to 8, while MipTV runs from April 9 to 12.

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Brands key to Nigerian format growth

MIPFORMATS: One of Nigeria’s prominent producers believes the region’s formats industry is at a tipping point, fuelled by growing investment from brands.

Neil Oyenekan

Neil Oyenekan, MD/CEO of Lagos-based Lighthouse Television & Filmworks, said funding from clients and their advertising agencies has become as important as that of TV networks, adding that the next few months will be crucial for the industry’s progression.

“Independent production companies are key to content creation in Nigeria but brand agencies are too,” said Oyenekan, who was speaking on a panel discussion here in Cannes about whether Nigeria will host the next formats boom.

So far, he said, the country’s biggest hits have been tried and tested adaptations of international formats such as Big Brother and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

But Oyenekan said that his company is close to unveiling a new format with African mobile telecoms company MTN Group, with details yet to be revealed, and claimed brands have been powering growth.

“We are only just getting to the phase where we are receiving investment and it’s coming from brands, not networks. By Mipcom we’ll be at a better point,” he added.

“Nigeria has a growing economy where brand investment is important and the Nollywood crowd is waiting to find the next big format. Upsurge in infrastructure is also happening, where big studios are being built – now all that’s missing is the content.”

Oyenekan was speaking at a conference session in Cannes, France, titled The Producers Toolbox: Will Nigeria Host The Next Format Boom? Four speakers addressed the topic, discussing the TV industry in Nigeria and the efforts to develop original TV formats and content for domestic and international markets.

Also on the panel were Chichi Nwoko, CEO of Hey, What’s On?; Olasupo Odebiyi, creative director of Pixelator Multimedia; and Duncan Irvine, CEO of TV production company Rapid Blue.

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