Is Recession Affecting your TV Habits?



Not too long ago, the issue was if the Nigerian economy was in recession. At the time, the honourable minster of finance, Kemi Adeosun, said Nigeria was only in recession, technically. Today, there’s no longer any argument as to whether Nigeria is in recession, technically or literally.

Now you don’t have to subscribe to them economic jargons. But I have a niggly feeling that most people agree that these are challenging times. My Pastor calls it the R word. Others call it hard times. Some call it Buharian times. I choose to call it challenging times. Whatever your preference, even if you are lucky to be among the ultra lucky 1% of Nigerians who are living it up, you are bound to have come across family, friends, staff, colleagues or acquaintances who aren’t so lucky. So we can safely assume everyone’s feeling the pinch, one way or another.

Times like these call for prudence-pruning your spending. And so everywhere you turn, someone is offering some advice on how to cut costs. I don’t have any figures or statistics but we can safely assume that the recession is having some effect on people and their TV viewing habits. The question from me to you is: How has the recession affected your TV viewing habits, if the R word has affected you at all. Are you still subscribing to your pre-recession satellite TV package? Or have you scrapped it altogether? Or have you come up with some real Naija solutions?

But can we really do away with TV? Don’t Television and Films serve as a means of escape for viewers? What better way to escape from your own reality than to focus on other people’s? I know many people who’d (only) suddenly start to feel the effects of recession if their access to international football leagues were blocked. How else would someone in Abuja rejoice over say Jose Mourinho’s misfortunes? Or over Pep Guardiola being brought down to earth after starting the English Premier League so well? Or Wayne Rooney losing his first team place at Manchester United? Imagine laughing at someone who earns £300, 000 a week! How much is that in Naira again? We know the Naira is giving foreign currencies the mother of all battles. Still, £300k a week!

In effect, recession or no recession, we must watch TV. One way or another. So since we must pay to watch TV (and films), this brings me to the other half of the equation: the service providers. What can be done for the viewers? Even if there’s no price cut, is it possible to be more flexible in pricing? This is a good time to be creative, in marketing and pricing.

One thing I’d like to see is a situation where we are allowed to pick and pay for exactly (or most of ) the channels they want. Many people hardly watch more than a few channels regularly. Even with my job as a TV/Film critic/commentator, I don’t watch half of the channels on my subscription plan. It would be nice to pay for only what I want to watch.


Queen Of Katwe
Director: Mira Nair
Starring: David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, Madina Nalwanga, Esther Tebandeke, Taryn Kyaze.

Queen of Katwe is the true life story of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi. Phiona, who is played by Madina Nalwanga, is fatherless and lives with her mother Nakku Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o) in Katwe, a sprawling slum in Kampala, Uganda. Even in that slum, Phiona’s family is worse off than many others. But fate comes calling in the form of Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) who runs a missionary programme to teach kids to play chess. And it turns out, Phiona is a chess prodigy! She’ll go on to win many an important game and laurel.

Queen Of Katwe is not your everyday feel good film. There are unexpected twists and turns. As there are many angles to the story. Not unlike real life. There is the part about a young girl exceeding her dreams. There is also the aspect Pentecostals like to call being located by your destiny. We’re also reminded again about the plight of widows in Africa.

Wrap all that with a mother’s love and the sacrifice she makes for her children. Because at the end of the day, even with all the Katendes in the world, without Phiona’s mother willing to sacrifice all she had, the story of Phiona may have turned out differently.

While Queen of Katwe may not be your everyday feel good film, it’s still a Walt Disney film. And there a few Disney-ic moments. When the Ugandan team arrive ‘Russia’ for a chess tournament, the snow looks straight out of Disney’s Frozen. Considering how cold Russia supposedly is, the team is under dressed. And yet not one of them appears shocked by the ‘cold’ weather! And of course, the inevitable scenes of happy Africans breaking into songs and dancing. Apart from David Oyelowo, Nigeria made another appearance with Davido’s Skelewu and MC Galaxy’s Sekem. For a moment I think for a moment the sound is from the cinema hall.

At the end of the day, David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o give a good account of themselves. But Madina Nalwanga is ‘woman of the match’ for me.
All of this is to say you should go see Queen Of Katwe.


“Progressive Governors Forum urge Nigeria to show more understanding, support and cooperation to the Buhari administration.”

-NTA, Tuesday October 25, 2016, 4.01 pm-ish.
I’m sure the guys at the NTA had meant to say ‘Nigerians’ because I can’t imagine that the progressive governors were talking to Nigeria as a country. Although it would’ve helped if they told us the address of the Buhari administration. Something to the effect:Support the Buhari administration, residing at the opulent Aso Rock Villa; whose running costs have since nearly doubled if not tripled.

It would have also helped to know the make up of this so called progressive forum. Does it include any governor owing salaries and pensions?
Come to think of it, exactly what are Nigerians who have been branded fantastically corrupt supposed to show understanding for? The assault on the judiciary? Or what should Nigerians support? Recession?

And exactly what does the government need the cooperation of Nigerians for anyway? The government seems to be doing just fine. After all, it lives in another Nigeria where investors are falling over themselves, where recession is just a word, where the real Nigerians are happier than kids in an amusement park.

“Cultist, oil bunkerers and kidnappers surrender arms under the Rivers State Amnesty Committee.”
-NTA, Tuesday October 25, 2016, 4. 02 pm-ish.
Was it only one cultist who surrendered arms? Anyway, this shouldn’t take away from the good news. But there’s still the issue of all these people surrendering arms ‘under the Rivers State Amnesty Committee’. How do you surrender arms under a committee? Perhaps they surrendered the arms ‘to’ the committee? Even if they simply left their arms in one open space somewhere, the committee still gets the credit. We know that.


Time To Change The Chivita TVC

‘Sometime in February this year (2016), I wrote this article under the headline: “Does Van Persie Still Drink Chivita? “It’s doubtful if Dutch International and Fernabahce Robin Van Persie (RVP) ever drank Chivita Orange to begin with. But let’s believe that like some other English Premier League players, RVP lived for Nigerian drinks like Chivita Orange and Malt. But what’s the justification for still running Chivita’s TV commercial shot when RVP was (still) a Manchester United player? The man doesn’t even play in England anymore as he has since left for Turkey. Shouldn’t it matter?

Fast forward to August 13, 2016. The Chivita TV commercial was still running. That’s when I noticed that in addition to Van Persie, almost every footballer in the advert had left Manchester United. There’s Di Maria, I think there’s also Radamel Falcao and I’m sure one or two who have left.’

This is an excerpt from this column that was published four weeks ago. Now, I’m tempted to be running this article every week until Chivita listens. By the way, who knows the name of the advert agency responsible for this Chivita TVC?