Tosin Ajibade’s Speech At The New Media Conference 2022 Edition
The New Media Conference was held on Saturday, October 29, 2022, in Lagos at the British Council Nigeria office with attendees from across the continent. The 2022 edition of the New Media Conference focused on how viral media is shaping different facets of human interaction including arts, technology, finance, fashion, content creation and politics.
The event was hosted by Isabella Adediji, the founder of Yellow Tamarind Productions, a media, and PR company based in Lagos, and sponsored by The British Council Nigeria. The speech was given by the convener, Oluwatosin Ajibade, which covers different sectors that boosted ‘The Viral Economy’.
Ladies, gentlemen, distinguished guests, and members of the Press, it is truly an honour to welcome you to the 2022 edition of the New Media Conference.
Since its inception in 2015, the New Media Conference has brought t+ogether key stakeholders across digital marketing, advertising, technology, arts, entertainment, finance, and other sectors — both leading and nascent — to push forward conversations around the ever-changing digital media space and how those changes are shaping the world around us.
Over the years, the New Media Conference (NMC) has been graced by thought leaders and experts from all walks of life including Larry Madowo (CNN Correspondent in Kenya), Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade (Google Nigeria), Wana Udobang, Subomi Plumptre (Volition Cap), Ameyaw Debrah (Media Entrepreneur and Blogger, Ghana), Bidemi Zakariyau (LSF PR), Jumoke Okikiolu (Marketing Manager Budweiser), Remi Ogunkoya (Red Media Africa), Chude Jideonwo (Joy inc.), Stephanie Busari (CNN Nigeria), Aibee Abidoye (Chocolate City Group), Fela Durotoye, and M.I Abaga, Adaora Mbelu amongst others.
This year’s edition, which is the first since the world braved the Coronavirus pandemic, builds on the successes of previous conferences, and raises the bar so all attendees can take home a clear picture of the opportunities that have recently emerged in the digital media world. I am personally excited about this event, the quality of speakers and panels, as well as the conversations to be had. The deliberations today would provide important perspectives to the “new normal” that have been ushered in the post-pandemic era.
I would like to thank our sponsors, chief of them, the British Council, Goldmyne TV and News central TV as well as other partners that have been with us through the years and those that have keyed into our vision to contribute to a resilient digital economy in Nigeria.
The theme for NMC 2022 is “The Viral Economy”. Undeniably, we live in a time where speed is no longer considered a mere competitive advantage, rather, has become essential. In the last two decades, humanity has enhanced the processing speed of computers to execute highly complex tasks in nanoseconds. Our internet capabilities are already pushing past 5G, we operate high-speed transportation systems and can have fast food at the click of a button. This “need for speed” can be viewed as an inevitable response to the geometric growth in the global population from under a billion in the 1700s to 7.4 billion today. As social creatures, naturally, the increase in population means there are more people to interact with and more data points to take into consideration in decision-making, hence the need for effective communication channels that can reach the greatest possible number of people of interest at low cost and within the shortest time frame. This phenomenon coupled with technological advancement birthed the Viral Economy.
WATCH THE FULL SPEECH BELOW
The Viral Economy is a blend of the words “Viral” and “Economy”; the former refers to the quick spread of information across internet users and the latter is defined as the sum of activities related to the production and consumption of goods and services. Put together, Viral Economy captures the economic value created by leveraging fast paced and wide-reaching digital platforms and information technologies, typically social media, to create awareness and influence perception and behaviour, especially of consumers.
There is no consensus on the exact value of the Viral Economy because of different KPIs for measuring value across the different direct and indirect value streams. Nonetheless, the evidence suggests that through direct and indirect channels the economic value globally runs into billions of dollars. This estimate can be gleaned from the value created by brands and fundraisers from different hashtag campaigns, the monetary value of influencer accounts, as well as indirect value created by other industry participants like creatives, SEO experts, copywriters, digital marketing strategists, and so on. The size of the Viral Economy can also be said to encompass the value of social, physical, and technological infrastructures and platforms built to support virality.
Through the years we have seen very successful campaigns built on viral media, such as the #ALSIcebucketChallenge which reportedly raised $155.0 million — $41.8 million of that in the first two months — to fight “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis”.
The #ShareACoke campaign by Coca-Cola leveraged viral media to create over 1 billion impressions across the internet and, in turn, boosted product sales in the U.S. by 2.5%.
Airbnb’s #Weaccept campaign is yet another example of how participation in the Viral Economy can benefit brands. The campaign set out in the wake of negative reviews around discrimination by Airbnb customers helped the company improve its image as a progressive, inclusive and fair company. The campaign garnered over 87 million impressions and prompted more than 15,000 hosts to volunteer their homes to people in need of shelter.
In terms of personal branding, Senegalese-born Khaby Lame recently became an internet sensation through his Tik Tok skits where he solves complicated tasks through extremely simple methods without uttering words. Thanks to the Viral Economy, the former factory worker is worth at least $5 million based on the most reliable estimates.
In Nigeria, viral social media have not only been instrumental to businesses – both big brands and micro retailers, but they have also enabled the “common person” access to life-changing resources.
Remember Success Adegor? The 7-year-old girl in Warri that trended across social media platforms in 2019 for stubbornly refusing to go home after her teachers punished Success for her parent’s inability to pay school fees. Her famous protests “them go beat me, them go tire” evoked empathy, and Nigerians moved by her love for education volunteered to finance her education up to the university. The media noted Charles Okpaleke, Mr. Jollof, and Super Eagle Star Etebo among intending sponsors.
The viral media has democratized access for content creators in entertainment, especially comedians. Nigerians like Kiekie, Taoomma, Maraji, Layi Wasabi, Oga Sabinus and Broda Shaggi have been able to ride on the wide-reach and low-cost of viral media to share their talents with a global audience. Imagine a situation where there were no viral media, I am positive that the popularity of the talented names I mentioned earlier would not be at the level it is today.
Viral media has impacted the music industry as well. Chukwuka Ekweani, aka Ckay, built a global brand and audience for himself using Tik Tok as a promotional tool to amplify his music content. “Love Nwantiti”, “Emiliana”, and other songs broke the internet and succeeded even in regions where Nigerian music is not popular. Goya Menor Bright, the rapper behind the Ameno Amapaino remix, went viral without having to rely on traditional music distribution channels. His anti-cultism song won the ears of millions in Nigeria and the abroad thanks to likes and shares on Tiktok, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other socials. More recently, “Ku lo sa” by Oxlade has become a global sensation and an example of how music promotion is changing. Nigerian rapper, Blaqbones is known for his viral marketing strategies on social media, his creativity and distinctive rap style.
Alongside growing interests in Artificial Intelligence, Digital currency, and assets, Quantum computing, and the Metaverse in this post-pandemic era, the Viral media is a strategic area of interest and investment for people and businesses. The United Nations Digital Economy Report 2021 projects that this year, digital advertising spending by top digital platforms is expected to reach 60 percent of total media advertising spending, which is around double the share of 2013. One could infer that with the ongoing accelerated digitalization wave as brands and businesses increase their online presence their advertising budget would likely be skewed in favour of digital media rather than traditional ones.
Beyond business and profit-oriented organizations, the Viral Economy presents new and unprecedented opportunities and challenges for our political reality and social justice. Examples like the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and Brexit, the #Metoo, the #BlackLivesMatter, #EndSars, and the Ukraine-Russian war all serve to remind us about the power of Virality in shaping and influencing our reality. In 2020, Nigerian feminists and protesting youths brought visibility to the EndSars protests, secured international support and funding, and operated an efficient rescue line for Nigerians that were detained for protesting police brutality.
Ahead of the 2023 General elections, Nigerians have taken to social media platforms to campaign for their choice aspirants, especially voters who describe themselves as Obidients. In fact, early polls from international agencies and news media on election sentiment suggests that the Nigerian presidential election might, for the first time in a while, feature a strong third political force.
In today’s conference, we all, as stakeholders, will thoroughly explore the dimensions of this Viral Economy both in the global and local contexts, including the up and downsides, how to position for a global audience, cross-sector collaboration, implications of virality for copyrights, the effect of virality on representative democracy, new marketing strategies, how to monetize platforms, promoting social causes with the new media, safeguarding against misinformation, and creating sustainable audience engagement.
I will encourage everyone to fully participate and engage our speakers and panellists because the conversations at this conference will provide exclusive insights that are transformative. I welcome you all once again and wish you a wonderful experience. Thank you.