10 years after Nigeria’s media entrepreneur, Prince Nduka Obaigbena sowed the seed for an international media platform -Arise Television, the brand appears to have redefined news consumption and successfully created a stronger platform for Africa advertisers to leverage on. Raheem Akingbolu reports
Like a phoenix from the ashes, Arise Television suddenly became a sensation and toast of all during the #EndSARS imbroglio in 2021. For the dexterity and daring stance of the Arise TV crew, who were on the field at the peak of the protest against police brutality, the brand warmed itself into the heart of television viewers.
Perhaps the icing on the cake was the live stream of the broadcast from the scene of the Lekki Toll Gate Shootings and many other protest grounds, which aired on various platforms like DStv channel 416, YouTube, Twitter, and the Arise TV website. This was happening at a crucial time when Nigerians desired trusted news sources, considering that a lot of information — both genuine and questionable — have been making the rounds on social media and on traditional news outlets.
It was not long before social media went awash with many influencers endorsing the station as the star station of the resistance of young Nigerians who wanted a positive change for the country. Arise Television thus earned a Super brand status from this protest. But for its outstanding performance in reporting the protest, perhaps many viewers, who had earlier regarded the brand as too elitist, wouldn’t have known the stuff it was made of.
Since then, Arise Television has been a top of the mind brand, with many analysts and observers viewing it as the only television station in Nigeria with an international template. To this end, top corporate brands that were used to struggling for advertising exposures in CNN and BBC started looking inward to place their ad on Arise Television.
Then came a few months ago. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had just lifted a ban on political campaigning for the 2023 elections. Political analysts were moving from one television station to the other to set an agenda for the players on the field. Spokespersons of various presidential candidates and political parties were also on the prowl to sell their candidates. Again, the Arise brand suddenly became a game changer.
According to the President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Mr. Steve Babaeko, the station’s approach to political discourse has continued to stand out since the build up to the election started.
He said, “In a country where political journalism has almost been reduced to throwing of soft ball questions and massaging the ego of politicians, Arise TV anchors changed the game by asking tough follow-up questions and holding the legs of government officials and political candidates to the fire. This has of course endeared them to the public and also created a sizable population of critics. I believe the team should be proud of the job done so far and I hope they keep up the good work,”
Looking at the brand from the point of view of a stakeholder in the advertising industry, Babaeko admitted that the Arise brand is a good option for media planners to have in their bouquet of channels. “The demographic skew of the channel becomes a good opportunity for brands to have a meaningful relationship and grow brand equity,” he stated.
However, the irony of it all is that many Nigerians assume that Arise TV is a young brand. This was so because it did not have it rosy in the past. Arise TV, which is owned by Nduka Obaigbena (Publisher of THISDAY Newspaper) started operations in 2013 with a determination to give Africa a voice in the likes of Cable News Network (CNN) and Al Jazeera.
Arise TV came as another media venture, when many thought Obaigbena had had his hands full, having successfully nurtured THISDAY Newspaper Group and the Lifestyle Magazine Arise.
At the beginning, Obaigbena had drawn up a plan and feasibility study for a global African TV channel, to validate what he had already known. He saw the ‘need’ for an African TV channel and he pursued the dream even when many saw it as a tall dream. The media guru believed the only way to change the African narrative was for Africans themselves to write their stories and he stood his ground to establish a global television brand that would sell Africa to the world.
Just like every new startup in this part, the business struggled to gain traction and faced severe revenue challenges. The challenges did not last as Nigerian businesses began to patronise Arise TV by giving the then struggling TV company TV commercial patronage.
That appeared like the breakthrough the TV brand had been waiting for because since then, it has continued to wax stronger, in attracting quality hands, who churn out daily innovative ideas, to enhance quality operation. At 10 and with the way the brand is breaking new grounds, it could be apt to conclude that ‘the journey has just started’.