• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Low ICT engagement, poor regulatory framework hindering $4 billion entertainment sector growth

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The nation’s media and entertainment earnings are set to hit a climax of about $8.5billion before the end of 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.1 percent says PriceWaterHouseCoopers, while presenting its country connectivity index projecting the relative maturity in terms of the sub-optimal integration of the recreation sector for emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the report, the astronomical increase in fiscal returns will be driven largely by an expected boost in the population of mobile internet subscribers from  7.7 million users in 2013 to 50.4 million at the end of 2018 making it the most rapid growth rate in the world.

As Nollywood and fast rising, home grown music artists continue to dominate the continents entertainment scene, income from the traditional media such as television, radio and print are also estimated to scale the $1 billion mark within this time frame.

With telecommunication companies like MTN Nigeria already recording quarterly revenues of N400 billion, with core inputs from accumulated data-purchases and electronic entertainment subscriptions by its 55 million strong customer-base and its competitor, Globalcom Nigeria acing 27 million subscribers by the middle of 2014 alone, the positive forecasts for the leisure industry appear feasible.

However to propel these theories to actualization, the active participation of the private sector in providing structure and crucially needed funding for development is of the essence.

Speaking with BD SUNDAY in a recent interview, Michael Ikpoki, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria on the crucial role the private sector plays in mobilizing sections of the economy said, “If the private sector, as the engine of growth, continues to invest in the economy, then the multiplier effect of that will then translate into jobs, wealth and more taxes to government as a natural consequence of that.

“The role of government in supporting the private sector is perhaps a lot more critical now than ever before and we need to be clear about making sure the right policies are put in place to make sure we can get more value,” he stated.

Further highlighting the necessity of applying technology as a platform for distribution and production of quality leisure content, Ikpoki expressed, “We provide the basic infrastructure for that whole digital economy. The underlying power of ICT is so critical to the future of our economy because it is what is going to support efficiency, productivity and innovation.

As the broadband penetration of Africa’s largest populations taps the 100 percent margin and with telco’s competing for market share, the exorbitant cost of mobile services for a public with a consumer average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of 0.6 percent has frequently been criticized as a factor that may impede the continual growth within the entertainment industry.

Although the expensive nature of telecom services has been blamed on the near extinction of basic infrastructure across the Nigerian landscape as well as the constant demand for questionable dues by government forces, pundits state that risks transferred to end-consumers are way too high and profits generated enormous.

While the call for better partnerships between the private and public arm of the media industry  persists, experts also say a review of the multiplicity of functions ambiguously carried out by purportedly supervisory governmental divisions which are stifling advancements across the cadre needs to be implemented.

Recently addressing an audience at the 18th annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) themed ‘The Capital Market: The Key Catalyst to the Development of the Entertainment Industry in Nigeria, the director general of the Securities and Exchange Commission Arunma Oteh said, “At the moment, the entertainment industry contributes 4.1 per cent to the nation’s gross domestic products (GDP), this tell you the potential of the industry if it is well funded. However, the industry faces a lot of challenges.”

Revealing the level of commitment of public administrative agencies such as the National Archives and National Broadcasting Commission with respect to driving output and the efficient collation of data in the entertainment and arts industry, here is a statement boldly written on the webpage of the National Bureau of Statistics;

”The collection and generation of data on recreational, cultural and sporting activities have not received any serious attention in Nigeria. This is partly because of a poorly developed culture of data gathering and production and partly because the sub-sector and accompanying activities have been supervised by different government agencies and line ministries.”

If these image rending comments are to be checked and the potential boom from the media adequately utilized, stakeholders insist that vital policy reforms aimed at improving the regulation of activities within the industry should be executed.

Rita Ohai