While speaking in an exclusive interview published by Pulse Nigeria Business Insider, Nigeria’s most famous and richest blogger, Linda Ifeoma Ikeji, who recently launched an online television, LITV, opened up about her multi-million Naira new investment, how much it cost her to build it, and her future plans.
The Imo State businesswoman also talks about her social media platform, LIS, why it failed and her plans for the future.
You’ve finally launched your own streaming platform. How does this make you feel?
Seeing your dream come to reality is one of the best feelings in the world. I look at it and think to myself, “What? We finally did it.” This is something I have always wanted to do, probably since I was 11. I didn’t dream this big, I dreamt of working in TV either as a producer or a presenter. I just wanted to be in the media and TV space.
So, getting to this point where I can own an online TV platform is one of the best feelings in the world. When we first launched, people bombarded our site, subscribing and commenting on shows I was part of 100 percent. It’s an amazing feeling to see people finally view what we have done and commend us like this.
How many shows do you have on the platform?
So far, we have 10 reality shows and 21 TV shows. More content is on the way. What we currently have is just one percent of what we want to produce. We just wanted to launch so people can see some of what we’ve produced so far.
Right now, some of my staff are already on different locations, producing more shows, because we plan to have much more.
How long did it take to put the shows together?
We’ve been working on these shows actively since June 2017. I had to understand that I was a novice producer but I am not a novice at putting things together. As a producer, I was learning on the job. So, we made some mistakes. We hired a few people who didn’t know what they were doing and we had to bring in more professionals. We have gotten it right now. But, that’s why it took us that long to put the shows together. There are over 35 shows. One year is not a bad time to produce that amount of content.
Take us through the process of creating the platform.
Thinking about what equipment to buy and what to replace was hectic, but I fully enjoyed the creative process. I like sitting down with my producers, going through ideas, and going over scripts – I wrote some of the scripts for the shows. I came up with 90% of the titles on the platform. I always argue with my head of programming. I say, “I don’t know how to carry cameras and lights, but when it comes to ideas, I am very creative.”
I think being a blogger for the last 11 years has helped me understand what people really want to watch. Using data from my blog, I see what people want to read and I see that the serious stuff is not as appealing to the youth as the mundane stuff, content about Bobrisky and the lighthearted things that will just make them laugh. They love drama, controversy, and gossip. So when you know who your target audience is, you create content for them.
However, I am not just creating content for young people. On the site, you have “I Survive,”which is for everybody. It’s a show about people who have survived the most heartbreaking moments and they are still standing. Even Betty Irabor is on one of the shows where she comes to inspire people going through all kinds of issues. We have “The Black Room,” which is a sexual show, so it’s not for children.
When you’re putting something together, you have to understand who your target audience is and I knew the people I was targeting. So, probably 70% of our content was targeted at young people and the other 30% for a more mature audience. I haven’t done anything for kids. I am thinking about it, I don’t know if I should, because a lot of the stuff coming is too x-rated to be on the same platform.
How much did it cost you to set this up?
About half a billion naira. We have so many equipment – that’s how we were able to do multiple shoots. We have a lot of cameramen, presenters, sound technicians, and editors who are in-house. We have a mini jib and a fully loaded music studio. Sometimes I think to myself, ‘Did you need to go that far?’ We also have a place in Lekki Phase One that I got for two reality shows in the works. We bought eight cameras there. We have three studios right here. We have the green room here. And then, we have done reality shows with celebrities.
For the reality shows, everything is self-funded. We have some reality shows that have 6 cast and crew members in total. There are people in Magodo right now that I paid for them for at least two weeks. Some people have been there for a month. Some people are there for “Highway Girls,” they are going to be there for two weeks. We are shooting simultaneously and we have to pay for everything. The cost of production is capital intensive.
For the channel, because we can’t create everything at the same time, we had to acquire already produced movies. We haven’t shot any movie at all. I want to make movies completely different movies from what you have seen. My vision for our movies is totally different from what Nigeria currently produces, so I am not ready for movies now.
We have produced only one in-house TV series, and we are shooting another one right now. The one we have now has 22 episodes. It’s on the site – “The Igwe Must Hear This”. I came up with the idea: the name, the style – because I used to really love something called “Ichoku.” It is like a modern remake of “Ichoku.”
I enjoy creating content, from my blog you can tell that this is the same thing – creating content for people to enjoy, content that is informative, educative and entertaining. It’s just on a higher level where you have to turn it into visuals instead of just text.