By Bennett Oghifo
The Powerlifting Gymnasium, used by physically challenged athletes at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, has been refurbished and equipped with modern facilities by HS Media, which was retained by FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria, makers of Peak Milk.
HS Media Group is one of Nigeriaâ€™s leading Content, Media, and TV Production companies with expertise in Signals distribution, Corporate Events, Brand Management, Public Relations and Print Media.
HS Media is WAMCOâ€™s Television Exploitation Company, which they became after a pitch they won during a competition against other agencies.
The transformation of the facility was done by HS Media, which retained a reputable contracting firm with antecedents in the industry, said the Chairman/CEO of HS Media Group, Taye Ige, during a chat with the media at his state-of-the-art facility in Oregun, Lagos, during the week.
Ige said as soon as the contracting firm was signed on, they established contact with equipment suppliers and vendors and that they were eventually led to Eleiko, a firm that prides itself as â€œThe Number One Strength Company. At Eleiko, we work to make people stronger so they can perform better – in sports and in life.â€
HS Media obviously got the best. For over 60 years, Eleiko has been a worldwide leader within international weightlifting, powerlifting and strength and conditioning communities. Eleiko is uniquely certified by the IWF, IPF and Para-Powerlifting federations. Their products have been delivered to more than 180 countries and are often seen at the worldâ€™s largest championships and in the most respected strength training facilities. More than 1,000 world records have been set with an Eleiko barbell. With quality, innovation and customer service as guiding principles, Eleiko is the leading equipment provider and educator in strength.
Nigeriaâ€™s victorious Paralympians had a hand in the choice of equipment, said Ige. â€œWe took advice from the athletes, because they use the equipment and they know what it is. We got Eleiko to supply but we were responsible for identifying the logistics of freight, clearing and of ensuring that the equipment were eventually installed.
He said a company owned by an Olympics Gold Medalist, Enefiok Udo-Obong did the installation. The Olympian established several gyms in Lagos and in some cities in the country.
â€œHe did the installation and the place is sparkling and the hope is that if they could achieve what they achieved, getting many medals- when able-bodied athletes could not get any- if they could do all that when they had nothing, then now that Peak Milk has refurbished and equipped their gym, the haul will be unimaginably high.â€
Ige said his company was happy and privileged to have had its services retained by FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria, makers of Peak Milk, for this project.
He said, â€œIt was their initiative. Some of their bosses saw the place and didnâ€™t like the look and felt that if the place were made better, then Nigeria could do better. They are a very socially responsible company; they pride themselves in making a difference in the environment where they operate.
HS Media has come a long way in Nigeriaâ€™s economic sector as a reputable television, and as a proactive key player, has positioned itself for the wave that will come with digitisation of broadcasting.
â€œThe world of television has been talking about digitisation now for decades and some countries, even in Africa, have digitised long ago. There has been two or three deadlines given to Nigeria by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which Nigeria has missed. â€œEverybody knew digitisation was coming, and as players in the industry, we knew and have positioned for it.â€
HS Media facility at Oregun, he said is a complex of five television studios; five different business units, up from a one-platform/one-studio environment they were before.
Ige said, â€œIn this complex youâ€™re going to have about the biggest television production studio in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. The structure is fully completed and is awaiting the equipment- all of that is because we knew and know what digitisation is. In digitisation, the environment becomes libralised. You have, possibly in a place like Lagos, 200 television stations that are clear, Iâ€™m not talking about satellite, not about you buying decoders or pay to view. Just put on your television set and you find 200 clear channels. So, you should then be ready for production, because there would be a lot of programming requirements to fill those stations, and that is why I said we have anticipated and we are in position to be a major player when television eventually gets digitised in Nigeria and it is a matter of time. As you know, it has stated in Jos, gone to Kaduna, done Abuja, Ilorin was done in the last week of December, last year and, of course, Lagos is the big one that everyone is waiting for.
Ige said like the cell phone, Nigerians taste for media consumption, especially television has also gone global. â€œThat is why, even in football, foreign leagues are far endearing to our people than ours. The first reason why they are endearing is that they know them; they see matches from these leagues. You can only appreciate what you have seen- you can appreciate it or not but you must see it first, and this is taking place because of technology.â€
He said the desire of Nigerians for global content has been increased through what they see and foreign productions like â€œX-Factor; Americaâ€™s Got Talent, we now have Nigeriaâ€™s Got Talent, which is a franchise from the owners of the original idea; Big Brother; The Voice Nigeria, among others.â€
He said while this taste has grown, â€œthere is a sudden realisation that there is a major shortfall in the facilities around to help bring these programmes to life and that is why my agency, HS Media has decided to do this investment to ensure that there is enough of production facilities.â€
According to Ige, it would be appropriate to host the Nigerian variants of international shows like Big Brother Naija in Nigeria because of the socio-economic benefits they would have in the country. For instance, if these shows are held outside Nigeria, then it is the host country that would benefit from the money spent by the Nigerian sponsors, who do business in Nigeria. Also, Nigerian vendors of equipment and service providers will not benefit as they should if the shows were held in the country.
He said The Voice Nigeria holds in Johannesburg, South Africa and that Coke Studio holds in Kenya even when consumption of Coke is highest in Nigeria.
Ige then called on Nigerian investors to key into the revolution coming in the television industry. â€œThere is a revolution coming to television; Nigerians should invest in it.â€
He compared it with tele-density in Nigeria, which said could be a hundred million Nigerians or more, but wondered how many of the companies that provide services are indigenous and that how many Nigerian engineers or professionals work in the ones that profess to be truly Nigerian.
He said the general producer of Big Brother came to his facility when it was under construction and said it could be inspected when completed. Now it has been completed and in â€œour biggest studio, which is 900sqm, they can actually build that Big Brother house there, we have chalets to ensure that the core members of the crew donâ€™t need to travel. They have chalets they could stay in and world-class studio and facilities and they can just lock themselves in for the three months of the programme,â€ adding that there was enough space for The Voice Nigeria and other shows. â€œAll the structures are standing and waiting to receive the equipment, our hope is that before the end of the first quarter of the year, we should have all the equipment in place because we are hoping to be of use to the industry immediately before and during the World Cup.â€