A CASE FOR PH ENTERTAINMENT (PART 2)

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In my first part, I laid a foundation to show what we have become in terms of talent or have the potential to become with respects to entertainment in Port-Harcourt, Rivers state. Just in July 2014, the Nigeria Economic Report published by the World Bank put the GDP growth rate of the entertainment industry at 24.1 percent. It’s rare that an industry will grow at such a rate but this is because the industry tends to absorb a lot of people in different capacities. The African Report published on August 1, 2014, rated the Nigerian entertainment industry as the 2nd highest employer of labour after agriculture with about one million people particularly the youths. This is why any serious government should look at entertainment critically to create jobs and have a safer society.

Here are some pointers we can use in Rivers State.

1. TALENT/CONTENT – The first part of this conversation was spent reminiscing on great young talents that have shown we have talent and an able/eager audience. So, to have a thriving entertainment industry, we all agree that talent must be available…which in turn creates content. It goes without doubt that the PH entertainment industry has talent and content producers like artists, comedians and other practitioners whom are constantly churning out works even with their limited resources. Even Mark angel and the “Legendshow” are all port-harcourt based. Great! Hurray for talent, one step done. Next!

2. MEDIA: There is no thriving entertainment industry without a thriving media industry. While Rivers state has seen a growth in radio stations which I definitely applaud, sadly, we have not experienced the same growth in television, audio visual content and online media platforms. Why? While it will be hard to comment without a thorough research as views differ, what we all can agree on is that instead of crying about what we do not have, how about we amplify what is available i.e. what we already have. Case in point, RSTV…the Rivers state television station broadcasts on GoTV which is a subsidiary of DSTV.

This in itself is a great opportunity as it literally means millions of consumers can potentially watch the station. Super! The goal then for RSTV should/would be aiming to be the top station for users on the GoTV decoder. Every user that has that decoder should be looking to tune in to RSTV more times than not. Is this possible? Surely… A couple programme ideas? Why not? How about something political… since politics is big in the nation and region, a hard biting TV program that sticks deep in the nerve of political issues in the country will have users tune in for the unique views and opinions the region holds. Heck! We can take any of the political comedy radio shows and crew and translate it to a juicy TV show. We can laugh while dissecting real matters/issues.

Another idea? A competition perhaps? RSTV can organize a competition for local TV producers and film makers to each put together a team of writers, directors and actors that will pitch their show/movie ideas to an experienced panel. The top 5 teams based on ideas, execution plan and budget can get their stories funded by the station.heck! This process in itself is a TV show idea which is a concept for great TV the world over. Being that the station already has equipment; the cost may be greatly reduced. The station will surely require a little bit more investment so it can be upgraded to produce more interesting and innovative TV shows in partnership with local practitioners. But since content is king all over the world, we can sell the more interesting and better content as return on investment and that should be our focus…

Just to throw-in that the likes of Soundcity, HipTV, 9giezieTV to mention a few all began as 30min TV programmes showcasing the “just then beginning” urban Nigerian music industry. Over a period of about 15years or more, they have morphed into full blown TV stations providing and outlet for acts to share their content with millions of viewers all over Africa while providing jobs and opportunities for programme content providers. Young directors and content creators should think consistency and quality programming. It is safe to say that a long term investment in the production arm of media will yield many fruits.

3. EXPERTISE AND INNOVATION: The fastest way to get expertise is to train interested individuals. The goal to be the hub of media and entertainment in the region can only be satisfied if we train our present youths. This initiative not only helps with skill acquisition but making them employable or self-sufficient. These skill acquisition programs need to be designed on the HOW? How do I edit a video properly? How do I light up a stage well? How do I cover a wedding or burial ceremony? Etc. Many people know what they are meant to do but do not have a clue how. Lucky for us, we already have successful practitioners that can help engage and share this knowledge.

There is no reason why an Adasa Cookey, one of the leading film makers in Nigeria is not being used by the state government and by large, civil society to multiply our expertise in that field. We have more than enough experts in various entertainment fields to get started training young ones on the how. The entertainment and tech communities must also work together. Both communities are in critical stages for their growth, hence the need to collaborate. Tech needs more publicity which the entertainment industry can supply which in most cases turns to more subscribers and sales and the entertainment industry needs solutions which the tech industry can supply to make the content easily accessible to the market. One hand washes the other… This partnership dynamic may just be what is needed in the PH entertainment scene.

Watch the TEDx video here below

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