By Damilola FatuNmise
Television content provider and CEO, Mursty Productions, Mustapha Suleman Adinoyi aka Mursty, has recalled how the wife of High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Mrs. Tosin Dokpesi inspired him to greatness.
In a chat to commemorate the 12th anniversary of his award-winning TV programme, Hitlist ‘N’ Cruzin, the Kogi-born Mursty also called on the federal government to ensure a seamless transition and sustenance of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) implementation in the country.
According to him, it’s one thing to go digital, it’s another to sustain digitalization. “Digitalization is a welcome development. It’s good for the industry. It’s good because here we’re talking about clear pictures. You know what High Definition means. High Definition means better pictures. Here at Emrose Adinoyi Productions, we’re already digitalized. Our flagship show, Hitlist N Cruzin is 100% digital. When you see it, you’ll believe me that the picture quality of the programme is topnotch. But when we give it to TV stations, because they are still on analogue, the quality will definitely drop. By the time Nigeria is fully digitalized, exactly what we produce in our studio is what you’ll see on TV. So, when we digitalize, the advantages are enormous. But again, we should not just look at the advantages; we should as well consider some other things. When you digitalize Nigerian television stations, some of them might not be able to stay in business. That’s my fear. ”
Recalling the days of small beginnings as an independent producer, Mursty gave thanks to God for taking him thus far and lauded fans of his programme, TV stations and advertisers for believing in him. His words: “I was inspired to go into TV productions by High Chief Raymond Dokpesi’s wife, Mrs. Tosin Dokpesi. Then I was working with AIT. One day in a meeting, she said to us that the future belongs to those who think. And that young production guys like me should come up with great, creative ideas. Also that if we bring up good ideas, her husband will give us free airtime on AIT. After that meeting, I started thinking and I came up with a kitchen programme called, Get Cooking. That was about 16 years ago. When I came up with the programme, they okayed it. But before airing it, I started moving around looking for sponsors. Then I was in Abuja. I went to different companies like Indomie, Coca-cola and others, but most of them directed me to their head office in Lagos.
Mursty continued: “So, I had to move to Lagos. I got a redeployment letter to AIT Lagos office and started marketing. Marketing is good because with sponsorship and advertisement, the station can get something back, and as a producer, one would have something to smile at. It is in the process of marketing that I came up with the idea of Hitlist ‘N’ Cruzin. Starting off, I knew I needed a car to run the programme. And to God be the glory, I got a Cherokee jeep. But I was already out of AIT when I started Hitlist ‘N’ Cruzin. The first station that got interested in Hitlist ’N’ Cruzin was TVC. I didn’t take it to AIT. Hitlist ‘N’ Cruzin started on TVC twelve years ago. TVC was new then and they were hungry for fresh, creative ideas. We partnered with them because paying for airtime was not easy. From there, we started syndicating to other stations like CTV Kogi, Minaj Obosi, NTA Ilorin, WAPTV, Wazobia Max, and AIT. Hitlist ’N’ Cruzin is a 30-minute recorded programme.”
Apart from Hitlist ‘N’ Cruzin, Mursty, who also produces AIT Music+ daily exclusively for AIT, revealed that starting off as an independent producer wasn’t a piece of cake. “It has not been easy. But as the saying goes, nothing good comes easy. One thing I have learnt about life is that there will always be hurdles to cross. One should only try to find out how to cross the hurdles and move on. That’s just the way it is. When I’m working, I create fun with my work. In fact, recording gives me joy. When one is passionate about what one does, you don’t see hurdles. I see every hurdle or challenge as a stepping-stone. We started with two staff 12 years ago, a cameraman, and myself but today we are not less than 20 on the payroll. If I didn’t take that risk 12 years ago, we wouldn’t be here,” he stressed.
Given the present harsh business environment, Mursty advocated a tax holiday for TV stations from the government. “You see, I’m not saying tax-free for cable TV, because it’s a paid TV. There’s a lot of money coming in for paid TV because people subscribe to watch. I’m talking for terrestrial television; some of them cannot even pay salary. And talking of direct impact to the society, it’s terrestrial TV, not pay TV. This is because the pay TV money doesn’t stay in the country, so you need to tax them and get your money. Some of them, their staff are not even Nigerians. But the terrestrial TV staff are Nigerians, and they’re struggling to survive, and you’re taking too much from them again, that means you’re weakening them the more, they’ll have to reduce their staff strength and those they release into the labour market will become part of the unemployed people in the country. So, if we’re actually looking at a better country, policies that we’ll do for Nigeria should be those that will benefit Nigerian companies. When I say tax-free, I don’t mean foreign companies but Nigerian ones.”
Married with kids, Mursty said his happiest moment is when he sees winners on Hitlist ‘N’ Cruzin radiating joy and beaming with smiles. “Sometimes, when you take some winners on cruising, you see the joy on their faces. Some of them even pray for us. And I believe their prayers are working. That’s why we’re waxing stronger, growing from strength to strength.”