HiTV breaks new grounds with Whiz Kid album launch


Nigerians in Africa, Europe and America were filled with a feeling of nostalgia as they watched live the Red Carpet of the Whizkid album launch in Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday.

Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook literally were ablaze as Nigerians and Africans in the Diaspora watched live Nigeria’s version of glitz and glamour. Tweets flew faster when a friend or loved one was recognised on the Red Carpet. A viewer from America, who watched the show remarked on Twitter: “This is awesome, a Pay TV that is making us see live wot is hapinin in Naija...HiTV’s gbasky”.

Indeed, HiTV is ‘gbasky’ (good) as the Diaspora Nigerian said because not only did the Pay TV afford Nigerians the opportunity of seeing last Sunday’s show live, it has been doing that for some time now with a prospect of enlarging the scope to cover North Africa and the Middle East soon as revealed by Head of Operations, HiTV UK, Babatunji Amure.

A proud Amure in an interview some few days after the event disclosed that the marriage between HiTV and Nigerian artistes is one made in heaven. “HiTV’s relationship with Nigerian artistes is one that could best be described as made in heaven because it has been a win-win affair, that is why they (artistes) keep coming back to us anytime they want to do a show either in Nigeria or in the UK because a show advertised on HiTV is bound to be sold out here in the UK because we are in the homes of all Nigerians and other nationals in Europe and America.”

The HiTV UK official said he was the proudest Nigerian on Sunday as HiTV showed the Whizkid red Carpet live. “I was one proud Nigerian as the show was being aired. The Red Carpet was aired across Europe on the HiTV UK channel, it was only available on our channel and none else and that fact alone made me a proud Nigerian.”

He talked about the impact HiTV UK had on Nigerian artistes taking their shows to the UK. “The impact is very significant as all the artistes recognise HiTV UK as the major means of advertising their events and any event HiTV UK supports fully is guaranteed to be sold out. The channel is the most watched African channel across Europe, no doubt a force to reckon with, as a result, the impact of the channel promoting any event in the UK or Europe is considered to have been a sold out event, as we plan each campaign based on the expected audience,” Amure said even as he revealed the channel enters into a mutually beneficial financial arrangement with the organisers “we work with because each event has its own merits and we work based on that.”

HiTV UK has worked in collaboration with artistes who had their shows such as comedians Basket Mouth, AY Live, Julius Agwu’s Crack Ya Ribs, Figurine premiere, The Mirror Boy premiere and theatrical, Asa and Wande Coal UK tour among others “but we decided to step up the game by airing live the Whizkid’s album launch Red Carpet. Only a Nigerian company with the interest of Nigerian artistes at heart would be able to do that because what we did with the Whizkid was to sell Nigeria’s version of Red Carpet not only to Nigerians, but viewers from across the world,” Amure said.

Toyin Subair has said in a statement that one of the objectives of HiTV is to sell Nigerian channels to the world. “One of the things I do tell people is this, if HiTV stops selling in Nigeria totally, and we continue to create the channels we are creating, the next three years, we continue what we are doing outside Nigeria, the amount of money we would be making as a company would be huge because the business outside Nigeria is so huge for Nigerian music, films and productions”.

“We are the first African channel that will be measured in the UK by an approved audience rating agency, and as I am talking today, we have 280,000 homes that are watching HiTV alone and that same broadcast is being showed up in Russia. And we have not done the amount of things we should do. And by the time we add some live shows and all kinds of programmes from Nigeria, we would expand it and I am sure that by the time we are entering the beginning of next year, we would have 700,000 homes guaranteed that will be watching us in the UK and that is money based on advertising and in terms of content and use.”

He continued: “For instance, an AY (comedian) comes to us that he wants to do a show in the UK and we advertise it for him completely. The show is sold out, and on the day of the show, people buy tickets for 100 pounds that is N20, 000 to watch the show and there are more people outside than inside. He makes his own money, ticket man makes his own money, it brings more money for us and we do that for how many comedians and actors/actresses in the UK today. And if the channel was not there, marketing becomes more difficult; those shows are more difficult to see. The channel is more successful because it has more concept even from local brand, marketed and put together properly, it insists on quality of production, then that means more shows. The next time, we will not just be doing one show; by the time we are finished with all of these guys, when next they want to go to the UK, they want to do 18 shows and tours. And the amount of money they will be making now, it will not just be the small money from one show. So you can see the multiplier effect if we get it right locally.”

One of the biggest show organisers in the country, comedy merchant Opa Williams, organiser of the popular Nite of A Thousand Laughs show, has commended HiTV on the feat it achieved by showing the Whizkid Red Carpet show live to Nigerians in the Diaspora. 
“I have never doubted HiTV’s intentions to the entertainment sector, and now that it has started taking us to the world, this is the beginning of new things to come.”  Williams who is planning to tour some parts of Africa, UK, Europe and America with his flagship show said he does not need to worry too much with HiTV having signals in these places. “My promotion for the show is guaranteed. This is good news.”