Thursday, April 21, 2016 8:02 am
By Funsho Arogundade
Nigeria’s talented actress and producer, Funke Akindele has said that she used the money she got from one of her major endorsement deals to start the production of her hit TV sitcom, Jenifa’s Diary.
Akindele revealed this on Wednesday while speaking as one of the panelists on the topic ‘Economy of Talents Using the Entertainment Industry to Rebuild Nigeria’ at this year’s edition of Nigerian Entertainment Conference tagged NECLive 2016 held at the Landmark Event Centre, Oniru, Lagos.
According to her, it was the earnings from the major brand endorsements that served as the seed money for the production of the series.
“When I was about to start Jenifa’s Diary. I went to a certain agency, which I won’t mention its name. Thinking they will be ready to do business with me because of the brand ‘Jenifa’ which to me was huge. But on meeting them, they asked me for my pilot (episode). I had to go back to shoot six episodes and started to market it all over again before I could get advert for it. Today, the series is huge. It’s on Iroko TV and people already asking for more episodes.”
The actress told her colleagues in the creative industry not to rely totally on government but rather work harder, come together in unison to help each other and the upcoming talents looking into opportunity and career in the entertainment industry.
“We all have talent and we should come together to help ourselves and also help the upcoming ones. Do not wait for the government. When you work hard and you are good at what you do, people will look for you, So keep pushing and do it well. Another point is education, which is important. We need to know everything going on around us and be careful about the contracts you sign,” she advised.
Akindele wrapped her session up with the call for proper structure to be put in place by individual artists.
“I believe structure matters a lot. How many of us celebrities have lawyers, good managers, and (well structured) offices? Do we have websites? How big are we online? How are we impacting on people’s lives? What can they see that we have been giving back to the society? In all, I just want us to work harder and together as a team,” she stressed.
In his opening remark, Ayeni Adekunle, the convener and founder of the NEClive, spoke on the main theme of “Entertainment as last hope for Nigeria’s economy”.
According to the foremost Entertainment Journalist and PR expert, since everyone who should know has admitted, it’s time to look at the non-oil sector if Nigerians are to be taken serious about diversifying their economy.
“We’ve missed at least two opportunities to diversify, in the face of dwindling income from oil. It will be a disaster if we miss this one,” Adekunle warned.
He noted that if Nigeria must look at other means of diversifying the economy, what would be the immediate options?
“The regular suspects are taxation and agriculture. The government already plans to earn N5trillion from taxation in 2016. We’ve seen the power of agriculture from the pre-oil boom era. We’ve seen that, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, the value of agriculture in Nigeria is over $100 billion. This is projected to grow to $256billion by 2030, if that sector is properly harnessed. But where are the figures for entertainment?” the BHM Group CEO asked.
“Is it possible that the private and public sectors are underestimating and ‘unlooking’ an industry that can be a top-three earner in a non-oil economy? Is it possible that the creative and entertainment industry may become the last hope for the Nigerian economy?”
Adekunle then reeled our the statistics about the entertainment industry in Nigeria.
According to him, the Nigerian film industry reportedly grossed over $800 million in 2013; Entertainment and media market in the country is worth $5 billion which makes it the fastest-expanding major market globally. By 2019, the market is expected to be more than twice as big, with estimated total revenue of US$8.1 billion.
In its fourth year, NECLive also had as speakers John Ugbe, Multichoice Nigeria boss; Tonye Ibiama, Grafton Entertainment UK boss; Sonnie Ayere, CEO Dunn Loren Merrifield Group; Olubunmi Oke, COO, 141 Worldwide Nigeria; Wole Oguntokun, Artistic Director, Renegade Theatre; Bolanle Austen-Peters, Managing Director, Terra Kulture; Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs NCC; Igwe Gabosky, movie distribution mogul; Banky W, Timi Dakolo, Falz, Gbenga Adeyinka among others.