On Sunday, April 25, 2021, ID Africa, the organisers of the Nigerian Entertainment Conference (NECLive), Nigeria’s largest gathering of entertainment professionals, held the eighth edition of the conference.
It is the first instalment since the COVID-19 imposed hiatus in 2020. The conference was first held in 2013.
Themed ‘Building the Future’, NECLive8 explored actionable steps and solutions proffered by some of Nigeria’s most brilliant professionals and accomplished entertainment industry stakeholders.
The line-up of speakers included Founder, Future Africa, Iyin Aboyeji; Nollywood superstar, Dakore Egbuson-Akande; entrepreneur and founder, Temple Management Company, Idris Olorunnimbe; accomplished entertainers, Basketmouth and Bovi; Big Cabal CEO, Tomiwa Aladekomo; and 2019 Big Brother Naija winner and businesswoman, Mercy Eke. The conference was hosted by media personality and producer, Bolanle Olukanni.
The conference began with the broadcast of the NECLive TV special, a scripted 90-minute production, featuring a seven-year chronicle of the most powerful speakers and memorable moments from the NECLive stage.
The special was followed by an intense two-hour conference where the speakers shared detailed insights into various opportunities that can be exploited by the Nigerian entertainment industry, the infrastructure that would be required to build the industry and how young creative Nigerians can play an intrinsic role in that future.
At its core, the conference addresses issues that plague and limit the actual output of creatives in the entertainment industry. Each year, it assembles the largest number of industry professionals to seek answers leveraging their experiences to solve industry problems.
“Nigeria’s entertainment industry is full of energetic, enterprising and creative young people who are often the direct victims of poor governance, lack of opportunities and social injustice. They have also recently emerged as the leaders of a new national movement and drivers of an ongoing conversation about the future of our country. Our goal with NECLive8 is to provide the tools, resources and connections that will further drive the change and innovation that the industry is yearning for,” Femi Falodun, CEO, ID Africa mentioned.
Aboyeji, who spoke on the subject “Building Ventures in African Entertainment”, was bullish about the prospects of collaborations between tech and entertainment. In his words, “We speak the same language because our businesses are all coming from natural creativity and human capital. We are not oil barons, we are not government entrepreneurs, we are pure talents in our world, so, I think there is more we can do together…I am super excited. We have all had a big year: tech, unicorns, Burna, Wizkid. It is a good time to celebrate the progress, and then [also] bring in the next generation.”
On his part, Bovi noted that technology was having an increasing influence on the Nigerian entertainment industry, and said influence played out during last year’s lockdown. According to him, “[Technology] has influenced it [the entertainment industry] a great deal. Even before the lockdown, that was the order of the day. Young people have started to explore all of these opportunities using apps like Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube. It was a blessing in disguise because keeping people at home can be depressing. Now that everyone had to be indoors, there was a plethora of content. And it helps entertainers, comedians especially, to reach out to a wider audience.”
Big Brother Naija winner, Mercy Eke, in a very emotional panel session, stressed the need for young Nigerians who seek fame to emphasise value in trying to build a fan base.
“When it comes to relating with fans, you need to have a product, something of value before you can think of building a fan base”, said Eke. “It’s a give-and-take situation. A lot of people just want to be famous, but they don’t have any direction. Leveraging on fans is providing them something they can work with.”
Veteran Nollywood actress, Dakore Egbuson-Akande, urged young creatives to think outside the box as they try to leverage social media to tell their stories.
“I want to encourage young creatives; it’s a very competitive industry, but you’re also coming in at a great time”, she said. “Young creatives have YouTube and social media, we didn’t have all that back in the day. They have channels, they have variety, it’s a lot easier now. Think about the broader picture. Let’s show the biggest facets of ourselves. Let’s be open-minded.”
CEO of Temple Management Company, Idris Olorunnimbe, appealed to young artists to embrace their local audience as they tried to carve a niche for themselves.
“It is okay for an artist to be a local champion”, Olorunnimbe explained. “In fact, that is where you must start from. If the people in your vicinity cannot value you and get behind your craft, maybe you should stay in school or go and learn a trade. The energy that those guys give you is very important to you achieving that global status that we all seek.”
NECLive8 is organised by ID Africa in partnership with Huce Valeris, AV Edge, 7even Interactive, HipTV, Megalectrics, EDS, Big Cabal Media, Livespot, and BHM, with sponsorship support from Nigerian Breweries and MultiChoice.
For over 7 years, NECLive has attracted more than 12,000 physical participants and 20 million viewers and audiences on television and digital. Nigerian Entertainment Conference (often stylized as NECLive), with the hashtag #NECLive is an umbrella conference for the entertainment industry in Nigeria, which continually discusses the trajectory of the sector and shapes the discourse and practices surrounding it.
#NECLive is the marketplace for innovative ideas, products, the unveiling of dynamic solutions that will connect, engage and encourage industry collaborations for sustainable socio-economic development; while offering a brighter future on the continent.
To catch up on all the action, excitement, and major talking points from NECLive8, click here.