I’m sure you do remember those childhood days when parents used superstitious myths to prevent kids from doing things that might harm us. So you’re told not to walk backwards in the dark because spiritual dwarfs will posses your soul. Well in the real world, it’s just so that you don’t trip and hurt yourself.
So where am I going with this? Just a couple of weeks ago, DSTv/ MultiChoice organized a content showcase extravaganza in Mauritius. Tim Horwood, Channel Director for MTV Base in answering a question at the Viacom Media Round Table made some suggestions to Ghanaians.
Checkout a direct quote from the first paragraph of the article as reported on myjoyonline.com “Africa’s biggest music channel, MTV Base is advising Ghanaian artistes to market, brand themselves and collaborate with other artistes on the continent to get airplay.” Instantly, you must be worried. Why does a Ghanaian artiste NEED collaboration with another artistes from other countries just to get airplays?? Does that mean it’s not enough being just a Ghanaian artiste??
Hold your horses. Lets continue. Tim went on to give a whole lecture on how business sense it makes and how they are looking at where the biggest audiences are. So the instances of Nigeria and South Africa come in. They have the largest market obviously but their domination on MTV Base is not proportionate to their subscription ratio considering the other countries in Africa. So what I’m saying? Simple, Nigeria and South Africa is bigger than the whole of Africa as seen on MTV Base. These two countries are simply MTVBase. Period.
So what does MTV Base want to tell the other African countries? I will answer it by quoting one of Tim’s statements. He said this….
“I would love to represent every single country on the continent but you kind of have to do it as a phased approach. The goal is to get to that point to be able to say that every single country in Africa is represented,” but budget challenges will allow that for now.
…When in fact, all he had to say is, come oh guys, I wish I could show every content in Africa on MTVBase but like seriously?? Nah! This is business dude!!!
That is the truth and we must embrace it. MTVBase came for business and they convinced their investors with two country-based population module, Nigeria and South Africa. Nothing can be done about this established trend unless the operational directives change. What Ghana and other sidelined countries can do is this. One, just ignore MTVBase and go about your normal recording and productions and wait for a more friendly related platform to showcase your product. Or appeal to the core primarily module that established MTVBase and argue that, look we also have the audience even though we can’t compare to Nigeria or SA but we demand a fair distribution. Give us what we deserve.
The governments can also help with policies to empower their local media to reach the status where they could comfortably compete with MTVBase and the BETs. But that won’t work so just ignore it. But if you are a sidelined African act and you feel you’re doing lousy job that’s why MTVBase won’t play your stuffs. You’re not. You must believe in your craft first before you can even improve on it.