Realising the imperative of gingering Nigeria’s entertainment industry for global competitiveness, the Lagos Business School (LBS), in collaboration with industry stakeholders, recently converged on Lagos to explore opportunities in the industry.
Stakeholders in the Nigeria’s entertainment industry, led by the Lagos Business School (LBS), advertising practitioners and film makers have come together to explore opportunities that will bring more investment to the industry they collectively agreed is capable of reducing Nigeria unemployment problem to the minimum.
The occasion was the Lagos International Executive-MBA Week, themed, ‘playing to win in Africa’, Exploring Business Opportunities in Nigeria, aimed at fostering cultural immersion and expose participants to the culture, values and business environment in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Speaking on LBS intervention in the entertainment industry, Dr. Uchenna Uzo, Academic Director, International EMBA Week and Director MBA, Lagos Business School, said the focus this year is to celebrate the creative industry of Nigeria and to discuss the implications for Africa.
“We have participants who came from other countries who know about Nollywood and the Nigerian music industry but who know very little about the business parts of it.
What we have done is to invite industry guests who can expose them to what it takes to invest in this industry and to export our productivity and creativity to other parts of Africa and the world.
While restating the facts that this is an industry that has very little funding from government and the private sector, yet has been able to build something that is rated as the second largest in the world, Uzo foresee that with time, with more education, with more investment and with more infrastructures, Nigeria’s entertainment industry will be able to make wider impact and produce movies that can have a stronger appeal globally.
“What it will take to elevate the industry, apart from funding, is to help build the educational infrastructure that will help the artiste and other people to come in.
Right now, Nollywood is an all comers affair, where anybody can come in at any time without necessarily having the needed skills and abilities.
“ So, we need that kind of training and developing partnership with schools and institutions that are used to film making and productions.
We have the raw talent; all they need is the help, support and the expertise to help them improve on their productivity”
Speaking on the music industry, Steve Babaeko, Chief Executive Office, X3M Group, while explaining why government and other stakeholders need to pay attention to the industry, said that apart from farming, the creative industry is the second largest employer of labour in any the country, adding that the creative industry is also the biggest public relations tool which the government should explore and develop because of the potentials and catalysts for youth employment.
He said that if a big company like Nike can collaborate with an artist called Wizkid, released a jersey called ‘Starboy’, which sold out in less than ten minutes, then it is worth paying attention.
“For every Wizkid you produce you are taking 50 to a 100 young men off the street; the same thing for Davido, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, and this is because when they roll, they don’t roll alone, they roll with stylists, makeup artistes, road managers, business managers. They roll with these full compliments.
“Now we have an opportunity to create mass job but we are not taking advantage of the opportunity.
The music and entertainment industry is the only industry that is not backed up by government funds, the banks or any investor group but it has taken Nigeria to the world”.
He said Nigeria’s music industry is by far bigger than that of South Africa but because we do not have structures to actually evaluate it, South Africa on paper seemed to be bigger than that of Nigeria.
According to him this is so because they have the structures which we do not have.
“I will say the Nigerian music industry is far bigger than that of South Africa but if I put the same content in South Africa and in Nigeria, I am likely to recoup my investment faster in South Africa than in Nigeria.
This is because the South African music industry have strong distribution network than Nigeria.
On what it will take to scale up, the creative advertising practitioner said that was why LBS deemed it necessary to explore the views of experts in the area.
“This is why they call experts to come and discuss the opportunities there. It is not about government money; it is about private sector investors to come and take this industry to the next level.
We need to scale up, and to scale up you do not need this subsistence industry. So, if we get good funding I bet, we can scale to take the whole of Africa”.
Babaeko also advocated for special courts for speedy trial of intellectual property offenders, which he said has been dragging the industry down.
“I am saying that we can have a special court to give accelerated hearing to intellectual property violation and copy right cases.
If for every IP violation it is given accelerated hearing I will be more circumspect before committing infringement.
“Some people commit the violation because they know the court process is slow; they know fully well that the case can be in court for the next twenty five years or more, but with special courts to give accelerated hearing such impunity will be curtailed. So, we are not saying create new laws but create enabling environment for the existing laws to work”, he stressed.
Speaking on the potentials in the entertainment industry, especially films, Desmond Ovbiagele, a Nollywood Film Maker, said that he is happy that the LBS is passionate about developing the business potentials in Nollywood.
He noted that while the real task of moving Nollywood forward lies with the government, observed that the media in particular, can give more critical coverage on Nollywood and the quality of films produced.
“The media as well can also help in moving the industry forward in terms of the coverage of Nollywood. We would like to see more critical coverage as against the more salacious and enticing coverage we are getting now.
I want to see more critical review of the quality of the films and what is going on about Nigerian films so that when the films get to the box office, and people are faced with making a choice between Nollywood and Hollywood, the awareness would have been created and there will not be much difficulty making the choice anymore.
“This will boost the Nollywood brand so that more Nigerians in diaspora will desire to see more of our movies in cinemas.
There is need to create more awareness to engrave Nigerian films in the consciousness of a greater number of people to help them make viewing decisions”.
Expatiating further on the international EMBA Week Uzo said: “It is a week we take to explore what it takes to do business in Nigeria.
It is really a doing business in Nigeria programme, adding that the EMBA Week afford the participants to visit landmark business areas in the city of Lagos.
“We made a visit to the Eko Atlantic city where we look at the massive projects going on. It was something which the students found very interesting.
They now understood how from trying to save Lagos from being taken over by the Lagoon to how it is now turning to big city.
The agro business sector is one area that we have also explores in-depth; then, the e-commerce and the ICT sector is another one which with a panel of experts we have explored.
Then, we also looked at the indigenous innovations when we visited Balogun Business Association; and we also went to computer village, Slot in particular, to help people understand how grass root entrepreneurship and innovation has created almost what you can call an industry cluster.
I think that helped us to appreciate how one can build from scratch with very little”.