SMOOTH Promotions President, Ayo Animashaun in this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Thursday, September 26, 2013, at their Ogundana Street, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos office explained what informed his taking HipTV to DSTV platform, how the journey started and when this year’s edition of Headies would hold and much more…
For how long have you been nursing the idea of launching HipTV on DSTV?
For like four years now. I remember the first time we approached DSTV in Nigeria and we tried to explain to the guys then that what we had was different and the response we got was, what new thing can we bring? They said they had other music platforms that are there, MTV Base, MTV Europe, Trace, Channel O and Soundcity. They asked what new thing can you probably bring that are not on these platforms. It was very difficult, but we stayed focused on what we are doing to syndicate the programme across ten track channel across the country, hoping that one day somebody will notice what we are doing.
What are the challenges you encountered during the process?
It wasn’t easy. It’s like any other business, normal challenges you encounter while trying to set up any business. First thing is to let people around you understand the philosophy behind your dream, why it’s different, the driving force, what is motivating it and why it should be patronized. A lot of times, they compare us with so many other music platforms. When we send our bills and it’s more expensive than others, it’s because every minute of the programme is produced. It’s created unlike the other ones that, they will just have videos and rotate in a certain way this week and next week they will re-shuffle the videos and play it again. For us, every minute is produced and when every minute is produced, it’s a lot of money, content is also a lot of money.
We put so much money on content. Production is a lot of money. Your bills will definitely be different. People that are not patient enough categorise us like the other programmes. At that point they are offering us the same advert revenue. We were charging N10 and others were charging N7 and they questioned us, why we were charging N10. The people charging N7 were making more profit than us because every segment was created and every minute of the programme we produce fresh programmes and it was very challenging to set us apart from the bandwagon. For people to even believe that the programmes could fly and when it did we are grateful to God.
What are the programmes you are planning for the station that will not be on TV?
We have 26 programmes, eight of them are our flagship programmes. For instance, if you are a fan of STV or TVC, when it gets to a certain period of the day there are some programmes you switch your channel to and watch. Those are the flagship programmes. They are the special programmes. Those are the programmes that make the channel thick. They are the programmes that make HipTV thick. They are not one or two. We have very serious programmes. All our programmes are good. Each programme stands out but we are not the one saying it. People who are out there over the years, brought feedback telling us this programme is special because of this or that features.
What makes HipTV special, that will make the audience want to watch it?
People have talked and some have delivered less result. I don’t believe in talking, I believe in working. I want people to come and say it is special. I don’t want to be the one telling the story. I believe what we have is very good, unique and special. But the market is going to tell us that, after they have seen the channel and marked our scripts. I don’t want to mark my own script. From my own experience and the modest years I have spent in this profession, I think what we have is good. It can also be better and we would continue to improve. But for the entry point, it is very different and refreshing because it’s something new and I would be comfortable and happier if people are seeing the way we do rather than me saying it.
How much did it cost you to put your programme on DSTV?
I don’t know what that question is meant to achieve, but it is not a topic I would like to discuss because normally, if you have something fresh and nice, it should not cost you money to be on such platform rather such platform should buy your contents and pay you to be on the platform. Different things happen to different businesses, I would not want to discuss my own business out there, but it should not cost anything. You don’t buy platform like that, it is not the amount of money you have, it is what you have that is different that will make them pull you on. To buy a platform like that you are shooting yourself in the leg. They are supposed to be paying you to host a channel on their platform.
Do you have other presenters apart from the ones you have before?
There are many people in the house for different programmes, producers, presenters. Programmes that are not presenter based, they are reporter based. Some are interview, reports and lifestyle programme. We have different people working on different programmes in-house.
Is there any date you set aside for the launch of the station?
Yes, the date will be announced next week.
How will the launching be?
The launching is an evening to enjoy good movies, to see a lot of nice programmes and video. It is a lounge setting also at a new venue. It’s not a stocked up, uptight kind of event where we expect you are going to loosen up. We are going to unveil some of the programmes we have. There is a red carpet, meat and grill, light refreshment, lots of entertainment, performances by artistes.
We have not heard anything about Headies awards coming up this year, what is the plan?
The Headies is coming soon. It’s a yearly award and it is going to happen this year, like every year.
Will the launching of your channel on DSTV affect the awards this year?
They are different brands. In-house, we have different people working on different brands. The Headies is eight years and has the template already that we’ll be building on, improving every year. Work is going on presently with the Headies. It is going to hold this year. Next week, we are going to announce the date of the Headies.
How will the Headies screening be this year, because last year some people complained about some artistes winning in some categories?
The people that screen for the Headies know every artiste so well. They know about the song and the criteria for each category. A lot of time, people that complain do not even have patience enough to read the criteria for each nomination. They just think about one artiste and think they should give it to him. Some people are not discerning and others who are subjective to a certain opinion because of who they are and because of the interest they have eadieswill always feel it’s not fair to some party. It is all over the world, from Grammy, America Music Award, BET. There are always people complaining it should have been this person or that person. The question is, is the process transparent or not? The person that eventually won the award did he bribe anybody? Does he belong to any party? Are the judges giving the person the award for the wrong reason? If those things are not there, we can be excused that we have done our job based on the best of judgement at that particular time.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, October 1, 2013