“It’s Time to Do Things Differently”

Transcript of Speech Delivered By BHM CEO and NECLive Founder Ayeni Adekunle At The 7th Edition Of Nigerian Entertainment Conference on April 24, 2019.

Good morning.

 

Thanks for joining us today.

 

If you are watching on the website or on HIP TV, thanks for tuning in.

 

If you’ve followed what we’ve done from the first year of NECLive, you will notice that we wanted to bring everyone together to have a discussion. I thought it was important to understand what the issues were and to discuss ways of fixing them. That was what we did, the first two years at Eko Hotel.

 

Our first year, we had a very passionate discussion declared open by Frank Nweke, the DG of the NESG at the time. It was a very very powerful discussion. Even I was surprised at the passion. We had Chris Ubosi, Keke Ogungbe, Tony Okoroji, Efe Omorogbe amongst others speak at the event.

 

In 2014, the second year of NECLive, we had the same format at Eko hotel for yet another talk. I started to get worried as we were doing too much of talk. People would come to NECLive do a lot of talking, go back to their businesses and come back the next year to ‘talk’, yet again.

 

For 2015, we decided to explore an experiential approach. We thought to bring people to show what they’re doing and how they’re doing it through showcases and maybe even experiments. From 2015, NECLive became much more interactive.

Between 2015 and 2016 we hosted a number of ‘doers’. In 2015, Eldee launched Play Data. In the same year, marketing veteran, George Thorpe, spoke about his solution for listening and monitoring.

 

And from 2015, we’ve been trying to show what people are doing. That same year, D’banj shared with us a case study on his Cream platform and how he had achieved a very remarkable feat with it. We did the same in 2017.

 

By 2018, I had decided that we have had enough of talk. We had to move from being a conference of ‘talk’ to an entertainment experience filled with surprise and pop-up performances. We also dismantled the boring exhibition stands positioned at the back. By the time 2018 ended, I was convinced that we had to change the format of the conference from being a talkshop to a place where people come to listen, but also do.

 

This year, first I want to thank everyone that accepted to speak or perform today. NECLive happens on a workday and it opens in the morning. So it takes a lot for people to leave their work and offices to come sit here all day. We have a number of dance troupes, theatre troupes and other performers here today.

 

I look forward to enjoying the show – the panel discussions, performance, showcases and presentations. I look forward to seeing how the new format, we’re experimenting with, will pan out.

 

We’ve done NECLive every year; a single day, a single city and venue for the past seven years because the project is almost completely fully self-funded. When I say ‘self’, I mean we’ve enjoyed support from a lot of friends, partners and family members amongst others. But we keep the conference free to attendees because we think it’s important. People have however been saying that, ‘one day is not enough’.

 

And this is my proposal. From 2020, we’re going to experiment with having the conference over a course of 3 days. We are going to consolidate on turning this into a full experience making it more interactive and experiential.

The conference is free now for everybody. We are going to also experiment with a model that lets us keep part of it free and also provide opportunities for those who want to do their sessions, consultations, and meetings. It’s going to move from being totally free, to being something that has both free and paid-for features.

 

We’ve tried to bring in people from other markets to come and participate. We’ve had one or two in the past couple of years but next year there is an opportunity to have the kind of collaborations that let us actually have people who are doing the kinds of things we want to do, from South Africa, Kenya, Europe and America to name a few.

 

I feel like we’ve also stayed in Lagos for so long. This is our seventh year here. From next year, we are also going to experiment with seeing if we can have this in Abuja, and Port Harcourt. I know people come from outside of Lagos every year to attend NECLive.

 

To round up, I want to explain why we are doing this.  I don’t believe in just talking. I think the industry is very active right now. I don’t think we are doing justice to all the great things we are doing if we just come to talk and complain about issues every year. The media tunes in, every year, to see what we’re doing. We get a lot of media attention at this time every year, on radio, in newspapers, online and on TV.

 

Beyond discussing the issues and what could be, we need to show them what we’re doing. There are 3 film screenings today, as you will see and where else should this happen than at NECLive? There’s so much that we have to show, There’s so much to do and I don’t think we have enough time and resources to do so.

 

For those who come every year, I want to beg you to keep coming. I want to thank our partners from across the years and those who are still with us today. I look forward to having a good day today, but I also look forward to 2020 when we can say we’ve effectively moved into what I call NECLive 2.0.

 

Thank you and have a nice day.

 

 

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