Ayo Adefemi is the Chairman of TNT TV Group, acronym Tiwa ‘N’ Tiwa in Yoruba language. The TV station is one of the best entertainment channels ever produced in Nigerian TV industry, mainly to support and harness the talent of Nigerian youths, while providing unprecedented entertainment and educative programmes to all Nigerians and Africans in diaspora. Mr Adefemi, a chartered accountant, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, an entrepreneur and a veteran in advertising with close to 40 years of experience, reveals in this interview with Nosike Moses that the TV station is positioned to serve all the socio-economic classes in Nigeria at its best. Excerpts:
What is the focus of TNT Television, popularly known as Tiwa ‘N’ Tiwa?
TNT television, which we all know is the acronym for Tiwa ‘N’ Tiwa, means “Our own” in the Yoruba language. At TNT, we have finally created a TV channel that is more social and more trending in Nigeria, Africa and the diaspora. It is actually the trending TV station across 26 states and 50 cities in Nigeria now.
We have been able to really redefine entertainment from the point of view of the Nigerian television viewers and audience because we discovered that over time people are made to view or exposed to what they are not keen on viewing thereby flipping from one channel to the other at intervals.
Most of the television stations create programmes that are not relevant or what viewers don’t want to watch. So we have actually taken time to study and understand the nature of our Nigerian television viewers and we have come up with a devout TV channel of entertainment, music, lifestyle and movies including sports which has been trending among television audience.
Apart from entertainment, tell us other strong and interesting programmes viewers can watch out for?
We are very clear about this, because we have analysed the social classes in Nigeria, and we have actually provided something very relevant for each class. So, what we are trying to do is to address the entire strata of Nigerian TV viewers, ranging from 5 years old, 10 years old down to the age of 65 -70 years old.
People tune to TNT television now, because there is always something of peculiar interest. It could be music, movie or our specially created programmes, that are tailor- made and tuned for specific people in the society. There is always something extremely of value to viewers that attract them to TNT.
Our young generations are loosing interest in Nigerian culture and by extent Africa, does the television station promote our ethnic cultures?
As a matter of fact, that is what the station is all about, promoting the Nigerian culture; we call it the “Nigeria project”, because we are out there to promote typical Nigerian culture, Nigerian music, movies, entertainment and news. We are taking Nigeria to the world and that is what we stand for. We are projecting Nigeria to Nigerians, Africans in Africa and in diaspora in a very positive, exciting and highly entertaining way.
Nigerian youths with talents in entertainment, how does TNT help them to harness their potential?
Incidentally, that is one of the core areas of focus at TNT because we realise that about 65million of Nigerians are from the ages of 15 and below and that tells you a lot. For that, we need to give them good exposure to viable things. Music is one of the most viable projects our youths can easily get into because they are talented.
Africa has the music, Africa has the rythmn and that is why most of the Americans or Western musicians are coming to Africa to have collaboration with our people, create music which is African made. We intend to critically promote African music and entertainment which are of course, predominantly dominated by the youth. TNT is out to showcase programmes that would encourage the youth.
First of all, appreciate their God-giving skills and talents, and also improve on it through competitions that would make them excel and have more confidence in actually going out into the world and making name for themselves.
We have programmes such as “Music and Dance Competition” for youths just to create awareness for special and highly talented, creative dance groups and musicians. Dance itself is a major source of income in entertainment. Dancers earn millions of dollars overseas.
It is one thing to go to school and it is a different thing to use your talent, because talent is like gold or crude oil. When you discover and nurture it, the sky is your limit. We are a TV channels of the present and the future. So, we need to promote their talents and by so doing, make Nigeria earn more money from entertainment and music that will contribute exponentially to Nigeria’s GDP.
The TV station, does it accommodate discourse on politics, education that rightly inform Nigerians the way forward?
The station is set out to educate Nigerians apart from our predominant focus on entertainment. That is why we have programmes that are purely academics. We have the “maths made-easy” programme which teaches students how to solve mathematics which we have discovered to be a major challenge for many Nigerian students and youths.
The programme teaches and simplifies mathematics to their understanding, so that they will not be avoiding maths. We also have other up coming programmes that will teach science and technology. Aside that, we also have enlightenment programme that addresses societal issues in the way and manner that the audience associate with. For example,
“Why should you sell your vote?”, your vote is your future. You can’t sell your vote and come back to start blaming a non-performing government. It is not done. By the time our people start realising the fact that accountability is key in governance, then they will stop selling their votes. Basically part of what TNT does, is to educate Nigerians and increase our standard or understanding politically.
Which other TV platforms can anyone access the station?
TNT is presently accessible on Gotv channel 111 which of course is the most popular pay cable platform. We are also available on Star Times, channel 171. We are also expanding towards Free to Air satellite thereby allowing more Nigerians to have access to our TV channel in the rural areas where cable Tv is not available. Also, we are working at being available on all other Television broadcast platforms. Our intention is to cover the whole Nigeria because this is the” Nigeria project”.
Last year December, TNT partnered DAF Foundation to entertain children and make them happy, tell us your passion for the youth of Nigeria?
We have passion for Nigerian youth because they are the future and we are serious about it, because a lot of things have fallen out of hands today for the youth. Unlike when we were growing up, there were things that were planned and easily available.
We were happy and we also worked hard. We had better access to education and good life. Today things have changed, the socio economic conditions have taken a different turn, though the economy is growing, but the level of poverty has gone up. Our youths are more exposed to hardship.
That we have realised and we try to assist as much as possible, in terms of educational support, talent nurturing and improvement; promoting skills and talents of Nigerian youth.
Education is good for them to have because it helps them do better, but your talent may actually give you more money than degree. We need to understand that and start tailoring our assistance and focus for youth improvement in Nigeria towards that goal.
You are into partnership with some brands to promote more of cultures…
TNT is a brand. It is coined from Yoruba language, Tiwa ‘N’ Tiwa which means our own. This is indigenous, purely our own, purely Nigerian. What we are saying by our own, is that it’s Nigerian indigenous content, not necessarily Yoruba indigenous content.
It is a brand and that is why you can see something like Nupe music, Igbo, Hausa music and content etc. So, we are a Nigerian channel and we are taking it to the world.
Let everybody know and appreciate Nigeria, the good part of Nigeria not the terrible things that they hear up there. We are showcasing Nigeria. That is the only way everybody around the world will appreciate that Nigeria is a great country.
Are you saying that TNT is NOT only for Yorubas, but other ethnic groups in Nigeria can showcase or advertise their brand?
It is purely Nigerian indigenous channel where other ethnic tribes can showcase what they are being known for; listen and enjoy their native music, entertainment and equally advertise their brands. That is why we are unique.
They access the station in their different states and locations. So, we cover the whole Nigeria and entertain all Nigerians, whether Christian or Muslim, no matter your religion. We see all Nigerians as one and we entertain everybody giving them the best of what they want to view.
That is why we have now become a devout channel. Everybody is tuning to Tiwa ‘N’ Tiwa because they can all associate with the channel in one way or the other. So people can understand what we are doing. We run programmes in different languages.
The TV station is moving forward. We have established our purpose or essence across Nigeria now. In fact, in some of the major states, TNT is the channel of choice for youths and the old.
What we have seen now is that, apart from what we are doing, we are going to invest a lot in the creation and promotion of more exciting content that are basically Nigerian. We want Nigerians to be exposed to higher quality content in all forms of entertainment. So that whatever we are doing can compete globally, but in a Nigerian way because we are Nigerians and Africans.
Challenges of running a TV station?
Life itself is a challenge, but your ability to weather the storm is what matters. There are challenges, for instance, if you compare the quality of movies produced in the country five years ago and now, there is a great improvement.
Though, everything bugs down to finance aside from creativity, you need equipment, you need resources and these things don’t come easily in the TV industry. You need to invest a lot on equipment. But people are struggling and that is the beauty of it.
I’m happy that Nigerian content producers are not relaxing, they are doing their best within the available resources. That is why you are seeing Nigerian movies online and more. Nigerians can make things happen. All they need is more support in financing and they will do well beyond expectations.