Can Mo Abudu get us to the promise land in Nollywood?
My first encounter with Aunty Mo was on TV, I looked forward to her shows every week on Moments with MO. What fascinated me most of the time was the fact that I get to know a few things about celebrities, and those doing great stuff out there. She has no idea what that meant to young Nigerians growing up back then. She gave people a voice, sometimes it was people who were sick or fighting for a cause, other times it was the lifestyle of important personalities. Mo Abudu still remains resolute and unhindered in rewriting Africa’s narrative in various ways she can find.
Mosunmola Abudu (Mo Abudu) is one of Africa’s most successful women. She is a media giant for Africa in broadcasting, an entrepreneur and most importantly a talk show host. She is the founder of Ebonylife TV, an African multi-broadcast entertainment network — whose goal is to portray Africa stories to the world — that resonated around Africans across the globe. Mo Abudu is set to open up a Video On Demand (VoD), EbonylifeOn on July 1 for Nigerians. The platform will be home to content ranging from series, movies, lifestyle and entertainment.
Mo Abudu who expanded from Calabar (TINAPA) to Lagos in 2015 made an entry into the movie business with the movie The Wedding party. And ever since then its been a roller coaster. The Wedding party 1 & 2 grossed over ₦500 million. This has made the business model change drastically, focusing more energy on movie content than the TV network. The truth is that the television network needs content to scale. She must have realised that early on and made a drastic investment in her content.
Mo’s decision to create movies came just at the time the Nollywood industry was experiencing a mind-shift with entrants from FilmOne Distribution and Inkblot Production who were ready to invest millions in movie equipment and manpower. Can Mo take the Nollywood industry to the promise land, here is how she can?
Mo Abudu announced in March that she was partnering with Sony Pictures Television (SPT) and that they had concluded a three – year deal with Ebonylife TV that would include co-production of The DahomeyWarriors, a series about the Amazons who took on French colonialists in the 19th century West African kingdom. This is just one of the many partnerships Mo Abudu has been able to negotiate in the last couple of years. Her business background came in handy with relationships and expertise she has garnered before venturing into the media business.
The way Mo has been able to get corporate brands to support our movies in cash and kind has been unbelievable. Partnerships like that would afford her the opportunity to do more.
Every great idea needs finance for execution. Let’s say Mo has so many lofty ideas just like many brilliant minds in the Nollywood industry but without finance, she would get frustrated just like the lot. Mo has access to capital, not just physical cash but her network is not “small boys”. At the premiere of The Wedding Party 2 last year you could see the men and women of the upper-class. This will give her the needed boost whenever she has great ideas and in need of finance for execution.
If there is anything that makes growth easily managed, it is structure. Mo who is a Human Resource consultant knows the importance of structure. The Ebonylife team span across diverse backgrounds and location but yet she has been able to manage the team irrespective of her tight schedule. This is what other Nollywood heavyweights lack, STRUCTURE. Mo who has invested time and resource in building a structure for her media empire would have the privilege to attract businesses both Foreign and Local. It should not be a surprise that Sony is partnering with her, who else would they have partnered with?
She is the silent one doing the imaginable at Ebonylife. While most people see her mother taking all the accolades, TED has she is fondly called works hard to make her mum proud. Temi who has a BSc in Management with Marketing and a Master of Arts (MA) in Material and Visual Culture is the lady behind the curtain. The transition between Mo and TED in the future will definitely be smooth. Ted has shown and proven herself with TV shows and movies under her belt.
Ted runs operations at EbonyLife TV and special projects. People sometimes miss the main goal. Mo Abudu is in her 50s and definitely needs help to do the running around, who else could do that without any bais than Ted? Ted who is producing a new series Castle and Castle on July 1, is about to unleash herself fully and what we can expect from the EbonyTv dynasty in the future.