I Started Hip Hop World With N1000

•Ayo Animashaun1

•Ayo Animashaun

Ayo Animashaun, CEO of Smooth Promotions, the mother company to The Headies, Hip On TV and Hiphopworld, has added another brand to his stable: HipTV, a new 24 hours cable channel on DStv and GOtv. In a chat with FUNSHO AROGUNDADE, Animashaun spoke about the newest channel 

Congrats on the final launch of HipTV.

Thanks so much. It is a dream come true. We have been planning and doing this consistently for over seven years now. This whole project started with N1000 a long time ago. So I can say I am a happy man. HipTV is a channel that will do Nigeria proud, and make us all proud to be Nigerians. It will offers rich content on news, events, documentaries, rotations, red carpet events, features, interviews and many more. HipTV will not just be about our own local content. Wherever things are happening, we will be there because we are going to be showing in over 40 countries in Africa. Even though we know that when the subject is music in Africa, Nigeria dominates. But we will respect other countries that will tune in to see us. You wouldn’t want to hold or buy a good picture and not see yourself, if you have a good picture the first thing you want to see is yourself.

How would you describe the channel?

It is a music and lifestyle channel. It is also an urban contemporary channel.

Including a bit of sport?

You are not going to see soccer matches and all that on HipTV but we are going to be showing content about celebrities and things that fit into the profile of what we are trying to do. But we will also be doing behind the scene of a lot of sporting events. For example, we were at the last Nations Cup not to cover the matches but all the fun and entertainment surrounding the matches. We did more of the behind the scene. And come next year by the grace of God we are going to be at the next World Cup in Brazil and we will be showing a lot of behind the scene at the world cup.

•Ayo Animashaun
•Ayo Animashaun

What then would be your unique selling point?

We have put in a lot of work and I love what we have done when I watch HipTV and I hope people out there are going to say we have done a good job.  We are not going to be playing music videos, there is going to be more to it because a lot of people are already doing that. There is a programme called “Flip Sides”. In this programme, we reveal the other sides of our celebrities. There are so many things you won’t believe our artistes do apart from music: For example, not many people know that Banky W is a fantastic cook. He goes to the market and shops for everything by himself. We didn’t find out this other side of him until we were in Brazil together. M.I is a fantastic basketballer. He played in high school. There are so many other things that some music video channels won’t reveal to you, and that is what HipTV is all about. We are going to give you a lot of behind the scenes of music videos. Even when we play music videos, they are always going to be different because we are not just going to show you the videos, you will have to see something different and refreshing.  I hate talking too much, but I hope that at the end of the day people will like the channel.

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Who are your core target?

We are a servant in the industry and there are many other servants serving the industry.  We have chosen our own market and tested our own means. The people in the age bracket of 16 to 35 are our core target.

How much has this project cost you?

Like some people would say that Nigerians don’t like discussing figures and I won’t be an exception. But to tell you, I would say we have invested a lot of money, time and energy into this project. To me figures are not important; sometimes you will even have a lot of money and not know what to do with it. So it is not about figures to me but about the passion, the drive the dream being able to deliver on such a huge platform. We have invested in other areas especially the time, energy and focus that we share as a company, and by extension, our partners. The chances and opportunities we have had over the years, all these mean more to us than the figures. Anybody can just put money on the table to go and deliver and you won’t be able to deliver without your partners.

What are the challenges you faced bringing the channel on air?

I can’t be telling you the obvious challenges everyone faces here in Nigeria which majorly is power issues. We have been running online for over a year now but no matter how well you prepare, something will always crop up. For example, we have two generators and an inverter to support it, but you would be shocked that sometimes both generators and the inverter would not work. It can get that crazy, so one can’t be too prepared. So you just have to put in everything and be strategic in your preparation. That is one of the reasons why our main server is not stationed here in Nigeria.  Our main server is in London, which is where we are operating from. In the U.K you hardly experience power failure. What we do here is to mostly schedule our content and work flow, even when we run live content; it goes straight to our server in London and stream from over our server to different homes. We also know that cost is the major element in making sure we produce good programmes. You will hire people, pay their salaries and all that, we want to be able to drive this project through.

How have you been coping running all these brands under Smooth Promotions?

I have to be sincere with you, it is not easy. But what I have learnt over the years is to trust people. I have a workforce that is so dedicated and so focused. I noticed that when other people share in your dream and passion, and are able to make a living out of it, they wouldn’t let it suffer because if it suffers, we are all going to suffer.  So what I have done is not to make myself the Alpha and Omega of everything that is happening here. I can’t definitely do everything. All I can do is to supervise, train my people to know the dos and don’ts, understand the values and ethics of the company, create a manual for them and believe they are going to do the job. I correct them once in a while when they make mistakes and try and bring the passion and vision to them, so that they can take it serious.