Published On: Thu, Aug 27th, 2015

Piracy can destroy what Nigeria has built overnight-Kelani

Tunde Kelani

 

Tunde Kelani is Nigeria’s foremost film maker, he spoke with ADEOLA OGUNRINDE on his new television channel on internet, the influence of telecommunications on the media industry among other issues

 

What is the inspiration behind Tunde Kelani television?

It is about responding to technology. The impact of the digital era. When I started to make films, became an Independent producer, Nigeria had only 500,000 telephone lines throughout the whole country. In Abeokuta about 200 privilege people had telephone lines in their house. Before I got married I decided I had to have a telephone, I applied and I got a phone. As soon as I got a phone in the house, the answering machine was introduced, and I got an answering machine. After that fax machine was introduce, then computer was introduced. The issue of technology, I was born in an era that has witnessed so much technological advancement which has influenced the way we live. Now it is amazing that today Nigeria has more than a 100 million people who own telephones. Again, it is because of that deprivation, the mobile phone is supposed to be a secondary phone to us. Everybody was expected to have the land line in our homes but we failed to do that. Nigeria leaped, we jumped that technology and moved into mobile and it is very interesting because we expect technologically that the telephones could do more than just telephones. We didn’t expect it will carry a video camera. Some of us that were technologically wise could not have predicted that the mobile phone will be use in such a way and manner. We will not have predicted that it will virtually be accessible to everybody. Once the mobile phone became media tool, then it is absolutely limitless. None of us could have predicted television on our mobile phones or we will play films on our mobile phones. The platform on which you can watch films are so many that you have to think of, we the content developers, we have to modify the way in which we can make films, not just cinemas whether to be distributed on internet or mobile phones. What I have seen technologically which is the fact is that surprisingly Nigerians have access to Facebook and it is not small figure. We are talking about 90 million Nigerians have access to Facebook already. What is interesting is that in the case of Nigeria most of the people who have access to Facebook, don’t access it through the desktop computer or laptop, 67 million people have done it on their mobile phones. That was what brought the idea of meeting viewers on mobile phones via the internet. In any case most of my films have already been pirated via internet. The pirates that are discouraging us from making films. I have made about three films that cannot be release at all. I have to find a way of engaging the audience and since I am known as someone passionate about culture, I thought that this Tunde Kelani television is targeted for mobile phones.

 

What measures have you put in place to prevent piracy of your works?

We are still looking at the various business models obviously there are complications. For now you will realize that the television channel is free. We are really thinking of working out how we can monetize that. Maybe when it attain critical mass then I can approach potential advertisers to tell them about the Tunde Kelani television, analyzing the traffic.

 

Have you set a target limit   to privatize the television?

It is interesting because we just launched it few days ago, let us see what will happen in a month or two. For now the idea is for everybody to know that is there. It is getting popular. We are using Facebook and other forms of social media to advertise it

 

What do you think the government need to do to prevent piracy?

We are confident now that the government will do something about piracy since President Mohammadu Buhari mentioned about it. Beyond that there is a lot of effort from all fronts, if you at legislation, one example is to raise the issue of piracy to something like financial crime. Something that will attract heavy penalty that will make people realize that anybody caught these are the punishment, once it is stiff they will know that the government actually means business. Many of us have stopped producing films, it is too risky. Piracy can destroy what Nigeria has built overnight

 

What should Nigeria expect from Tunde Kelani television?

It is all there, other producers are going to put their works on Tunde Kelani television. It is not just for us

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