Banks explore win-win options in Nigeria’s  entertainment industry

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By YUSUF MOHAMMED

The Nigerian entertainment industry is no doubt a thriving one and like bees follow nectar, several banks are ptrsently latching onto it.

Indeed, entertainment has become big business in Nigeria. In almost every nook and cranny of Lagos, there are fun spots to cater for fun seekers. Everyone wants to be entertained one way or the other after the day’s hustle and bustle. While some people choose to watch movies, others listen to music.

Nigeria is estimated to have a population of over 180 million people. And when it comes to mobile phones, Nigeria remains Africa’s largest mobile market, with about 162 million subscribers and a penetration rate of 84%.

This has helped the entertainment industry as movies and music are now streamed and downloaded online. With this huge population of mobile phone-cladding social media users, it is not surprising that entertainment industry has gotten bigger and bigger.

In the past, foreign music dominated the airwaves on TV and radio stations. In party houses, people preferred to listen to foreign music. That is not the case today as Nigerian music has literally taken over. Not just in Nigeria but almost all over Africa. The Nigeria-originating genre of music called Afro Pop is also being exported to the western world.

Nigerian movies are also doing well in the bigger cinemas these days. On cyber space for instance, it was reported that Nollywood legend Genevieve Nnaji got paid $3.5 million by Netflix to acquire her movie, Lionheart.

The Nigerian Film Industry (Nollywood) is globally recognized as the second largest national filma production hub in the world after India’s Bollywood. The industry is a significant part of the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Sector which contributed 2.3% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016.

Additional data show that the Nigerian entertainment sector witnessed a 25.5 percent growth in the last year. This amounted to $3.8 billion with $605 million of the estimated $764 million rise said to be attributable to internet access, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers Nigeria.

Some Nollywood movies also now compete very favourably with those of their foreign counterparts in most cinemas across the country.

According to Moses Babatope who is the Group Executive Director of Filmhouse Cinemas, the current box office Kings are Merry Men (N230 million), King of Boys (N100 million), The Ghost and the Tout (N80 million), Moms at War (N65 million) and Royal Hibiscus Hotel (N59 million) etc.

Reality TV shows like Big Brother Naija are also a form of entertainment that catch the fancy of notably the Nigerian youth. The associated fashion industry is also doing well with Nigeria churning out models to the rest of the world.

Within this mix, some of the nation’s celebrities have become brand ambassadors due to the following they command in real life and on social media.

Nigerians banks who are also in the business of growing brands and businesses with potential are therefore taking a lot of interest in goings-on in the sector. According to Jide Akanni, a financial expert, “It is a win-win situation for the banks that bankroll entertainment projects. It is big business today. Ignore it at your own peril.”

Bank Of Industry (BOI)

In 2015, in continuation of Bank Of Industry’s support for the Nigerian Creative Industry, BOI developed a special product program called “BOI NollyFun” under which Nigeria’s leading movie producers receive financial support to produce international quality films and screen them through various platforms of movie distribution available both in Nigeria and internationally.

The Bank has already accredited some reputable Distributors (namely: G-Media, Filmone Distribution Company, Silverbird Distribution Compnay and Genesis Deluxe Distribution Company) and several Studio Operators for this purpose.  In particular, the studio operators that were designated were Fans Connect Online Nigeria Limited (i.e. Afrinolly), Kingsley Ogoro Productions Limited and 4Screams International Nigeria Limited.

It would be recalled that the Bank of Industry had in the recent past also financed creative industry projects such as Half of A Yellow Sun and Flower Girl. They were also engaged in the digitization of Silverbird Cinemas, The Filmhous, Viva Cinemas, Ozone Cinemas and G-media.

Heritage Bank

The last Big Brother Naija (Double Wahala) which was held last year in South Africa was sponsored by Heritage Bank. Business Hallmark gathered that sponsorship of big events or popular TV shows creates more awareness for the sponsors.  Big Brother was the biggest entertainment show last year. Many young Nigerians were literally glued to their TV sets and also social media platforms for the duration of the show. Those who did not know of Heritage Bank before the show knew it during the show.

One of these young people, Abimbola Mustapha told Business Hallmark: “I didn’t about Heritage Bank until Big Brother Naija.”

Speaking at the live streaming of the opening session in January 2018, Mr. Fela Ibidapo, Group Head, Corporate Communications of Heritage Bank said, “When the last season (2017) of the reality show was about to start, some of us did know what we were getting into. We are back here again because last year was successful.”

He said Heritage Bank believed in creativity and innovation and expressed appreciation to MultiChoice for the opportunity to be part of the show.

In last year’s edition which was the third season, 20 house mates were invited to the house. The winner, Miracle Ikechukwu was rewarded with N25 million and an SUV worth N20 million. The cheque was presented to him by Heritage Bank.

GTBank

Also last year, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) sponsored a fashion event called GTB Fashion Weekend. Some of the best stylists from all over the world attended the event which lasted from Saturday the 10th to Sunday the 11th of November, 2018. Fashion enthusiasts all over the world were treated to an unparalleled expose of Africa’s finest in fashion at the 3rd edition of the GTBank Fashion Weekend.

The event which was held in Lagos, one of Africa’s largest and most cosmopolitan cities, brought together renowned fashion personalities from around the world and budding small business owners in the local fashion industry to create the biggest fashion experience in Africa.

Last year’s was the third year of the fashion celebration by the bank. Business Hallmark gathered that the GTBank Fashion Weekend has become the premier consumer-focused event that places African fashion on the global stage and helps small businesses in the local fashion industry thrive.

The first and second editions of the event, which held in November 2016 and 2017 respectively, brought together over 250,000 people to interact with some of the best minds in the global fashion space and directly patronise more than 200 indigenous small businesses in the local fashion industry.

The show was free as there was no gate fee. It provided more than 130 small businesses with free stalls to showcase and sell the finest ensemble of apparels and fashion accessories.

Commenting on the 2018 GTBank Fashion Weekend, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Segun Agbaje said “Beyond empowering small businesses with the expertise and networks that they need to thrive, the GTBank Fashion Weekend has become a major event in the social calendars of people across the continent and beyond, and as a bank that is passionate about enriching lives, we will continue to drive initiatives that add value to our communities and deliver amazing experiences for our customers.”

GTBank has gone beyond the traditional understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility as corporate philanthropy by intervening in key economic sectors through non-profit consumer focused fairs and capacity building initiatives for small businesses operating in these sectors.

Speaking with Business Hallmark in a telephone chat, Mr. Idoko Negedu, Head of Corporate Communications GTBank, noted that “the fashion weekend was organized to encourage SMEs. Just like the Food and Drink Festival. So it was more about encouraging entrepreneurship.

“In line with the above, the bank is offering credit facilities. Food credit and Fashion credit. These are interest rate loans given at the rate of 9%. “

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