Post-COVID-19: Opportunities for Nigeria media, communicators

There are over 4 million cases of coronavirus infections and a staggering 300 thousand COVID-19 casualty figures globally. The impact of the pandemic has reached dreadful proportions, leaving trails of economic woes even in the most advanced countries.COVID-19 continues to take a devastating toll on all of the aspects of our lives.

African nations, although most of them recording lower COVID-19 infection numbers are not spared the attendant hardship. As a result of the lockdown, the virus has affected every sector of the Nigerian economy including the telecommunications, media, and technology sectors. Although all over the world, telecommunications services have seen a significant increase in demand for its products since the advent of COVID-19, the increase has not resulted in profitability. The exception to this mutual exclusiveness is for giant tech companies like Facebook and Zoom, who have seen increased revenue from the increase in consumption of their products.

In Nigeria, communication practitioners are concerned that the coronavirus epidemic has worsened the already bad state of livelihood for journalists and other media professionals pre COVID-19.

The Effect of Coronavirus Outbreak on Nigeria’s Communication Industry

In Nigeria and globally the rise in demand for data and voice-related services related to the lockdown has not translated into gains. As people are forced to work from home, the unautomated and poorly tech-suited media practice in Nigeria has resulted in the loss of jobs and non-payment largely due to the foot-soldier style of media practice in Nigeria. The heavily politicized business climate is also a key factor.

Because of the facts mentioned above, Nigerian journalists and media practitioners have been unable to reap from the windfall of revenue stimulated companies and businesses stronger dependence on virtual communication services to sustain their operations. The attendant splurge of payments by businesses goes only to operations that have a strong virtual operation framework to support the needs of businesses. And because Nigeria communications industry lacks such technology or technical know-how, they keep missing out on the bounty.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) stated an increase in the volume of voice and data traffic since the lockdown, which has necessitated the installation of more optic cables in the country to boost capacity.

Furthermore, one of Nigeria’s largest telecoms service providers, MTN Nigeria, recently released its unaudited financial result for the first quarter of 2020, showing increased data revenue by 32.4%, Fintech revenue by 22.9%, voice revenue by 12.7% and service revenue by 13.4%. This data implies an average growth in revenue of about 20.3%2. Although the results of the other’s in the industry are yet to be released, we envisage that the results will be somewhat similar.

As companies and businesses continue to adapt to a more virtual work environment, they’ll invest more in cloud infrastructure and continue to patronize big communication players with strong virtual infrastructures such as Facebook, Google, and Zoom. Post-COVID-19 media in Nigeria will be much different than what it ever was, but the demand will be the same – media practitioners in the country must realize that the cheese has moved online and also that adept knowledge about technological savviness is not a luxury but a necessity.

Taking the Pulse of the Nation to Determine the Survival of the Nigerian Media Industry Post-COVID-19
Nigeria is facing the issue of being organized. At a time like this, national coordination is needed which Nigeria is having trouble handling. The cities of Lagos, Abuja, and Kano, all early centers for COVID-19 cases, have been on lockdown. Dr. Sani Aliyu, Nigeria’s National Coordinator of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force during WHO media briefing expressed reported that the country has been “trying to harmonize all needs across the board” and “adopt an all-society” approach but pointed to the problems of lockdown in a country where, day to day, lots of people depend on leaving the house to make the money they need to live.

And while the humanitarian and safety-related aspects of this outbreak are top of mind all over the world, it’s unquestionable that social distancing, quarantining, and staying home will affect media consumption, which could rise to 60%, according to recent research from Nielsen’s U.S. media team.

Right now content creators, networks, studios, media agencies, advertisers, and brands have significantly more opportunities to engage with consumers because of the correlation between the time at home and media consumption. So for TV networks for example; increased TV time might warrant an adjustment to programming schedules-or programming itself.

The best strategy for Nigerian journalists and other media practitioners to tap into the opportunities presented by the pandemic is to become much more creative and strategic at the packaging and offering content as a service (CaaS) through standardized virtual platforms or business systems. For immediate gains, these practitioners should explore freelancing opportunities and opportunities to self-market to a more diversified audience on platforms such as Upwork, PPH, and The CoBuilders.

Nigerian Media- The Harsh Truth

It is high time that media owners in Nigeria started thinking of alternative sources of revenue as the conventional advertising model of paper, radio, and TV is substantially limited such that revenue from such sources cannot sustain media outlets and their employees anymore. Now more than ever, Nigerian journalists and media practitioners must step in the role of global practitioners with a diversified portfolio of profitable creativity.

Journalists should learn to host online conferences as well as write books. They should be able to spin up web apps as well as capable of seizing on breaking events. The focus needs to shift from writing for domestic newspapers to hosting video shows online on platforms like YouTube, Zoom, Vimeo, etc.

President Muhammadu Buhari appreciated the Nigerian media on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. “We cannot overemphasize the role of the media in keeping people informed and educated on the pernicious virus, which has no friend or foe. It simply seeks to mow down anyone and everyone in its path, and public awareness is very important, lest we become like sitting ducks. The media are doing this quite effectively,” the President said.

Conclusion: Organizations will inevitably need to plan and re-strategize to prepare for the new reality and try 100 percent to remain relevant. Therefore, there is a solid need to partner with professional advisers to prepare organizations for the post-COVID-19 world.

Source: Media Career Network


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