Yinka Obebe: Supporting Nigerian SMEs

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Yinka Obebe is the Chief Executive Officer, Pop Central, the fastest-growing homegrown media platform for the young audience that is redefining content co-creation, television viewership and social engagement in Nigeria and across Africa on DStv channel 189 and their DNA is LIVE television, second screen, and rewards. In this interview with Chiemelie Ezeobi, the CEO revealed that they recently supported 144 Nigerian SMEs with ad grants worth N388,000,000 million and why

Tell us what the SME Ad Grant is all about and why Pop Central embarked on the initiative?

The SME Ad Grant is for small and medium sized enterprises across Nigeria. As businesses started openingup and coming out of COVID-19 lockdowns, the economic downturn that followed as a result prompted us to find anapproach to support these businesses in the way we can. So, in partnership with FAYA, an Adtech company, we sort to offer them Ad grants.

The idea is to provide support by giving them visibility, and most importantly a level of verifiability; and when that converts, they make more sales, hire more people, scale up their business and the cycle continues.

There’s no doubt that advertising attracts customers to a business and increases sales. When consumers see strong and positive advertisements they are more willing to buy and ready to choose the business.

On the other hand, this initiative also gives us an avenue to play our part in the nation’s economy growth. We believe that an economic rippling effect is guaranteed whenever advertising increases.

How many SMEs in Nigeria are you targeting with the ad grant and how much will each SME be getting?

Our target is as many as we can accommodate in the period. With N388,000,000 million worth of inventory, we intend to reach a base number of 144 businesses. We might increase that depending on the response we get. Each business gets a whole week of advertising at 12 spots a day. It is necessary to clarify that we are not giving away cash, it’s a grant, which means we have opened up our inventory to cater to the businesses at no cost to them. We have had a lot of inquiry in that regard, hence the need to clarify.

Is TV advertising still influential for driving SMEs growth in today’s digital savvy environment in Nigeria?

Absolutely, it still is. There is a misconception that everyone is on their phones exclusively consuming media all the time. What is actually going on is that people spend time on their mobile phones but still consume media onTV. It goes hand in hand actually. This is why for TV, it is about appointment viewing. Viewers know when to keep up with their favourite programs on TV. When viewers find a reason to watch TV, they do, and this keeps TV in a class of its own for experiencing entertainment in homes, either individually or with others.

Another reason why TV is relevant at the moment is that “Nothing is really real unless it happens on television”.Television provides verification and believability. When people see it on TV, they believe it; this is important for SMEs positioning their business. And we are not taking that for granted, which is why we are ensuring the SME ad grant is available to real businesses and real people.

Being digital savvy is a good thing especially for the kind of TV we have. Popcentral is a social TV, and we encourage the SMEs who will take advantage of the ad grant to ensure that their ads also integrates their social channels so they can get even more people checking out their social pages or websites to learn more about their businesses.

What is the process for interested SMEs who wish to apply for the grant?

Very simple, and thanks to our friends at FAYA, they have built the perfect platform for this to happen. For the first time SMEs will be accessing their free ad spots directly from mobile devices or laptops.

Owners of SMEs can go to www.popcentraltv/smeadgrant and register. They will get a response that gets them into the FAYA portal, and they choose their interests and claim their spots. This is just like getting promoted adverts on any of the top social media platforms we are used to.

What is the reach that SMEs will be getting via the grant with adverts placed on Pop Central, DSTV Channel 189?

Over 2,000,000 eyeballs across and beyond the entire country daily will be able to see the SMEs’ adverts. And these are people who have the power to spend that we know businesses are in search of. Remember, we are on the most premium platform, channel 189, DSTV. It doesnot get any better on television anywhere in Africa.

What long term plan do you see the SME Ad grant achieving in Nigeria?

I mentioned that in response to the first question. It will cause an economic rippling effect. It will be Ubercool if other media platforms can join us, set up the same platform and let’s drive commerce with what we have. Advertising is a very strong tool, it will guarantee awareness, repeat business, top of the mind, build loyalty, competition, create a positive image for the businesses and at the end of the day money will move. It’s not complicated at all.

Owners of SMEs in Nigeria have been hit hard by COVID-19, how do you advise they navigate through the reverberations of the pandemic?

There is actually no better time than now for businesses to put themselves out there. If a business is fortunate to be standing, then it is imperative that it does what it takeswithin the confines of marketing to get noticed. We understand that getting noticed costs money, that’s why we have introduced the SME Ad Grant for SMEs to make the most of the offering. SMEs would need to put some thoughts into making an ad that tells their unique story; it’s all about telling stories at the end of the day and ensuring people listen to the story. So my advice, if you are still standing, let your current and potential consumers and users know you are there.

What are Pop Central’s offerings as an innovative media company?

First of all, we are doing television in a completely different way and I’m glad people are now getting it. What we are constantly creating is a social television driven by our co-creation model. We are like a YouTube of television.

We have provided a growing platform for content creators to monetise their content with us. So, in essence our viewers are also our partners. It’s driven in a very organic way.

Secondly we are big on Live TV, which allows for instant engagement. And this also helps us to deliver the channel as a utility channel. As much as we have used the live platform to join causes, conversations and more, our clients; banks, churches, leadership events and so onhave also used it effectively.

Thirdly, from inception, we launched with our own App,Poppin by Popcentral, easily the most well-built, functional and useful application, already available on all major app stores. For us, being digital and social is not an appendage, it’s is what we are, it’s our DNA.

We are very experiential, we are definitely the only TVchannel that you can walk into our space and can have a drink at our lounge. We also have our event space incorporated where we hold our parties and other people use it too. So, for us we are growing, exploring and collaborating without borders.