“In Africa, the convergence of content, culture and technology will provide the present and future roadmap for the strategic development of several industries… one of the most important will be the media and entertainment industries” – Obi Asika, Chairman and CEO Storm360
VENTURES AFRICA – Having worked in Banking, Oil and Gas, Procurement and in Business Support Services sectors, Obi Asika, CEO of Storm360, a Nigerian entertainment company with interests in “television, music, film, new media or experiential formats”, presently has a firm grip on the entertainment sector and its continual, vertical push. In Mr Asika’s words, “I am interested in companies who are interested in Nigeria, there are significant obstacles but in essence this translates to significant opportunities, there are few places in the world where the spirit of entrepreneurship is as alive as here in Nigeria.”
VENTURES AFRICA caught up with this Nigerian entertainment mogul and he had this to say:
Do you expect the mobile platform to have a profound effect on the African music business in the coming year? What are some of the impact you foresee and what should key players in the entertainment industry put in place?
Obi: Mobile is already having a huge impact and i believe the advent of more platforms will mean more opportunity for talents, labels, managers, investors, we are seeing a digital marketplace evolve and in Nigeria the consumption level is approaching a U$D100m per annum across all the operators with MTN being in the lead by some distance. Therefore the answer is yes and the issue that confronts us is to negotiate a more equitable revenue share between the MNO’s and the content providers.
Do you think audio and video services on the mobile platform would be of more advantage of the players in the entertainment sector? How acceptable and successful do you think it would be in the society?
Obi: This is all about access and opportunity, as the last mile connections and investments from the likes of MTN and the arrival of more submarine cables (WACS) to complement Main one and Glo One, what this should lead to is more options for providers, a situation which would trickle down to the man on the street in terms of speed of connectivity and access. The mobile is already accepted and is already the primary or first screen for young Africans so with potentially 1 billion phones in the hands of Africans over the coming years then the opportunity is exponential.
Share some insight on the brand Storm360: with all the current innovations, what is its place in the entertainment sector?
Obi: We have always been pioneers, from music to fashion, from digital to live events, from marketing to youth markets, Storm has always been an innovative brand, our core lies in the aspirations of our urban massive, with a youthful outlook on life and our demographic we hope to create more brands for them, at this time we are working hard to maintain our relevance and to be part of the next push which is for monetisation of the content we are all creating.
What are some of the challenges of operating in the entertainment sector? Any strategies adopted?
Obi: The creative industries in Nigeria are very well regulated, however we are having to wake up to the issues of IP and copyright, the operating environment is a challenge for all parties and we all know that, we hope that more risk capital will flow to content and tech companies locally as that is a key driver needed to further push the community. I work across all the various spaces from education to tech, from sports to music and TV, and in my experience the law is not the issue, it’s the interpretation, knowledge, respect and implementation which is.
Are the latest innovations in technology giving more control/access to materials to the consumers at the expense of labels?
Obi: Everywhere in the world the power lies with the consumer and with the user experience, I believe everyone knows that and we are not a label, we are a 360 entertainment company and agency which happens to have a very strong music brand.
What is Storm360′s attitude towards these developments? What’s the Storm360′s tech-culture like? Are you incorporating these into your strategy?
Obi: We are official Google/youtube partners, we are amongst the pioneers to embrace social media and tech. Iin terms of all of these we use it for everything and will deploy new content on new platforms constantly.
Tell us about your growth Strategy. How is Storm360 building its African appeal/Global growth?
Obi: We continue to push, over the past 5 years TV shows we made such as Big Brother Nigeria, The Apprentice Africa, Glo Naija Sings, Dragons Den Nigeria, Vodafone Icons Ghana and more have been viewed in over 50 countries, we have been privileged to work in several markets and our content especially the music has travelled globally to something like over 100 countries. In essence now our focus is to monetize already produced content and to create new content for the market place which will enable us to deliver in new ways.
Obi Asika was one of the key speakers at the just concluded Mobile Web West Africa 2012 Conference.