Of Creativity, Opportunities and Training


In this report, Raheem Akingbolu writes on a recent partnership between the School of Media and Communication of LBS and reckons that it would intellectualise the creative industry.

Despite its huge potential, the creative industry, has for decades, suffered set back as a result of quality of output. Unlike advertising, which has carved a niche and attracts well educated professionals as practitioners, the entry barrier to the entertainment industry is still very loose.

This explains why stakeholders have consistently insisted on training and partnership to deepen the Nigerian film industry, which produces about 50 movies per week, second only to India’s Bollywood—more than Hollywood in the United States. Although its revenues are not on par with Bollywood’s and Hollywood’s, Nollywood is believed to still generates an impressive $590 million annually.
Succor came the way of the industry last year, when Multichoice, a leading Pay TV company in Africa decided to intervene to grow talent and deepen professionalism by inaugurating Multichoice Talent Factory (MTF).

According to the management of the company, the initiative which was designed to train young men and women of Africa origin, who want to pursue career in film making would also be used to grow and develop African creative industries.

This was considered good news for stakeholders as the continent has for many years endured negative image both locally and internationally. Some analysts attribute this to prejudices of Western countries that, through their powerful global media system exaggerate negative issues in the African continent and play less on their own bad sides.

However, most African economies have done little to change the unacceptable perceptions. They are either beclouded in ignorance of the risks of poor image or correcting it is not their priority as they don’t understand the relationship to economic growth. Good or poor reputation has correlation to level of development.

Branding and image building are about consistent story telling through various platforms such as books, films, documentaries and souvenirs. Europe and Western countries have used this approach successfully but Africa is yet to fully embrace this approach.
MTF to the rescue

As Africa continues to change rapidly, the entertainment industry is ever more relevant and this has shown in many instances. By introducing the talent factory last year, MultiChoice, perhaps recognized the critical role it can play in society to be the driving force behind the development of future talent to help build and strengthen the creative industries across Africa and to play a positive role in Africa by helping to grow Africa’s creative industries into vibrant, economic powerhouses.

At the launch in Nigeria, its Managing Director, John Ugbe, stated that the company believes it can – and must – play an indispensable role alongside government, civil society and communities to solve complex global challenges and drive positive change in communities, thereby creating “shared value”

He said: “Shared Value involves using MultiChoice’s corporate assets and expertise to address stakeholder needs and create shared value for the business and key stakeholders and it’s by creating value for our customers, our employees and society that we’ll build a successful business for the future.

“Through the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), MultiChoice Africa will develop emerging TV and film talent whilst simultaneously promoting the growth of local content in key markets through a well-structured and impactful social investment programme,” he said.

Having been in Nigeria for 26 years the company believed that repackaging Africa cannot be done successfully without training and equipping Africans to tell authentic and well-produced stories.