IT’S no longer news that this year’s edition of AY Live was massively successful. Selling off a record 67 branded tables and surpassing the 6,000 guests target, Ayo Makun (AY) has been thanking his star and all hands that supported the show in one way or the other. AY shared his experience at organizing the event with ENCOMIUM Weekly, revealing to us the tricks that helped him record this feat, the flaws of the show, what he actually spent and his next plan amongst others.
How does it feel to know that Ayo Makun hosted what perhaps is the biggest show in Africa?
It feels good. It feels great. It was an awesome experience. I’m happy. I’m full of thanksgiving. I just want to continue to thank a whole lot of people who made it happen. From all the Nigerian artists who supported the show, I also thank all corporate organizations who came in to rescue the brand. I want to say a big thank you to Coleman Wires, Haven Homes, Zenith Bank, Dilly Motors, Emmy Cargoes (Emeka Okonkwo). I also want to say a big thank you to all our media partners. There is also Kute Foundation and many more who contributed to the success of the show. I received so much encouragement and support from individuals who bought tables, people who bought tickets. It was a good show. It feels good, it feels great.
Did you envisage the huge success of AY Live?
I won’t lie to you, you never can hold claim to the fact that you are an authority. Other people around me saw it. I mean when I was expressing my fears and going about my promotion, some people said, ‘Why are you bothering yourself with all these?’ AY is a brand. They were predicting the show would sell out but I refused to believe them. I needed to do all I suppose to do to make it sell out. The outcome of the show is now something to be happy about.
Talking about all you needed to do, what and what did you do to ensure the success of AY Live?
We do not perform magic in Corporate World Entertainment, we have a template and what champions it is our publicity and content. Our publicity is reaching out to everybody using all media, from the social media to print media, radio and television and even one-on-one marketing was equally employed. And talking about content, when you want to attract people to come and buy a product they must have a certain level of likeness for the product. So, we have positioned ourselves in a way whereby we are able to showcase what we have done in the past. Especially what we did last year to sell out the 6,000 capacity audience. It was enough for people to watch and embrace it and then say I would like to be part of the next edition. We equally used the platform of AY Show which is quite huge on TV, it cuts across 12 African countries, courtesy of MNET (African Magic). We used all the time to showcase 30 minutes of various shows we have done in the past. So, it was more like, ‘this is it, why won’t I come and watch it live?’ And above all, a major medium we equally used was the Almighty God as a source. So, every channel was directed to that source for the divine endorsement. And that happened.
I know this would be difficult, have you calculated the estimate of how much you spent to host AY Live? Some say it should be close to N40 million, how much did you spend?
We didn’t spend N50 million but the show is worth much more than that. If you go by the proper fees of the artists, equipment and things we put into the show, we got a lot from our media partners. An artist might want to charge a corporate organization N5 million but when it is their fellow artist, they would give him a lot of support.
So, in total, we would say we put in about N25 million to do the entire show. You also know I had barter arrangement with a lot of organizations with a promise of doing something for their brand. And all of that put together came to about N25 million to run the show.
Now, you sold all of 67 tables and thousands of tickets, is it possible to lay hand on how much you earned from AY Live?
The truth is that when you do a show, it is not everybody that would pay. There are some complimentary tickets that were given out. There are some people that need it badly. And we had to give them because if you ignore them, you do so at your own peril. Talking about making money, I can’t say we didn’t make money from the show. But I just know that it could have been better with a seasoned level of patronage. Many people actually turned out. As a matter of fact, some people couldn’t even come in. We had over 3,000 people outside trying to get ticket for the show. I remember going on Twitter two days to the show to tell the entire nation that the show was sold out. It gave avenue for some other people to send a counter broadcast to say they have tickets for sale. So, what some smart Nigerians did was to go and buy ticket from the outlet and come to the venue to sell times two the price. I even have the record of somebody who sent me an SMS that he was going to send me a recharge card. He said he bought a table at N400,000 and sold it back at the venue for N700,000. That’s the reason I want to send you recharge card. We had an overflow of people. And I think this is the right opportunity to apologise to some people (there are equally some lapses) who bought the tables or VIPs who had issues with accessing the show. I need to quickly apologise because when they are not happy, they may not come back to patronize you. So, I’m really sorry for whatever happened during the show. I’m believing God that we are not perfect while heading towards perfection, we are going to perfect it next time.
How many guests were you expecting at the show?
We were expecting 6,000 people. But I think the number of people that were outside and unable to get in will surpass our expectation. We needed to shut the gate, but a lot of people didn’t find it funny having travelled all the way from Abuja for the show with their family. In all of this, I thank God for everything. I may not be the funniest comedian, but I have a huge followership. And that is God’s signature.
You mentioned such lapses like people paying without having seats or even access to the show. Are there other issues you think you have room to improve upon in future?
Yes, for the first time, my show dragged a little in terms of content. And all of these were for one reason. A lot of people had started complaining we are not flexible with upcoming acts. So, we said we are going to have a pre-show with many upcoming acts. And all of that dragged. So, when the main show began people were already getting tired. As a result we now had to rush the bigger acts. These are the things I have to work on at the next show. If it is five, six new acts, we flow with that as usual. We did that in London. We also did that in Abuja and we succeeded. It also succeeded in Lagos last year. But this year, it dragged a little because we needed to incorporate more acts. But we have learnt from it. The Abuja, Port Harcourt and Asaba shows coupled with Akwa Ibom will not be like that.
So, we are expecting lots of improvement in subsequent shows?
Oh definitely. We are all open to learning. We want to take our content to the next level in the industry. For me, I learn from every show, that’s the only way you can perfect it. Although I have a lot of positive reports from the Twitter. They said this has never happened before.
So, what next after AY Live?
After AY Live, we are going to have a major sitcom for television. We are starting in May. And side by side we are going to Abuja on June 17 for AY Live. In August, we are going to Port Harcourt. And of course, in September, the Akwa Ibom government would be hosting the brand in commemoration of Akwa Ibom Week. We are also going back to Delta State, where we started last year. And while all these states are still doing all these to support the brand, we are still waiting for my own state, Ondo.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, April 17, 2012