With UbongAbasi Ise
“We know where most of the creativity, the innovation, the stuff that drives productivity lies – in the minds of those closest to the work” – Jack Welch
Entertainment industry, in the context of this discussion, has to do with wide spectrum of activities devoted to entertainment. It is informally known as show business or showbiz. Prince Jude, a popular film editor in Akwa Ibom, describes the Show aspect of it as involving performing arts such as acting, singing, dancing, comedy, playing of instruments etc. while business aspect involves commercial activities such as production, marketing and distribution. In another sense, entertainment industry covers cinema, television, radio, theatre, music, etc.
The outgoing Chairman of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Mr. Sony Ebong told The Sensor correspondent that the industry was established by the collective desire of people who wanted to make out a living for themselves. He added that the industry in Akwa Ibom is a self-made one, and that 100 per cent of movies in the market today are made by individuals or a group of people who came together and draw up resources for movie making, thus Akwa Ibom State today is proudly represented in Nollywood worldwide. He credited the huge success recorded so far to practitioners in sector.
According to Prince Aniekan Edem, the Chairman of Movie/Music Marketers Association of Akwa Ibom State the entertainment industry in Akwa Ibom is a very great one. In his words, “we have been able to lift it from where we met it. Unlike those days when we did not have our own people in the industry, we can now have access to it, and we are able to help in exposing our indigenous artistes as well as showcasing our own culture.”
In the words of Mr. Chidiebere Rafael of Springlight Technologies, Akwa Ibom State is a blessed state filled with talented artistes. The entertainment industry is an emerging one, with the likes of Ini Edo, Ime “Okon-Lagos” Bishop, MC Galaxy, etc. making it vibrant. The exposure given to the sector by creative Akwa Ibomites have placed the industry on a global pedestal. Right now, I can authoritatively say that the industry is more vibrant than how it was a decade ago. The world now pays attention to our culture, our food, our dance-steps, language etc”.
Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Uyo Zone, recently, identified entertainment industry as a key non-oil sector that has not only help in diversifying the economic base of the country but also serve as a key driver of employment opportunities along with its value chain components. To this effect, NEPC organized a one-day Export Interactive Forum for Stakeholders in the creative arts and entertainment industry in Akwa Ibom State on Thursday 9th June, 2016. In the event, there was a lecture by an ICT resource person on the need for the application of information technology in the industry to improve economic performance. Members of the entertainment sector in the state were charged to embrace ICT, in that, it would not only save the cost of distribution but also take the contents to wider base of end-users and also help in controlling the waves of piracy. However, it is against this background that The Sensor attempts to further discuss how Information and Communication Technology can best be applied to enhance the performance of creative art sector in Akwa Ibom State.
ON FUNDAMENTAL CHALLENGES FACING ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
“One major challenge facing the entertainment industry is the problem of funding. If government can complain of fund, how much more the Akwa Ibom State entertainment industry, which is still growing but not to the point of Hollywood in the United States. So industry needs fund from government, from individual, or companies to sponsor them so that they can get to the desired level.
“Associating with this problem is that of lack of very modern equipments. Now there are new digital equipments that can enhance the production and to make the picture very clear. Those things require money” – Edward Ifudu, Chairman, Heritage Digi-Link Int’l, 174 Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo.
“… One of the basic challenges is the problem of money. There is no money in the industry. In fact, that is the ultimate. If there is investment in the industry and active support the industry in Akwa Ibom would have gone a long way. Research has shown that one could hardly have a successful entertainment group in the country from head to toe without an Akwa Ibomite being among, whether in the role of singing, composing song, or playing guitar. This is to say that we have the talent but we don’t have the money, which is the ultimate; everything depends on cash. We don’t have the money to create a robust platform so that we can be able to fly” – Mr. Eti Emana of Peniel Studios
“Some of the problems facing the entertainment industry in Akwa Ibom State include lack of electricity, lack of platforms for the training of artistes, inadequate promotion, gross underfunding, wrong investment attitude of Akwa Ibom people, insincerity on the part of the movie makers/producers, very hostile and expensive hotel accommodation/locations, piracy, zero-entertainment legislation, lack of division of labour and specialization due to underfunding of movies. Stringent entertainment funding from bank of Industry further discourages entertainers from approaching corporate establishment or government for funding or grant.” – Mr. Sony Ebong, Former Chairman, AGN – A’Ibom Chapter
“The major challenge facing the entertainment industry in Akwa Ibom State is inadequate funding/promotion of artistes. Piracy is another challenge, but I prefer to place the former first as nobody will set to pirate your materials if it has not yet gotten the necessary attention. We are yet to fully promote our own. Talented artistes get stranded as investors are not willing to look into the industry, at least for now. Concerning the issue of piracy, it is a general cankerworm that needs to be tackled by both the entertainers and the government.” – Mr. Chidiebere Rafael, Springlight Technologies, 48 Udobio Street, Uyo
“Amongst the challenges facing the entertainment industry, the first one is the problem of piracy. The second has to do with insufficient fund owing to the fact that the industry is private-driven business. We also have the problem of criticism from the home people, the ones we are trying to serve. So they don’t tend to patronize what comes from own industry.” – Prince Aniekan Edem, Chairman, of Movie/Music Marketers Association of Akwa Ibom State/ Chairman Praise Int’l, 1 Udok Street, Uyo
“Working in the field of creative arts in Akwa Ibom requires a tough skin and the music industry is no exception. Even band, label, managers, all are bound to face more than a few bumps on the road” – Helen Stephen E. (a.k.a. Eyen Enwongo Abasi), Gospel Music Artiste
PROSPECTS OF ICT IN AKWA IBOM STATE ENTERTAINMENT SECTOR
In the words of Prince Aniekan Edem, “the ICT is a new thing that we now cherish and welcome. It is now the future of entertainment industry. It is now the future of the world. In those days, there was gramophone, then from there, we now move to the use of tape, later CDs, now, the world is embracing ICT which the future now. I therefore encourage people the entertainers to embrace ICT because it brings wider coverage, wider exposure, and it would enable us to go farther than our dream.” Mr. Chidiebere Raphael also has this to say: “the internet has made life much easier than it was in the 1990s. Akwa Ibom entertainment industry stands a good chance to harvest the numerous benefits of online/digital marketing and promotion. Artistes can commercialize their contents via youtube, facebook even on their own personal websites (if any). Since the internet is a global network, it has played the role of cutting distribution cost, advertisement cost and it has made music, movies, dramas etc to be disseminated in a very fast, efficient and effective manner.
“Artistes and investors stand to gain more with the internet (via digital marketing) than physical distribution/marketing of their contents. How? Because, it is cheaper and more rewarding to place a beautiful song on a youtube channel and still get paid for the number of views you get on that particular song. Major heavy weight in the entertainment industry prefer this method. Take for instance, the likes of Olamide, Davido, & P-Square will place a new video production for their music on the youtube channels first before selling CD’s. This means it pays more with digital marketing.
WHAT ICT EXPERTS IN AKWA IBOM CAN DO FOR ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
“With the use of ICT, there is a sort security that can be enshrined in the CD that would prevent people from copying the content. One can only play the CD, but cannot copy from it because of the security information encoded on the CD. Some people, at times, attempt to crack it with certain software hoping to copy and then pirate it.
“Today, the best way to send films/music across to wider base of end-users is through the use of Internet via social media, online marketing portals, etc. To prevent piracy online, there is what we call encrypting and de-encrypting technique that could be used to prevent online contents from being copied until it finally gets to the right destination.
We at Heritage Digi-Link can also help create online marketing platforms for those in the creative arts sector and manage same at a very affordable price.” – Edward Ifudu, Chairman, Heritage Digi-Link Int’l, 174 Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo.
“Springlight technology is a one stop ICT hub. We profer ICT solutions to corporate and individual bodies. Young and talented artistes in Akwa Ibom State can walk into Uyo office and get their songs, movies/other entertaining contents promoted in a digital way with pocket friendly prices.
We can create and manage your personal websites and give you that much needed promotion to excel in your career.” – Mr. Chidiebere Rafael, Springlight Technologies, 48 Udobio Street, Uyo