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Everything we see on television influences the way we think – Adepetu

Onome Amawhe

Watching television has become an integral part of everyday life.  At the end of each day, we lounge in front of the television to unwind after an exhausting day. This makes the influence of television on society more apparent. Tajudeen Adepetu is the CEO of Consolidated Media Associates (CMA), owners of a range of TV channels that cut across television genres.

Tajudeen Adepetu
Tajudeen Adepetu

As one of Africa’s rapidly emerging television executives, Adepetu sees television as an influencer: “Television is a medium of influence”, he says “and that is what television means to me”. Adepetu believes that it is impossible to imagine life without television because everything we experience through it shapes and molds us into how we are now. And to a great extent everything that we see on television influences the way we think:

“From the perspective of edutaining, I think nothing should happen on television that shouldn’t be for a purpose.  Information, education and entertainment must have a particular goal.  Everything I do on television is always set towards defining something or setting an agenda and so, if I produce a drama series for instance, it is always about portraying issues that define decisions.

That is why the influence of television on society is profound”.  25 years ago Adepetu began his career in television. His mission was to change the landscape of television programming through Consolidated Media Associates. Add to this his daring task of launching 8 channels of exciting television programming and he can only be seen as one of the icons in the media pantheon in television who has shaped our medium.

Before setting up his television empire, Adepetu had been working as an independent producer for terrestrial television stations like AIT, LTV and MITV and producing blockbuster television series such as Everyday People, Saints and Sinners, Candlelight, Treasures, One Love and Domino: “I’ve always been a content provider because creative content defines everything about television, and that is where we stand out as a company”.

Consolidated Media Associates is backed by the exceptional expertise of its founder with an energetic and vibrant team. Since it was established, the company has built a portfolio of exciting cable television news and entertainment brands and businesses, including Sound City,ONTV, ON Max, Trybe, Spice, Access 24, Televista and Urban 96: Our vision has always been very simple”,  Adepetu explains:

“ We want to be part of people’s lives no matter who they are and we try as much as possible to meet them at the point of their television viewership need and demands. That is what informed our decision to create 8 channels all designed and defined along the various levels of television viewership. Our key drivers for content include sports; the Omni sports daily global sports news package which is broadcast every night and the highlight show of the same package, which offers breaking news and updated sports news six times daily .We have an extensive library of telenovelas, be they Mexican, Filipino, Brazilian or Indian, and our viewers have come to expect the best from us. We have yet to let them down. We also take news seriously, and provide a headline news service six times a day.

We also provide a wide variety of quality productions on our Hollywood movie belt, as well as an extensive library of original drama productions; this is why we have been rated number one for two years in a row. Regarding music, we have partnered with Sound city, the leading light in African urban entertainment, and we can say that we are the first to bring viewers the best Nigerian and Pan African music from a range of talented artistes. With regard to Lifestyle programmes, we have an array of decent shows and delightful content from Spice TV, the only fashion channel in Africa”. And the follow up question is: What do the various genres of television programming say about his company?

“It says very simply that we are a company that understands what we are doing. And I don’t think there is any television company in Africa that has 8 channels designed solely for the African market —it says a lot about how we want to project our country”. The question of how television portfolios fit together with advertising, and how brands have utilized the medium to increase brand awareness or engage consumers, has haunted the medium since its origins. Advertising is TV’s original sin. When people called TV shows garbage, which they did all the time until recently, commercialism was at the heart of most complaints. Even great TV could never be good art, because it was tainted by definition. It was there to sell. Adepetu has a different view:

“Advertisers know that television is the leading definer of popular culture and an agenda setter in the various areas that it plays into, so most often when advertisers want to do anything they engage us to help them tell the story and sell their product and services.  And we’ve been fairly successful in that because it’s from patronage like this that we’ve been able to sustain ourselves”. Since establishing the CMA Group, the challenge of funding and capacity is something the company has continually had to deal with.

“Capacity has always been an issue because there are not enough people who know what they are capable of doing without supervision. That is why we find that at every particular time, you just have to be hands-on  because it can be very frustrating when, having groomed somebody into the job, and then midway into it they just leave thinking that they know it all now.  And then you have to start the process all over again”

“That, I think, is one of the challenging parts of this business”.   “. In terms of funding, he laments that most banks don’t even understand the broadcasting industry: “This lack of understanding of our business”, he says “explains why they are unable to cater to our needs as an industry. Since we started we’ve been self-funded. We’ve not been able to get external funding from banks or elsewhere, and that has been a major challenge for us.  If we had found ourselves in a society that understands the nuances and intricacies of this business ,then it would have been a lot easier because in addition to the funding that we might have received; there would also be expert advice and capacity building facilities provided to ensure that the business becomes even more competitive.

The reverse is the case here. I really wish that we could find partners that could help us in getting to our desired destination in media because we are on a journey that is by no means smooth, but I know that in the end we’ll get there”.   In the face of these hurdles, Tajudeen Adepetu has been able to continue to grow the company and sustain its position, ensuring that each step doesn’t create additional problems. Essentially, his effective leadership has helped him create sustainable growth for the company:  “I think it’s the force that we’ve brought to bear in the market that is still sustaining us. We are so compelling in every sphere that we’ve ventured into that we cannot be ignored.

Basically, it’s the strength of our creative capacity that keeps us going. And I think that’s going to keep us here into the future because creative capacity is the soul of our business”. Tajudeen Adepetu’s definition of success is more focused on the present than the future because he sees success from the outset of every endeavor he undertakes.  “The fact that I’m able to start anything is a success in itself. And I really don’t consider futuristic initiatives because I’m more concerned with the present. That said, it doesn’t mean that I don’t plan for the future”.

Watching television has become an integral part of everyday life.  At the end of each day, we lounge in front of the television to unwind after an exhausting day. This makes the influence of television on society more apparent. Tajudeen Adepetu is the CEO of Consolidated Media Associates (CMA), owners of a range of TV channels that cut across television genres.  As one of Africa’s rapidly emerging television executives, Adepetu sees television as an influencer: “Television is a medium of influence”, he says “and that is what television means to me”. Adepetu believes that it is impossible to imagine life without television because everything we experience through it shapes and molds us into how we are now. And to a great extent everything that we see on television influences the way we think:

“From the perspective of edutaining, I think nothing should happen on television that shouldn’t be for a purpose.  Information, education and entertainment must have a particular goal.  Everything I do on television is always set towards defining something or setting an agenda and so, if I produce a drama series for instance, it is always about portraying issues that define decisions. That is why the influence of television on society is profound”.  25 years ago Adepetu began his career in television. His mission was to change the landscape of television programming through Consolidated Media Associates. Add to this his daring task of launching 8 channels of exciting television programming and he can only be seen as one of the icons in the media pantheon in television who has shaped our medium.

Before setting up his television empire, Adepetu had been working as an independent producer for terrestrial television stations like AIT, LTV and MITV and producing blockbuster television series such as Everyday People, Saints and Sinners, Candlelight, Treasures, One Love and Domino: “I’ve always been a content provider because creative content defines everything about television, and that is where we stand out as a company”.  Consolidated Media Associates is backed by the exceptional expertise of its founder with an energetic and vibrant team. Since it was established, the company has built a portfolio of exciting cable television news and entertainment brands and businesses, including Sound City,ONTV, ON Max, Trybe, Spice, Access 24, Televista and Urban 96: Our vision has always been very simple”,  Adepetu explains:

“ We want to be part of people’s lives no matter who they are and we try as much as possible to meet them at the point of their television viewership need and demands. That is what informed our decision to create 8 channels all designed and defined along the various levels of television viewership. Our key drivers for content include sports; the Omni sports daily global sports news package which is broadcast every night and the highlight show of the same package, which offers breaking news and updated sports news six times daily .We have an extensive library of telenovelas, be they Mexican, Filipino, Brazilian or Indian, and our viewers have come to expect the best from us. We have yet to let them down. We also take news seriously, and provide a headline news service six times a day.

We also provide a wide variety of quality productions on our Hollywood movie belt, as well as an extensive library of original drama productions; this is why we have been rated number one for two years in a row. Regarding music, we have partnered with Sound city, the leading light in African urban entertainment, and we can say that we are the first to bring viewers the best Nigerian and Pan African music from a range of talented artistes. With regard to Lifestyle programmes, we have an array of decent shows and delightful content from Spice TV, the only fashion channel in Africa”. And the follow up question is: What do the various genres of television programming say about his company?

“It says very simply that we are a company that understands what we are doing. And I don’t think there is any television company in Africa that has 8 channels designed solely for the African market —it says a lot about how we want to project our country”. The question of how television portfolios fit together with advertising, and how brands have utilized the medium to increase brand awareness or engage consumers, has haunted the medium since its origins. Advertising is TV’s original sin. When people called TV shows garbage, which they did all the time until recently, commercialism was at the heart of most complaints. Even great TV could never be good art, because it was tainted by definition. It was there to sell. Adepetu has a different view:

“Advertisers know that television is the leading definer of popular culture and an agenda setter in the various areas that it plays into, so most often when advertisers want to do anything they engage us to help them tell the story and sell their product and services.  And we’ve been fairly successful in that because it’s from patronage like this that we’ve been able to sustain ourselves”. Since establishing the CMA Group, the challenge of funding and capacity is something the company has continually had to deal with.  “Capacity has always been an issue because there are not enough people who know what they are capable of doing without supervision. That is why we find that at every particular time, you just have to be hands-on  because it can be very frustrating when, having groomed somebody into the job, and then midway into it they just leave thinking that they know it all now.  And then you have to start the process all over again”

“That, I think, is one of the challenging parts of this business”.   “. In terms of funding, he laments that most banks don’t even understand the broadcasting industry: “This lack of understanding of our business”, he says “explains why they are unable to cater to our needs as an industry. Since we started we’ve been self-funded. We’ve not been able to get external funding from banks or elsewhere, and that has been a major challenge for us.  If we had found ourselves in a society that understands the nuances and intricacies of this business ,then it would have been a lot easier because in addition to the funding that we might have received; there would also be expert advice and capacity building facilities provided to ensure that the business becomes even more competitive.

The reverse is the case here. I really wish that we could find partners that could help us in getting to our desired destination in media because we are on a journey that is by no means smooth, but I know that in the end we’ll get there”.   In the face of these hurdles, Tajudeen Adepetu has been able to continue to grow the company and sustain its position, ensuring that each step doesn’t create additional problems. Essentially, his effective leadership has helped him create sustainable growth for the company:  “I think it’s the force that we’ve brought to bear in the market that is still sustaining us. We are so compelling in every sphere that we’ve ventured into that we cannot be ignored.  Basically, it’s the strength of our creative capacity that keeps us going.

And I think that’s going to keep us here into the future because creative capacity is the soul of our business”. Tajudeen Adepetu’s definition of success is more focused on the present than the future because he sees success from the outset of every endeavor he undertakes.  “The fact that I’m able to start anything is a success in itself. And I really don’t consider futuristic initiatives because I’m more concerned with the present. That said, it doesn’t mean that I don’t plan for the future”.

 


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.