Mal. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General, NITDA
Mal. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General, NITDA

Big Data, Entertainment and the Digital Economy In Nigeria
By Inyene Ibanga

TECH DIGEST – Economic and social activities are always generating vast quantities of data daily. The constant generation of data through social media, business applications, and telecoms has resulted in the creation of enormous volumes of information.

The high-speed growth in the volume and variety of data is attributed to the rapid evolution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and the increasing digitisation of production and business processes.

This generation of continuous and massive data can be referred to as big data.

It is reported that about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day. This big data can be transmitted, collected, aggregated and analysed to provide insights into processes and human behaviours and actions.

Big data describes a collection of huge data mined from different sources and yet growing exponentially over time. The ability to organise and analyse information is crucial for profitable business decisions.

Analyses of large sets of data help companies to discover patterns and other useful information. Through the process, businesses can understand the information contained within this data better, and this also help them to identify the data that is most important to their current and future business decisions.

It provides a basis to identify efficiencies that can be applied in various sectors to improve operations, provide better customer services, create innovative products and services, boost greater competitiveness and increase profitability. There is improved productivity for companies that adopt big data.

Big data is excavated from multiple sources and arrives in multiple formats, which businesses, as well as government agencies, analyse for use as actionable information to address particular situations or circumstances.

Several countries across the world are already using big data for monetary and fiscal policy formulation, anti-money laundering activities; combating financing of terrorism; crime prediction and prevention; national defence/security management; national identity management system, and the overall enhancement of efficiency for faster decision making in governance.

Healthcare; education; insurance, travel and tourism; telecoms; government and military; entertainment/media are among sectors that rely on big data for productivity and profitability.

However, the entertainment and media industry is rated as the leading user of big data as they align with new business models for the creation, marketing and distribution of their content. This is because consumers now leverage digital technologies/innovations to search and access content anywhere, at any time and on any device.

The accelerating speed of emerging digital technologies is allowing entertainment companies to mine and deploy big data that transform the ways they monetise both content and distribution. Also, it offers a large opportunity for innovation in product offerings, branding, and business models that revolve around the user experience.

As such, with the effective use of big data, businesses are able to make faster and more informed business decisions.

Nigeria’s entertainment (film and music) industry is the second-biggest non-oil sector of the country. The entertainment industry revenue estimated to be worth $5.55 billion dollars in 2019 is projected to grow to $10.8 billion dollars in 2023.

However, the total music revenue in Nigeria is estimated to rise to $73 million dollars in 2021, owing largely to the challenge of piracy.

Recognised as the second-largest in the world, the Nigerian film industry (popularly called Nollywood) is one of the priority sectors identified in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Federal Government. It employs about a million people and generates over $7billion dollars for the economy.
Nollywood has consistently created job opportunities for scriptwriters, directors, cinematographers, actors, make-up artists, audio/video editors, costumiers/stylists, and sundry specialists in the country.

As the primary resource driving the digital economy, the importance of establishing a robust strategy for the exploration and management of big data (content) in the entertainment industry cannot be over-estimated.

The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as the leading enablers of Nigeria’s digital economy, need to exploit the huge potential of the entertainment industry for adding value to the digital economy.

Strategic industry collaboration between all segments of the entertainment industry (film and music) and NITDA can result in a harvest of prosperity for industry actors and the country as a whole.

Interestingly, the sector boasts of a single platform that attracts the largest population of Nigeria’s creative and energetic resource – the youths – endowed with the potential to impact the transformation of the country into a foremost digital economy.

While participating in an on-line U.S.-Nigeria Digital Trade standards workshop organised by the US-Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), the NITDA boss, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa hinted that data plays a critical role in a digital economy and in everyday activities through the gadgets that dominate our lives. He gave the example of the various uses to which a seemingly innocuous gadget such as the mobile phone is being put behind the scene.

NITDA can begin by initiating a forum where key stakeholders in the entertainment sector come together with tech enthusiasts, innovators, and investors to proffer ideas on the deployment and regulation of technologies.

Moreover, the successful implementation of the Digital Nigeria project would build the capacity of the abundant human capital in the entertainment business by developing their skills in the application of big data for the successful digitisation of the economy.

By the time NITDA and its supervisory Ministry undertake practical measures for strengthening partnership with entertainment stakeholders, all sectors of our national life would experience the impact of a stable digital economy, where creative talents can truly prosper.

Inyene Ibanga is Managing Editor TechDigest and writes from Wuye District, Abuja.