19 April 2017

Nigeria: Big Names in African Entertainment Gather for NECLive 2017

Photo: The Guardian
NECLive

Is Africa about to overtake the rest of the world as the leading provider of home and mobile entertainment?

That's the question Nigerian Entertainment Conference seeks to answer as participants gather to discuss and trade in Lagos on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

Growth in the Nigerian entertainment sector has been phenomenal and further reinforced by its inclusion in the computation of the nation's rebased GDP in 2014, giving rise to the service sector.

The rebasing of Nigeria's GDP in 2014 highlighted the service sector as the leading contributor with about 54.30% in 2015 (inclusive of the entertainment sector) followed by agriculture at 24.18% and industry sector with 21.52%.

Before now, the entertainment industry struggled to generate the desired interest that will attract investors. Rather, heavily relied on funding from "selected" sources or groups within the industry. More often, personal finance was required to sustain productions.

However, the increasing demand of Nigerian entertainment content in music, movies, creative arts, publishing or stage events is gaining market visibility and global recognition. Interest to invest in entertainers and the entertainment industry is beginning to grow.

As the economic recession crept in, many turned to film industry. Nigeria's only source of income, took a hit as crude oil prices fell across the world. Nollywood, the second biggest employer of labour in the country is said to have significantly contributed to Nigeria's economy during the recession.

Romantic comedy movie "The Wedding Party" which was released in 2016, is said to have grossed over 450 million naira, this makes it the most profitable film ever in Nollywood history.

Nollywood came to the rescue, buoying the country's economy amidst its current recession. The $5-billion sector has significantly contributed to Nigeria's GDP and, according to the United States International Trade Commission created jobs for over one million people.

The Nigerian entertainment industry is expected to grow above $8billion by 2019 according to report by DLM research. It is purported the increase of Internet penetration in Nigeria will continue to support and become a major driver of growth for the entertainment sector.

The role of the Nigerian entertainment industry has increasingly become important as it generates employment and serves as a tool for poverty alleviation. All segments of the entertainment industry in Nigeria are growing into multibillion-dollar businesses.

The Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board estimated that Nollywood employs about 1 million people in Nigeria and the board receives the production of about 2,500 movies annually.

It is pertinent to note that great investment opportunities exist in the Nigerian entertainment industry.

Has the time come for Africa to provide entertainment for the major percentage of the world's 7 billion people? They say we tell a different kind of story in Africa; we have a rare, peculiar sound. And they're buying it from America to London and Singapore. Back home, the booming youth populations are also more interested in local content like never before. From Iroko to Mavin and Africa Magic, the numbers show audiences on the continent are increasingly embracing our creativity; millions are choosing their own local entertainment over the imported.

But the diverse entertainment industries are still struggling. The structure to rip the dividend of the boom continues to lie comatose. From weak government policies to unsustainable business models, it appears we have plenty work to do, if we are to benefit from what's coming in significant ways. It could indeed be time for Africa. But what does this mean for the industry players? What do we need to know? To do? And how can we make sure we do not collectively miss this opportunity?

Now in its fifth year, NECLive is the umbrella conference for the entertainment industry in Nigeria, providing an opportunity for strategic discussions, and a marketplace for ideas, products and services.

The organisers say this year's edition will focus on how Nigerian entertainment, and indeed entertainment from Africa is finding renewed favour with fans at home, and the world over.

Tiwa Savage, Toke Makinwa, Adesua Etomi, Chidinma, Kemi Lala, Chichi Nwoko, Sir Shina Peters, Chidinma, Id Cabasa, Ali Baba, Adebantu Adewale Ayuba, Daddy Showkey, Basketmouth, Opa Williams, Frank Donga will lead Nigerian Entertainers To #Neclive5 On April 26. The theme for this year's conference is 'It's Time for Africa'.

NECLive will be hosted by Tee A, for the fifth year running.

NECLive is organised By Thenetng, with support from Multichoice, MTN, Newsroom Nigeria, Hip TV, MTV Base, AV Edge, EDS, Sodium Group, First Class Incorporated, ID Africa, TNS, 234 Stars, BHM and Edi Lawani & Associates.

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