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Okiki heralds new dawn in anti-piracy war in music, movie industry




THE fight against piracy in the film and music subsectors of Nigeria’s entertainment industry received a boost last weekend with the launch of Okiki, a newly designed cutting-edge, streaming technology platform in Lagos.

Already, industry leaders are hailing the launch as a major breakthrough and a new dawn in the anti-piracy war that seemed to have defied all efforts to tame it.

A video clip shown shortly before the formal launch of Okiki platform told the story of woe of entertainers who continued to suffer huge financial losses and were the verge of closing shop.

In the clip, some top practitioners in the film industry who had staged anti-piracy rallies took turns to lament how piracy had remained the singular most potent hindrance to the growth of Nollywood and, indeed, the entire entertainment industry.

Popular actor Jide Kosoko caused a stir when he suggested that piracy had ‘buried Nollywood practitioners,’ on account of its menace. He also remarked bitterly: “Piracy has already killed us.” Piracy and distribution remain challenges to filmmakers.

Film and music piracy in Nigeria has remained high. Recent studies conducted by the African Bureau of Statistics estimates that there is a nine to one ratio of pirated legitimate copies of films sold.

For so long practitioners have been working on finding solution to combating the nefarious activities of pirates without luck. But with Okiki, there seems to be hope on the horizon in this direction for Nigeria’s entertainment practitioners.

Two brothers and lead partners of Cambridge-based AfrisoulsTec Limited Messr. Femi and Dayo Dada have developed a platform—a movie streaming application that would combat the menace of pirates and invariably guarantee return on investment for movie and music practitioners.

Launched with fanfare at the weekend in Lagos, Okiki will, in addition to streaming Nollywood movies, connect Nollywood filmmakers, stars and fans alike, using a unique, slickly designed digital interface.

While explaining the product feature at the launch chaired by Sonny Odogwu among several dignitaries, including President, Association of Movie Producers (AMP) Zik Zulu Okafor and Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Tourism Mrs. A.O Balogun who represented Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Dada said that the application “comes with a live video streaming and a live broadcast-cum-social interaction mobile device to mobile device feature via a web real-time engine.

According to him, the product also comes with ‘studio video upload front end application with upload application’ while studios can also keep track of movie performance on the platform and from where revenue is coming.

He stated: “The difference between Okiki and the other platforms is that our application is secure. If you attempt to pirate a work that we have uploaded, your device will shut down. We have an inbuilt mechanism that protects the works.

So filmmakers can place their works on our platform and be rest assured that no one can have access to it except the consumer who has paid to see the content on his or her mobile device.

Once you connect a cable to the mobile device to download, your device will shut down. Also the difference between this and others is the live broadcast and social interaction feature make it possible for fans to interact with their favourite movie stars either on or off location. “For example, you can chat with a top actor like Desmond Elliot whenever and wherever,” Dada said.

He also disclosed that the application would be available ‘as from the week of August 10, 2015 for free’ and that the films that would be available on the platform could be seen for free, but only for now, adding: “It is an introductory deal.

They will start paying for new works soon,” he declared. Speaker after the speaker at the launch commended Femi and Dayo for the initiative. Odogwu described it as a laudable innovation, adding: “It is historic in many respects.

I’m drawn to it because it is designed primarily to combat the nefarious activities of pirates and it is designed to reduce and ultimately eliminate piracy from Nollywood industry.”

Odogwu also observed that although Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) was waging a serious war against piracy, the effort of the commission “is like a drop of water”. He, therefore, commended the bold efforts of the duo to help tame the scourge.

He expressed happiness that Okiki would eventually kick out piracy from the entertainment industry. He added: “The Okiki venture must be praised and it deserves the co-operation of government, the private sector and Nollywood industry.

I salute the creative sense of the founders and when next we gather, we shall listen to how the nefarious activities of the pirates have been put to rest.” Ambode said that the platform was a historic moment for Nollywood, considering that the situation with piracy in the entire creative industry had assumed an alarming proportion.

He pledged the support of the state government for the Okiki venture and any venture that would enable creativity to thrive in the state. There were good will messages from the Association of Yoruba Movie Distributors, the royal father of the day Kabiyesi Adetunji Akinloye and from AMP President Okafor.

Okafor remarked that practitioners in Nollywood were excited because, “finally there is a solution for piracy and for Nollywood practitioners to earn more money beyond today”.

In his words: “There is hope of a new dawn with Okiki. For a long while, making film in Nollywood is like a long walk through Golgotha. The issue of piracy is getting critical, and right now, it is getting worse than it ever was.

Films produced with millions of dollars go down the drain. That is why it is historic for me because Okiki is a platform for Nollywood. It will not only enable our fans to see Nollywood films around the world, but through this platform we will also be putting monies in our pockets as filmmakers.

So it is one massive platform.” On why he thinks Okiki is different from other streaming platforms, Okafor stated: “I know that streaming has become the vogue for many, but Okiki is different because there is live broadcast where you can connect with your favourite stars. That is magnificent and we have not seen it anywhere.

The other thing is that you can earn money as long as you live or as long as the film is on Okiki platform. And you will be able to monitor and track your revenue. So I think it is a massive platform. There is hope of a new dawn with Okiki.”

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