Feature: Entertainment as the alternative to oil for Nigeria

– According to expert studies, the industry is expected to generate $8 billion by 2019
– Other related industries like media, advertising and telecoms stand to benefit tremendously
– The industry is so laden with potential it has been rated by experts as the fastest-expanding major market in the world.
There are a number of obvious reasons why the Nigerian entertainment industry is at the forefront of showbiz and popular culture in the African continent at present. First, we have the numbers. Nigeria is the biggest country on the continent in terms of population, economic strength and consequently buying power. The media sector is expanding as well, feeding other affiliated sectors such as marketing, public relations, advertising and digital communications. Business is booming, and it is almost impossible to ignore the potentials. Many commentaries testify to the financial potentials of the Nigerian entertainment industry. Industry watchers say it is a field fertile enough to provide close to half of the nation’s total revenue if well managed and supported.
According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the Nigerian entertainment industry is predicted to generate revenue in excess of $8 billion dollars by 2019. This data was sourced from a report on CNN. Given this, anyone tempted to write off achievements in the industry needs to look again at the current figures and then realize that Nigeria has what it takes to thrive, without an unhealthy dependence on oil.
Wizkid en route Sierra Leone for his world tour. Credit: Instagram
If President Buhari’s budget for 2016 is N6.02 trillion, and expected earnings from the industry are pegged at N1.592 trillion ($8 billion at the official rate of N199), then the Nigerian entertainment sector is clearly at the forefront of the economy. If the entertainment industry, an industry currently underfunded and previously disregarded, can garner that much in terms of revenue, then Nigerians can be hopeful and confident of the future, despite the gathering economic storm clouds. As good as this sounds, there are other positive signs based on projections of the future growth direction of the industry. Analysts say the next few years will see a surge in more online engagements and commercial successes for the entertainment industry even though at present, the industry thrives given the support system of the telecommunications industry. What this means is the Nigerian telecoms industry has provided massive revenues for our music industry through sales of caller ring back tunes and digital music sales in partnership with other music sites and streaming platforms. By the way, revenues from mobile music sales in Nigeria are currently in the region of $150 million annually, according to reports from Bloomberg. As we were saying, a 2015 study by Pricewaterhouse Cooper states that the Nigerian entertainment and media market grew by 19.3% in 2014 to hit $4 billion, making it the world’s fastest-expanding major market. It is also expected to achieve more than twice its 2014 size by 2019, meaning it will stand invincibly with an estimated total revenue of $8.1 billion dollars. At the 2016 SXSW (South by South West) music festival in Austin, Texas, Nigeria had a panel of speakers including Michael Ugwu of Sony Africa, Ademola Ogundelhttp://nollygist.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpe (founder, Notjustok), Ovie Ofugara (head of content, Notjustok) and DJ Cuppy all speaking on the growing trends in the industry.
The fact that the industry is still pretty much in its development stage and we have gotten this far in terms of international attention is another telling sign of the multi-billion dollar expected returns in the near future. It is this untapped potentials that have led to the astronomical projections for future development. And these potentials are already coming to fruition. Davido’s signing with Sony Music has been described as a major game changer for Nigerian pop music. Another triumph is the story of Wizkid who is currently on a roll with an appearance on Drake’s album, as well as several other reported collaborations with Jidenna and Chris Brown. It is a phenomenal period in Nigerian entertainment. Artists are beginning to realize their true worth, record labels are starting to address all the details of artist and management contracts and publicists are starting to carve a visible niche for themselves. Songwriters, producers and local music sites are also not missing in action. Everyone is improving by the day, all of which collectively helps scale up output from the Nigerian music industry. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Wizkid and Drake hit number one on Billboard Hot 100 with the song One Dance Wizkid and Drake hit number one on Billboard Hot 100 with the song One Dance It is against this backdrop that we say Nigerian entertainment is by some measure the last strand of hope for a dwindling oil economy. The current earnings and potentials from this industry, if well supported and structured, have what it takes to drive us into economic greatness, miles ahead of the ailing, mono-product economy of today. If the right measures are put in place to enhance current successful processes, to scale up quality output, and to modify our sounds to reflect the current dynamics in global music and pop culture, then it means that the national economy can keep going irrespective of the world price of oil. That is certainly the case when other successful non-oil industries are considered; principally telecommunications, tourism and hospitality and mining, with our incredible reserves of gold, uranium, coal and iron.
Thus, there is a growing need to focus on Nigerian entertainment because a bright future is staring us right in the face, and this is our turning point. This is our time to write Nigeria’s name in the history books and this is the period in our history during which we need to make everything worthwhile happen as far as our nation’s development is concerned.
File photo of Nigerian pop star Davido

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