As the world becomes more interconnected, global entertainment giants are increasingly setting their sights on the burgeoning creative markets in Africa, particularly Nigeria.
A combination of technological advancements, growing broadband connectivity, a thriving creative scene, and an immensely youthful demographic is turning Nigeria into a hotspot for international entertainment conglomerates.
Virgin Music’s recent expansion into Nigeria underscores the global appetite for the country’s musical creativity. The appointment of former Warner Music executive Olukorede ‘Kay’ Ikazoboh to head the new office in Lagos further solidifies Virgin Music’s commitment to the region. From its inception, Virgin Music Nigeria will be collaborating with local artists such as Darkoo and Reekado Banks, and the Afrobeats label, Dvpper.
Nat Pastor, Virgin Music co-CEO said, “The global appetite for the incredible musical creativity springing from Africa has never been stronger. Establishing a presence in Nigeria is another important step in our commitment to serving independent African artists and entrepreneurs throughout the region”.
This is not the first time an international music company comes into the Nigerian music market, Sony Music Publishing in 2022 opened a new office in Lagos, Nigeria with the company appointing Godwin Tom as Managing Director who will report to Guy Henderson, President, International. These moves are not just a testament to Nigeria’s creative prowess but also a clear sign of the country’s potential to influence the global music scene.
Nigeria’s booming creative industry has been making waves across the globe. Complemented by a vibrant music scene, characterised by the globally popular Afrobeats genre, Nigeria’s entertainment and media sector is becoming a force to reckon with globally.
The MultiChoice Showmax recent $23 million deal with NBCUniversal, Comcast, and Sky will enable Showmax to scale even further, leveraging the world-class streaming technology of Peacock and the extensive premium content from NBCUniversal and Sky. This partnership is an excellent example of how international corporations are keen to tap into the potential of Nigeria’s thriving creative hub.
Calvo Mawela, Chief Executive Officer of MultiChoice in the official press statement in March this year said. “The new business venture deepens an already strong relationship and builds on the Sky Glass technology partnership that we announced in September last year. We believe we are extremely well positioned to create a winning platform going forward.”
Femi Osinubi, the Technology, Information, Communications, and Entertainment (TICE) Industry Leader at PwC Nigeria, highlights in PwCs Entertainment and Media reports this year a crucial aspect of the evolving entertainment and media (E&M) landscape in Nigeria and around the world. His comments shed light on how technological advancements, changing consumer behaviour, and evolving business models have created a gap between what consumers desire and how companies deliver their E&M offerings.
In recent years, Nigeria has seen a rapid transformation in its E&M sector, with a burgeoning creative industry that includes music, film, streaming services, and more. However, as Osinubi points out, there’s a disconnect between what consumers want and what companies provide. To address this gap and stay competitive in this dynamic environment, Nigerian companies and content creators must focus on two crucial strategies:
‘Building Active Communities’ which Osinubi emphasises the importance of creating active, high-value communities of fans who share common passions, values, and interests and ‘Leveraging Emerging Technologies’ for superior user experiences which Nigerian E&M companies need to embrace and capitalise on. By aligning with these strategies, Nigerian content creators and E&M companies can meet the evolving expectations of their audiences and drive sustainable growth in the sector.
This trend has seen the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, establishing a presence in Nigeria, further solidifying the nation’s position on the global entertainment stage.
Netflix, the streaming giant known for its diverse content library, recognized the potential of Nigeria’s creative scene and set up offices in the country. This move was seen as a strategic effort to connect with the vast audience of Nigerian viewers while also providing a platform for local content creators to showcase their work to a global audience.
With Netflix signing more deals with Nollywood filmmakers for the next couple of years, with the likes of Anakle, Kunle Afolayan Production and Ebonylife looking to release titles on the platform in the coming years, the partnership between Netflix and Nigerian creators has proved mutually beneficial. Amazon Prime, another major player in the streaming industry, followed suit by establishing its presence in Nigeria. This development was welcomed by local filmmakers, who saw it as an opportunity to expand their reach and gain international recognition
Indeed, the creative hub in Nigeria is thriving due to a combination of factors. The country boasts a large, young population with a median age of just 18 years, making it a prime market for digital entertainment. Nigeria’s improving broadband connectivity is enabling more consumers to access online content, creating a ripe market for streaming services. Moreover, the country’s rich cultural heritage and diverse musical influences have given rise to unique content that resonates globally.
In conclusion, Nigeria’s creative industry stands at a pivotal moment in its history. With a booming market worth over $4.2 billion and international players eager to participate, the future holds immense promise. By fostering strong communities of fans, embracing emerging technologies, and staying attuned to evolving consumer preferences, Nigerian content creators and E&M companies are poised to lead the charge into a new era of creative excellence, propelling Nigeria’s creative industry to even greater heights on the global stage.