Femi Aderibigbe popularly called Kwame started his career as a radio presenter. He is the CEO of Virtual Media Network, the creator of the popular 24 hours music channel Nigezie and the Yoruba TV Station, Orisun on Startimes platform Channel 168. In one of the business interviews with the Orisun TV CEO by City People Editorial Team who visited his Ogba Office in Lagos, Femi spoke about how he started Orisun TV.
Femi Aderibigbe Quotes
“The close to two decades active service in the broadcast and entertainment industries has been a roller coaster ride, filled with fun, huge challenges, self-discovery and great rewards”.
“There are a lot more frontiers to conquer, a lot more challenges in the horizon and a lot more rewarding experiences ahead and I am cruising on over-drive”
According to Femi Aderibigbe, Orisun TV is basically a medium for expression, for the over 30 million strong Yoruba race. “I remember that I started as a hip-hop on-air personality and all that, and a few years back, someone asked me if I could do some content for an existing Yoruba Channel, I felt insulted, I was like you don’t know me because I used to look at the market as razz market”.
He said, The way he was brought up, he felt it was cooler when he speaks in English, wear Jeans, T-shirts and Sneakers, you know that hip-hop swag. “We kind of have this disdain for Yoruba ground so to speak. You are not allowed to speak Yoruba in school, you get punished for speaking vernacular and several other things but one day, not too long ago my son was reading a Yoruba poem and he was reading it in a very humble way and I was ashamed, as if he was a Jamaican and I was like what is wrong with this boy. So it got me thinking we need to start moving back towards the cultural aspects of our life.
During the interview, Femi said “No matter how few we’re advanced technologically, economically all that we also still have contact with our root. So when the opportunity came, the guys at Startimes said they needed a Yoruba Channel, I just jumped at it and said oh, I can do this they were like really,when I got home I was like, am I alright, what did I just commit to, so I now started researching, I met with all the major Yoruba movie content producers, spoke with them, spoke with some other people, it just started, it was very funny. I first called the Channel Odua”.
Femi Googled the word Odua, and he found out the name is a TV Channel in the United Kingdom, so he had to change it. He was like so what do we call it, the name first came Orisun ‘The source, like lets, take it back to the source that’s where we all came from, that’s the history, that is where we are from. I got a girl to sing a song and I told her what I wanted and it came out beautiful. We just started, it was like a joke, we didn’t have a budget, we didn’t have a plan, we started a lot of exciting content, we didn’t know how to find those content, we just started and that’s it.
In terms of Orisun TV Acceptance
Kwame said; “The acceptance is crazy, even the presenters, I had a pastor and he told me that he had gone to other states for about 2/3 years but the volume of calls he estimated it to a thousand calls from our viewers. He said they ran down his battery, at a point just couldn’t believe it, he switched off his phone and switched to his other line because it was really crazy”.
“On our morning show, we brought somebody, one of this traditional natural healer that use all these nature power healing techniques and all that, the guy said that the wife of a former vice president called that she just watched it and all that, the guy said he almost collapsed, so it’s gaining massive acceptance”.
“I stopped one day while driving and the windows were down, I heard two Okada guys talking, saying “shey u dey always watch this Channel, Orisun” and there was a hold up, I actually thought they knew me that it was a set up, I sat there and was watching from inside the car and I was like wow. The acceptance, even Startimes guys would tell you that its one of their phenomenal channel”.
In case you are thinking that Orisun TV is own by Startimes, you are wrong.
“Orisun TV is 100% owned by Virtual Media Network, that is our company. We also own the Nigezie brand and a few other media brands. We started with Global Sounds back in the days and we have about two other channels we are working on. There is no investment from Startimes in Orisun, it is 100% owned by us, they are just the platform for broadcast, that is just the relationship between us”.
The choice of Partnering with Startimes instead of DSTV
“I will tell you directly now that the Multichoice, the way they work, I don’t think they will create another Yoruba Channel to compete with what they already have Maybe later they will, but at that time, I don’t think its part of their plan to have another Yoruba Channel on their platform”.
Kwame said there is another TV Station, it is a general entertainment channel. It is like Orisun, an English version. it will have soaps, series, Fashion, music etc. The other is the Premium Channel. It will feature fashion, lifestyle etc. Those are the Channels we are working on.
On how they get approval for the Movie contents on Orisun TV
“We deal mostly with the marketers because most of the producers, produce for the marketers. So the master is stuff we need to broadcast and they are usually with the marketers and not the producers”.
“We deal with a very few producers so to speak. Sometimes you pay outright for the right to use the content and some you have some other deals which are mutually beneficial to both you and the marketer”.
“That is how we have been able to sustain it. It is been tough though because the income has not justified the expenditure yet. But it is getting better, because initially when we started nobody was interested”
Finally. Femi said “The key battles now are the foreign invaders that are coming into the business, and I have told my colleagues that we are not yet researching enough to be able to withstand what is coming. “I have a hint of what is coming in terms of foreign invasion in the media spoke in Nigeria and I don’t think, we are sufficiently positioned to withstand what is coming”…