The name Tajudeen Adepetu, might not ring a bell to some people, especially those operating outside the entertainment sector. But popular programmes like: Soundcity, One Love, Family People, Every Day People, Televista, which brought the just ended Mexican soap, Second Chance, on network TV stations and several others, all emanated from his creative stable.
In this interview with AZUH AMATUS, the CEO of Consolidated Media Associates, spoke on a wide range of issues, alongside his plans of becoming the biggest content provider on TV.
Adepetu also denied the insinuations that his outfit has been flooding the airwaves with outdated foreign soaps from Southern American countries.
Enjoy the interaction!
Most Nigerians, especially TV viewers are not aware you are the brain behind Televista, what is the vision behind it?
The vision behind Televista is very simple, basically to entertain the family audience in Nigeria. We looked critically at the general landscape of the TV market and discovered that we are providing the kind of programming that would entertain the family and also educate them.
I have always been consumed by the passion of defining what I want and TV, for me was borne out of that thinking. We are out to always provide educative entertainment for the whole family. We did quite a lot of researches and looked at the general landscape of the TV industry before coming out with Televista.
Televista, in essence, is a combination of different genres of programming ranging from TV series to dramas and telenovellas. Like I said earlier, our TV programmes are specifically targeted at the generality of the family.
Despite all these, most viewers are also not happy with the fact that you are flooding the nation’s air waves with foreign and sometimes outdated soaps, mostly from Southern American countries?
No, we are not only into foreign programmes, we are also into national programmes and dramas. Second Chance, the Mexican telenovella that we just finished showing was not outdated. Wicked Games, the one currently showing is an up to date American telenovella, Mind you, Televista is a multi-dimensional channel. That means we show programmes from within and outside Nigeria. We want to give our people, what we call universal entertainment. It’s not fair to say because we are Nigerians, we must always watch only Nigerian movies and soaps. We are saying no to that, and insisting that we must also watch quality and entertaining programmes from outside our shores, and be able to live within a global community.
So in essence, all our five channels at Consolidated Media Associates are balanced with both national and international programmes.
These channels include: Soundcity, for music and lifestyle, Televista, for general entertainment, the business TV channel, which also includes sport, there is Village Square, essentially a Naija channel and Spice, dedicated to fashion and style. And I’m proud and happy to tell you that we have successfully promoted these channels since inception.
What would you say separates Televista from the other channels on your stable?
The branding level for Televista is quite different because we have been doing drama for the past ten years.
Mind you, we started with Family Circle. I also believe that because we produce for a specific category of people, some families know some of our channels more than the others. For example, the youths who are young at heart, would probably know more about soundcity and Televista than Village Square and the rest of them.
Why the name Televista?
For me, the name is simply a function of branding, when we wanted to start, we decided to look for a name that is so unique and iconic. Vista, as we all know means different stuffs and all of that.
Do you think Dangerous Game, which is currently on air, will be as interesting and captivating as the just ended Second Chance?
Personally, I think that every programme has its own value and quality. I think this is a story many Nigerians will empathize with, a story that talks about revenge with many sub- themes.
A story basically woven around life and its challenges, in fact, viewers are already hailing it.
But most Nigerian viewers have constantly accused your stable of constantly flooding the air waves with cheap and outdated foreign soaps. What’s your take?
I beg to disagree with that, none of our soap operas is old or archaic; the just ended one was done in the last three years. For me, that was top of the range, same for the current one on air. We bring only current and quality works into the country. We are not into the buying of old and outdated dramas that do not have current production values. We are primarily concerned about the quality of what we give our viewers, whom we hold in high esteem at all times.
How do you source for these foreign programmes?
We are into production and content provision for TV; we do quite a lot of researches and also attend several film markets all over the world, in our quest to get the best for our viewers. We automatically buy the rights of the quality ones that we are sure would add value to the lives of our teeming viewers as well as entertain them.
For ten years, you have been constant with Consolidated Media Associates, what has kept you going?
Our staying power is the fact that we don’t take our viewers for granted. We try as much as possible to give value to our viewers, another of our secret is the fact that we always strive to give out what viewers want to watch and not what we want them to watch.
What would you say are the major challenges, in the last ten years?
Sincerely, the challenges have been enormous but the truth is that life without challenges for me is worthless. I see challenges, as a function of the living and those having something to do for posterity. For me, I deal with challenges on a daily basis. And no matter the enormity of the challenge, I have never thought of quitting. My vision and mission is to provide qualitative entertainment to my people. I’m not going to quit, until I do that to the generality of the people.
When you first started, did you ever envisage that you’d go this far?
I’m not sure that I have reached my destination yet, but we still thank God for his journey mercies. But one thing I know from the beginning was that it was not going to be easy. We will surely get there by the time we are able to dominate the African market and later move over to the international market; our target for the African market is 2010.
How soon do you intend starting your own private TV station?
We have a cable TV station, but do not have a terrestrial one. The unfortunate fact is that in the next three to five years, terrestrial TV stations will cease to exist, because digital TV is gradually taking over. We have a license to operate a cable TV station, its currently operational; we are test transmitting and would be working with DAARSAT.
How are you coping with competitors that are daily springing up, especially in the areas of entertainment and life style TV?
You see, inasmuch as I don’t look at competitions or competitors, it sometimes crosses my sight because of the bandwagon effect. Most of them don’t really know what they are doing. The only part that affects and annoys me, is that they dilute the offering you want to give to the public. Mind you, it’s a very expensive venture, and they use that to distract you from making the kind of money you would have made from the sponsors. But it’s just a matter of time; they would soon dissolve into thin air.
You seem to be working closely with the National Film and Video Censors Board, any special interest?
They are the best thing for the industry and always doing their best trying to help sanitize it. Due to the lack of professionalism, we have not been able to release the two movies we shot a long time ago. But with the new policy from the board, we should be able to do that soon. Emeka Mba and his team at the board mean well for the nation’s film industry, especially Nollywood.
Our dream at CMA is to be the definitive leader in providing TV content for entertainment.
What happened to your popular sitcoms, Family People and Every Day People?
We took them away for further re-branding; they will be back on air very soon. In fact, next year, you will see them bigger and better packaged for maximum home entertainment.
First published, November 2008.