Banker-turned entertainment entrepreneur, Tunbosun Kola-Daisi, speaks on his experience in the last 10 years, AKEEM LASISI writes
Ask many people to assess the economic capacity of the Nigerian entertainment industry, they will say it is potentially a goldmine. But the Chief Executive Officer of Mobile Screens and Services Ltd., Mr. Tunbosun Kola-Daisi, will even be more categorical about it. He is likely to compare it to the biblical rejected stone that has become the head of the corner, despite the structural challenges facing it.
And there is cause to believe him. In the past 10 years, he has operated in the sector as an entrepreneur. His company founded to bridge the gap in the provision for musical equipment has witnessed a kind of boom that has confirmed to him that he did not make a mistake when he left the banking hall to romance his passion.
According to him, the entertainment sector is so huge that no one should treat it with levity.
He says, “The entertainment industry is competing with agriculture now but I know it will be the next big thing if the government pays attention to it. For instance, according to statistics, by 2014 the industry grew by an average rate of almost 20 per cent on an annual basis. That is an about $4bn worth industry.
“What contributed to this growth is the music industry and Nollywood where we have been able to export some of our materials. The projection is that, by 2019, the industry will be worth close to $1bn. Of course, we can do much better if things like piracy are curbed because the intellectual capital these guys put in is not properly tapped.”
Speaking with journalists on his sojourn in the industry, Kola-Daisi said he decided to pitch his tent with music, even if not as a musician, after working with a number of banks, including First Bank, London. The man who studied Geography at the University of Ilorin and got his Masters’ in Business Administration from the University of Cardiff, Wales, had always known that he likes music and he likes to celebrate people. Besides, he knew there was the need to boost the service sub-sector in the field. It was thus a natural way for him to go.
He had, for instance, observed that the scene was crying for LED screens and other super-quality sound devices. That was how he inaugurated the Mobile Screens and Sounds Limited. Tapping his banking experience, he was able to identify the vacuum and worked out a solution to cater to the evolving technologies in the entertainment industry.
The company, he added, had crossed several bridges of growth, devising various surviving strategies, including striking a partnership with UDI, a UK outfit. It has also enlarged its focus, as it now maintains and repairs equipment.
“What we do is to maintain and repair LED screens for some clients who bought them and have no prior knowledge of maintaining them. Sending such back to the supplier may be very expensive. So, we come in handy here. But we also train people.
“Part of our plans is to open a training school where we can teach youths how to maintain and repair such equipment because there is a high demand for it. Of course, this is our own way of getting people off the streets. We will also work towards opening an assembling store. I think it is one of the projects the government will be happy about,” he says.
His experience also shows that whoever wants to invest in the entertainment arena must be prepared to work odd hours, if not all hours. He cannot go to sleep during holidays.
Kola-Daisi notes, “Events come in different shades and demands. Some people do overnight things. Corporate organisations will do during the day. In the social sector, we have weddings or engagements. This means that whether you are here or in Kaduna, we have to be there.”
At 10, Mobile Screens and Sounds Limited has a lot of sweet stories to tell. From a bank employee, Kola-Daisi has tuned 360 degrees to become an employer of labour. He hopes to do more in the coming years though he concedes that the current economic situation is affecting the entertainment industry too.
“It is very difficult and challenging now, unlike in the past eight years when we bought one equipment every six months to add to our stock. In the last one and a half years, we have hardly bought any because of the high rise in dollars, which is contending with import duties, clearing fees and all. People are no longer patronising the industry like before. However, I believe things are going to get better with the new exchange rate.
“If we have good equipment, both audio and visual, the quality of our production in terms of Nollywood will be much better and higher than it is today. I believe if there is funding and an enabling environment, and with the government and right authorities doing their own part, we can achieve the projected figure we talk about. Because if you look at it, the industry helps in a way to curb crimes, unemployment and other things among the youth. The government should really focus more on this industry.”