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Osinbajo, Mo Abudu in Los Angeles, seek investment for creative industry

By Chuks Nwanne
14 July 2018   |   4:15 am
EbonyLife TV CEO Mo Abudu has facilitated a closed-door meeting between the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and senior executives from Sony Pictures Television (SPT).

Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Sylvanus Nsofor; Executive Vice President Distribution (Sony), Mike Wald; Vice President, Pro. Yemi Osinbajo and Keith Le Goy – Preside.

EbonyLife TV CEO Mo Abudu has facilitated a closed-door meeting between the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and senior executives from Sony Pictures Television (SPT). Though the discussion remains highly confidential, it is believed that talks revolved around assisting the Nigerian film & TV industry to improve its content and gain access to the international market.

The process began when Mo Abudu was invited to join the Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity, chaired Professor Osinbajo. Working closely with Feyi Aina, SA Communication and Edirin Akemu of the Industrial Council Secretariat, Mo helped to organise a meet & greet with stakeholders in Hollywood, as part of the Investment Summit initiated by His Excellency. Its main purpose was to expose the pioneering spirit and innovation of Nigerians to global leaders in the creativity sector.

At the event, the EbonyLife CEO delivered a keynote address that highlighted the EbonyLife story and showed how the media group was embracing the challenges the creative sector faces and using them to create opportunities for growth. One example was the recent launch of EbonyLife ON, its global video-on-demand service, which is exploiting the demand for high-quality African content, both in the diaspora and at home, and giving subscribers access for a fraction of the cost of satellite television.

Afterwards, the Vice-President met with Sony Pictures Television executives, including Keith Le Goy, President Worldwide Television Distribution & Networks and Mike Wald, Executive Vice-President, Distribution. Just four months before, SPT had announced an exclusive three-project deal with EbonyLife TV, the first such agreement between a major Hollywood player and an African production house.

Osinbajo declared that he was pleased about the partnership between Sony Pictures Television and EbonyLife, because it signalled true opportunity for the rest of the industry. He welcomed Sony to Nigeria, imploring them to work with Nigerian producers on the creation of local content, TV channels and distribution platforms. He also discussed the visa on arrival opportunity, pioneer status tax breaks and other advantages of doing business in Nigeria.

According to Mo Abudu, further progress is being made, adding, “We are proud of the part we played in making this unprecedented meeting, between the Vice-President and Sony, possible. I was pleased to help spearhead the visit to Hollywood to meet with potential investors and to invite them into our creative sector to fast track our growth. We are optimistic about the possibilities,” she said.

At an earlier open forum, the Vice-President was joined by the Economic Adviser to the President, Dr Yemi Dipeolu; Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Sylvanus Nsofor; Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr Segun Awolowo; Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mr Folorunsho Coker; President of Africa 2.0, Nikkole Charlene Wilkerson; Kevin Parker, talent manager at Artist First; Tamara Houston, founder of Icon Mann, organisers of the Oscars and Emmy awards events; Chike Chukudebelu, Vice-President, NBC Development; Amber Rasberry, VP, Production & Development, Global Road (film and TV); and executives from Cannon Group.

The Nigerian media and entertainment industry was out in force for this important rendezvous with their Hollywood counterparts. Leading personalities included Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, CEO, Nigerian Film Corporation; Toyin Adeniji, Director, Bank of Industry; Moses Babatope, MD, FilmOne; Tuface Idibia, artiste and producer; Chike Nwoffiah, Festival Director, Silicon Valley African Film Festival; Audu Maikori, Group CEO, Chocolate City Entertainment; Bolanle Austin-Peters, CEO, BAP Productions and others.