I am not a believer in awards. Perhaps, I am of the school of thought that believes that winning an award is not a testament of who you are or what you can achieve.
However, when at the recently concluded Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA), the organisers bestowed on veteran television producer, Peter Igho the prestigious Industry Merit Award, I started having second thoughts about awards. Reason: the award given to Igho, who is best known for his achievements in the promotion of local content while at Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), was well-deserved.
Igho has produced and directed classics like Cockcrow at Dawn, Village Headmaster, and Samanja among others. These are television programmes that Nigerians born in the ‘60s and ‘70s could relate to. But in the ‘90s, there was a shift among television audience, as they became more interested in watching foreign content. But this was short-lived because the love for foreign programmes seemed to have disappeared immediately Africa Magic came on board with its indigenous content in 2003.
Today, Africa Magic, which started with just one channel, has over seven channels on the DStv and GOtv platforms including Africa Magic Yoruba (Channel 157), Africa Magic Igbo (Channel 159) and Africa Magic Hausa (Channel 156).
However, besides having many channels on the DStv and GOtv platforms, Africa Magic is committed to the production of home-grown television content. Some of its local productions include Doctors Quarters, Edge of Paradise, Hotel Majestic, Hush, Battleground, Do Good, Jemeji, Forbidden, Eve, The Johnsons, Ajoche, Flatmates, The Mercy and Ike Show, Judging Matters, Tinsel, nation’s longest-running soap opera and Big Brother Naija, the biggest reality show in sub-Sahara Africa, among others.
These wholesome family content have not only brought laughter, tears, joy, anger, and entertainment to our homes, they have also created employment opportunities for young Nigerians in the supply chain of television production.
According to statistics, the cost of producing a local content like Tinsel is higher than that of acquiring a foreign programme of its kind. A report compiled by Accenture, a global management consulting firm, reveals that Africa Magic, through its parent company, MultiChoice Nigeria, has invested over N32.6 billion in the nation’s creative industry from 2015 to 2019. Africa Magic has equally logged over 177.459 hours of content and spent over N47.3 billion in acquiring content and production infrastructure. Also, it has created over 9,955 jobs within the creative industry. This is highly commendable!
Also worthy of mention is Africa Magic’s multi-million dollar state-of-the-art multi-purpose studio erected in Lagos, where local programmes such as Tinsel and Big Brother Naija are produced. In addition to the huge investment that Africa Magic has made to promote local television content in Nigeria, it has also used its platform as a vehicle for the promotion of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage across the continent.
With the support of Africa Magic, the creative industry in Nigeria has cultivated a massive African audience. For instance, in countries like Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and even South Africa, some nationals can be heard speaking pidgin English, a street lingo that is synonymous with Nigerians.
Take it or leave it, Africa Magic holds up a candle to future generation of Nigerians who are eager to find a pathway to success in the creative industry. This set of people have fully supported the training programme for young creative talent at the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), which provides participants with practical skills and training they would find useful in the industry.
To make a more positive impact in the global market, stakeholders in the creative industry need more collaboration with Africa Magic, as the platform is committed to building the industry into a global brand.