THE NIGERIAN ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS: ‘Professionalize the Hustle’ – PART 1

THE NIGERIAN ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS: ‘Professionalize the Hustle’ – PART 1

It is widely accepted that the only way a business can grow is for it to invest in itself, with said investment is usually in form of cash although it can also be in the form of intellectual property, real estate, technical know-how, human resources, customer lists or other contributions. Investment (funds) can be sourced internally from the profits of a company (ideally), or, as is more often than not the case, from external sources such as private investors and/or financial institutions.

An entertainment business is no different in this regard; be it a music company, film Production Company, broadcaster, publisher, cinema chain, theatre Company or any other business within the entertainment value chain. Some rules are timeless and universal.

 

Unfortunately, as it stands a major challenge in the Nigerian entertainment sector is the lack of verifiable data at the micro level; namely, with respect to the performance and value of individual, or groups of, businesses within the industry and by extension the sector as a whole. Of course even in advanced economies statistics are never exact and are generally based on extrapolative methods and techniques, meaning conclusions are based on a sample of data to which a number of rebuttable assumptions/principles are applied; however in such economies said extrapolations are at least formulated to some extent from accurate, independently confirmed business and market data.

SHOW AND PROVE

Businesses can only attract investment if they show their value and/or prove their past performance; by way of presenting evidence of their previous track record and evidence of their assets and liabilities in the form of annual accounts and balance sheets. Said proof, present along with a realistic strategy or proposal as to the likely effect of additional capital being injected into the said business, forms the primary basis upon which investors can be persuaded to part with their money.

The irony is that the said information, which includes the (true) turnover, expenditures, profits, losses, assets, liabilities and other key indicators that together form a medical report of a business’ health are, under the laws of the country, obligatory for all businesses to file with the corporate regulator.

All Nigerian companies are mandated annually to file returns with the Corporate Affairs Commission and tax returns with the relevant Inland Revenue service. Such filings are the first port of call for any auditors that may be engaged to prepare an audit or review, with the contents of said filings being compared with the internal books of account of the business in question.

Investors only invest in businesses that have proven that the economics of their operations are sound. Such proof must necessarily be in the form of the audited filings of the business and corroborating documentation to support same.

Businesses need to begin to focus their attention on the book-keeping, administrative, and compliance aspects of their operations; and given the general lack of experience of business owners with best practices it is important that the services of suitably experienced professionals that understand the mechanics of the business are engaged.  The right professionals can assist entertainment businesses to improve their business-practices, governance, regulatory compliance, record-keeping, as well as in marketing and sales.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Lawyers

Traditionally lawyers are viewed in Nigeria almost as theorists in law that argue over semantics amongst themselves, with a judge being viewed as ‘one of them’. However, a new breed of modern attorney in Nigeria with strong business acumen and commercial awareness are increasingly leaving the court rooms to actively assist their clients in developing their businesses whilst still fulfilling their core duties of providing professional legal advice and services as and when required.

Attorneys with additional qualifications and/or experience in business, finance, economics and especially the creative industries has spawned a new breed of lawyers forging a modern and technology driven kind of legal practice.

Lawyers must have in depth knowledge about, and experience in, the industries, economy, and political climate within which their respective clients operate. The law is fluid and is ever changing, being reviewed and refined both statutorily through primary and subsidiary legislation, and judicially through court decisions and rulings.

Additionally, the modern commercial and corporate lawyer understands the mechanics of commercial enterprise, the state of the markets, competitors, and most importantly where new opportunities can be exploited or existing opportunities maximised. The contracts and transactional arrangements made in the entertainment business can be quite numerous and often complex. Knowing what the value of a song, album, movie, television show, logo, appearance or likeness and other intangible property can be worth and how the different rights attached to said property can be negotiated and agreed upon is a major point of added value of the modern attorney in the entertainment business.

Furthermore, an attorney is well versed in how businesses operate, and more importantly how it can be structured and managed to achieve more productivity and efficiency through the hiring of the appropriate personnel, additional training to business development staff and executives, negotiating more favourable terms/less onerous obligations in commercial transactions, refining operating practices and procedures, identifying cost savings and efficiency-gain opportunities based around the legal and regulatory framework.

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Fawehinmi Oyinkansola Esq.

Fawehinmi Oyinkansola aka The FozaDoza is synonymous to energy and passion. With keen interest in the entertainment and legal industrIes, Foza has been able to create a niche in both industries for herself. She obtained her LL.B and a Diploma in Security studies from the prestigious Babcock University Ilisan Remo, Ogun State. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2014.

She started out in the entertainment industry as Business manager for a school group called Pro Inc which became the favourite go to hip hop group in school. This spurred her passion for talent management and she has worked as a road manager at Monarc Talent Agency (an affiliate of Aristokrat Records), G- WorldWide Entertainment as business manager and currently is the General Manager at a 360 management company (Incubation Factory).

Her clientele spans across the music, film and telecommunications industries where she has effectively brokered license, distribution and endorsement deals. She has an impressive personal and professional relationships with all her clients which ensures she creates a comfortable working relationship. She leads the music and film divisions of the firm.

Foza is a vocal and passionate change agent, a non conformist and an adventurous risk taker. These traits have made her a known face as well as speaker on the most prestigious entertainment conferences stage. She strongly believes in integrity and is driven by family and legacy building. She has received numerous awards in relations to leadership and social activities.

Foza enjoys her live band music sessions, and a gathering of talented artiste anytime. She is the life of every party and has an excellent social skill.

Olumide Mustapha Esq.

Olumide Mustapha is a technology and entertainment attorney both in Nigeria and the UK. As an undergraduate he was a student of Sociology and economics at the University of Reading in the UK before embarking on his legal career by first qualifying – with Distinction – as a Solicitor from the College of Law UK, (and then practising for a period), with a particular focus on International Commercial Law,
Tax and Intellectual Property. Having been also called to the Nigerian Bar with Honours Olumide has since continued to focus on the areas of media, entertainment and technology law.

Olumide, in applying his vast legal and business knowledge in these sectors, has successfully initiated, negotiated and pushed through numerous transactions to the commercial benefit of clients. He has advised two of the “Big Three” global music labels on their planned entry into, and commercial strategy for, the Nigerian market; negotiated significant licensing agreements with a number of major Nollywood production houses and advertising agencies on behalf of a major music publishing company; consulted for one of the country’s biggest copyright collective management organisations; and worked with numerous technology start-ups in securing funding and scaling their businesses. Olumide is also the Chair of the Music Publishers Association of Nigeria.

On the back of such experience Olumide has also built over time a formidable network of contacts that allows his clients to enjoy a full suite of legal and business advisory services that include the ability to source funds, conveniently acquire/produce/licence valuable content, in addition to ensuring specialised due
diligence is carried out on all transactions and that good governance is practiced at all times; all with a keen understanding of the relevant market dynamics and client’s specific commercial objectives. Moreover, he has significant experience in litigation and has a lot of expertise in utilising the Nigerian court system to ensure client’s rights are protected and enforced at all times.

Never being one to shy away from sharing his professional thoughts, opinions, and analyses, Olumide is regularly featured in various media to provide his views and analysis on the legal and business issues surrounding the Nigerian entertainment and technology industries. Such media outlets include Channels TV, TVC, NigeriaInfo FM, Business Day, The Guardian, Techpoint Africa, and the African
Venture Capital Newsletter amongst others.

Olumide’s aim is to use his years of experience and expertise in international commercial and intellectual property law related matters, and strong network of contacts – both foreign and domestic – to contribute to the legal development of Nigerian enterprise structures and governance, and general business practice; thereby pushing the country closer towards fulfilling its socio-economic potential.

Iredumare Ojengbede Opeyemi

A graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University Nigeria (LLB) and University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (LLM) is a legal practitioner in Nigeria with over six years of experience in intellectual property, telecommunication and cyberspace Law.

He is a cyberspace, media and entertainment researcher with keen interest in Music, Film and Television, digital rights and personal data protection, intellectual property protection, creative financing, Media Advocacy and information literacy on the digital space. A cultured, informed and disciplined legal practitioner, who prides himself as a strategic solution executor, an expert in identifying root challenges and creating specific market/territory based solutions to cyberspace and digital challenges. He is always constantly seeking growth opportunities and self-improvement initiatives as a team player working in and for goal-oriented organizations.

Iredumare has spent the last two years facilitating multimillion naira deals for his clients across catalog licensing, catalog acquisition, intellectual property estate valuation as well as developing music business models for various value chain members in the African creative industry. Iredumare enjoys reading and having solution driven conversations with like minds.