The Nigerian entertainment sector has remained one of the thriving aspects of the economy, owing principally to two reasons amongst many others: it is youth-driven and has relatively little interference from government; Nigerian youths account for over half of the country’s population, which is over 100 million people, going by the estimated population of about 200 million. Over the past decade, there has been growth in leaps and bounds, however, it’s time to move the needle some more.
Creativity in Nigeria is like sand on the seashore, we are endowed with numerous talents from music to movies to tech, and the list goes on. Cliché as it is, one of the reasons why this sector hasn’t been able to scale is the overarching inability to attract adequate funding. A lot of the projects that we see in Nollywood, for example, have great storylines but the budget constraints makes it difficult, if not impossible, to excellently execute the ideas they had in their heads.
That is why financial institutions and organisations that have seen this potential have ramped up their marketing and are constantly making aggressive incursions into the heart of the entertainment sector. The players in the entertainment sector have also improved their craft and business savvy, making it easier to attract finances necessary for viable projects.
Nevertheless, the knowledge gap exists and still needs to be bridged, there are numerous cases where creativity and financing are at loggerheads because one party didn’t understand the language of the other. A typical example is when music artistes sign contracts with a record label only for the relationship to turn sour a few years later because one party suspects the other is exploiting his or talent in exchange for peanuts, while the other party believes they are working with a lazy or dishonest creative. It, therefore, becomes very important for both parties to speak the same language.
Our creative industry is amongst the fastest-growing ecosystems in the world. In 2015, a projection was made that by 2019, Nigeria’s entertainment and media industry would grow to $8 billion. A more recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also corroborates this projection albeit with different figures. Other firms with less notoriety project that by the end of 2021, our entertainment and media sector would be worth $15.1 billion.
This raises a vital question about how the market is currently structured to harness this potential. What business models are the finances being invested in? What are the operational basics and guiding principles the critical stakeholders are abiding by? What is the playbook for managing the risks and opportunities that comes with brands? Are there minimum viable products that will make investors feel more at ease and more willing to enter into partnership deals? These are the conversations that must be had on an ongoing basis.
The future is bright, there is no question about that. Unlimited possibilities and opportunities abound. Increased financial literacy for creatives is a key approach to tapping into this profitable future. If you throw money at a problem, you might end up compounding it and making it a more expensive problem to solve. Aside from funding and financing support, a better approach is to create and leverage better L&D systems for creatives and every other critical stakeholder in the space to understand finance.
The traditional players do their part through financing but this alone cannot yield the desired results. There are additional needs that are to be met which include understanding of finance and risk, amongst other things. This is the reason organisations like Hiwees are working to tackle this challenge with the emergence of creative spaces cum business faculties. This new approach by Hiwees is welcome in the entertainment and media circles; it will definitely be a fertile ground for grooming finance-savvy creatives to better exploit their innate geniuses.