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Inside Group 8, Adepetu’s media expansion across Africa

By Sunday Aikulola
14 November 2021   |   2:30 am
A long list of media companies entered the Nigerian market back in the 90s, but Consolidated Media Associates (CMA), the parent company of SoundCity Radio and television ....

A long list of media companies entered the Nigerian market back in the 90s, but Consolidated Media Associates (CMA), the parent company of SoundCity Radio and television has been intentionally private and stealthily thriving.

Now, emerging from the shadows by way of consolidation and rebranding as Group 8, its founder and CEO Tajuddeen Adepetu, has revealed some of the company’s latest moves: making a play to build Africa’s biggest Lifestyle and mediatech company.

In setting this new stage far from any modest ambition, Adepetu is relying on over three decades of building several renowned household media brands. A prominent hallmark of his accomplishments so far will easily be the heights that SoundCity Radio, TV and Music Awards have attained across the African continent.

However, his array of media assets that currently includes, in total, 12 television channels, six terrestrial radio, six digital radio, and 12 experiential platforms. Adepetu has built what analysts have described by many as one of the largest media networks in Africa.

“From the get-go, we never really considered our business to be a local entity. Our focus and our outlook have always been set on continental and global expansion,” says Adepetu. “With Group 8, we are consolidating our journey over the last thirty years, to propel us into the next decade and beyond.”

By “consolidation”, Adepetu is simplifying his processes restructuring and rebranding Consolidated Media Associates as Group 8, a new identity under which all existing and new media assets and entities will sit.

Adepetu and his team have certainly been busy, even if they don’t say it much. Since 2020, he has been building Group 8, firing on all cylinders. From teasing out a new vertical called Access 24 to hushed plans to disrupt gaming and digital media across the continent, these moves are helping Adepetu build beyond its staple brands like SoundCity, Spice TV and Urban Radio.

“In November 2021,” Adepetu reveals, “We will unveil a new radio-on-demand station called Access 24. It is part of a 360 media vertical that will consist of a TV Station, Digital Media and more as part of the Access 24 bouquet.”

With Access 24, that has been in pre-launch phase since early 2020, Adepetu hopes to “bring talk back to radio,”while developing engaging content across other formats.

“The beauty of Access 24 is talk. Music is great, and will feature moderately on the station, but news and talk will be predominant,” says Adepetu, whose first love, he confesses, was radio. This passion for radio he has emphasised by establishing thriving radio stations in Kenya and South Africa, and one in Ghana that is temporarily off-air to resume operations shortly.

Inside Group 8, Tajuddeen Adepetu’s massive expansion across Africa is all encompassing. Building a media empire beyond the shores of Nigeria is going to take more than talk radio, and Adepetu is fully aware of this. Research and experts predict a future in media that is largely driven by digital technology and even artificial intelligence.

While Adepetu’s Group 8 has done an impressive job so far, the next hurdle will be even more demanding, but the astute Media CEO holds his composure while describing other endeavours he and his team have been hard at work with over the last few years.

“Group 8 is more than just radio, even though that was the bedrock upon which we’ve grown all these years. But the future,” says Adepetu “is really about audience retention in the spaces and formats that they gravitate to, which right now is largely digital.”

Going by a report from Statista that consumers around the world spend an average of 463 minutes or over 7.5 hours per day with digital media, Adepetu may be right to be considering digital content strategy and development very strongly for this next phase of his business journey.

He has hinted, as part of Group 8’s expansion, that they are building a digital ecosystem that goes beyond audio (Radio) and video (TV) content, but extends also to gaming and virtual reality. These new extensions set Group 8 up to become much more than a media production company, but a lifestyle mediatech company.

“It has and will always be about ‘ecosystems’ when it comes to building products for consumers,” says Adepetu as he hints on a new platform that is still in development under Group 8 called ‘Exchange’. “In itself Exchange is a lifestyle platform that users will be able to achieve quite a number of things and earn rewards as well. And that only begins to scratch the surface of what it is in its entirety.”

Adepetu’s ambitions are as inspiring as they are daring. One would think that he has garnered some juicy investment funding that he is eager to splash around. But he has largely been privately growing out the business, and has said that, for now, he is keener on staying true to his vision than he is about raising external funds for the business.

While it is hard to talk about Tajuddeen Adepetu or his Group 8’s story without mentioning SoundCity, which revolutionized his business and the Nigerian entertainment industry in many regards, these new moves that Adepetu is making with, are certainly helping to build a business and a future beyond SoundCity. Beyond that also, they present an assurance that an expansion is on the horizon for Group 8 across Africa and beyond.

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