‘We are commited to consumers’
WHAT message do you have for the public by using two football stars as your brand’s ambassadors?
We are engaging both Kanu Nwankwo and Jonathan Akpoborie to connect our teaming subscribers. In this 21st century, it is really about what the consumers desire and we are very confident of the fact that Nigerians love sports, movies and good entertainment. If you look at the personality of Kanu for example, you will discover that his personality goes beyond sports. He is an entertainment icon and we are an entertainment company, we are using his personality to further bond with our teaming audience. That is the general idea of bringing both Akpoborie and Kanu on board.
You will also agree with me that Kanu is an hero that people can relate with; his story is that of inspiration for every young person and we are for the people. So, we are using every opportunity to get things that can help us bond well with the people.
Having two football icons as brand ambassadors, will it not project your organization as a football station?
We are a strategic organisation and the idea is to do things in layers. Since we started five years ago, we have been gradually unveiling our plans for Nigerians. If you check our record, our subscribers are in millions and this means that there is something that we are doing which the people love. So, signing Kanu as our ambassador means we have scored another point. We understood before now that some consumers felt that we were not doing enough in terms of sports. We were doing well in entertainment. For example, we are the only platform in Nigeria with a dedicated TV station to children between the age zero and three years. So, we are mindful of what we are pushing out. Don’t also forget that we launched two movie channels this year – Iroko play and Iroko Plus. We still have more in the offering, so it is one thing at a time, we have more things for everyone.
With the task of Akpoborire including live analysis of German league, has StarTimes migrated to the realm of producing life content and will you ensure that StarTimes is more interactive?
This is a multimillion-dollar project and people have been appreciating what we are doing. There have been about five reports in the last three months saying that Bundesliga is the best in terms of match attendance. For us, we are having Akpoborie because we realise that we cannot just be showing the games without having some effective engagements. We have been having some engagements before now, but in terms of promotion like predict and win.
Why focusing attention on football at the expense of other sports?
I disagree that we are promoting football at the expense of other sports because we have been providing what the people want. If you check the record globally, you will discover that football seems to have more following in terms of consumers’ engagement and excitement. We are in business and there are many other sports that we show apart from football. We have seven sports channels now; Kungful, wrestling, boxing and formula One, among others. In fact, we have the exclusive right to the NBA TV in Nigeria. Competitors talk about basketball, but they don’t have the right; what they have is access to some of the players. We have the exclusive right to the NBA TV. If you are familiar with basketball, you will discover that NBA is the pinnacle of basketball promotion globally and we have that on our platform.
What challenges have you faced in the last five years you started operations in Nigeria?
It has always been about how to excite Nigerians; that is the target before us and we have always set out to achieve that. In the journey to satisfy Nigerians, there are a lot of things that have happened and are still happening, but we are paying attention on activities that will help us accomplish our mission to satisfy Nigerians. We are not losing focus in spite of the challenges. Like every other entity, we have challenges, but we are handling them well.
What is your CSR package about?
Our CSR is much more focused on children, but as a corporate policy, we don’t talk about our CSR because we don’t believe in spending N1m on a project and use N10m to publicise it. Let me say that we have done a lot for children. For example, we went to a number of orphanages in the last Children Day and gave them gifts. One of the reasons we selected Kanu Nwankwo as our ambassador is because of the Kanu Heart Foundation. So, we have a plan to engage that foundation and use the opportunity to also impact people’s lives.