Chairman/CEO of HS Media Group, Taye Ige, has declared the readiness of his media production outfit to host and produce big media entertainment events such as The voice Nigeria and the Coke Studio in Nigeria.
While commenting on his mega studio projects which industry experts have described as the largest in Africa, Taye Ige, in a recent interview said “HS Media Group is set to start a revolution in television production in Nigeria soon. He said the same kind of revolution experienced when the mobile telephone was launched in 2001 would be the same thing for television production when digitization is launched in Nigeria.
According to the veteran sports marketer, the HS Media Complex is a television studio/production complex, situated at the heart of Ikeja, the capital of Lagos State, some 20 minutes from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport and standing on just a little over two acres of land.
“There are five television production studios in the complex, the largest being 900 square-metre adjoined by two others which are 175 square metres each, and then there are two other ones that we call presentation studios, and they are 55 square metre each. So, whether the 900 square-metre studio qualifies as the biggest in Africa is what I do not know.
Ige said he “conceived the idea of an extra-large studio from a project I was involved in years ago with Guinness. They had what was called “Guinness the Match”, that involved simulation of a football pitch right inside a television studio. We looked everywhere from Lagos to Ogun, even as far as Ibadan and Osun State, and we could not find a suitable studio, until we had to settle for what was the biggest then, which is the LTV 8 studio.
With that experience at the back of his mind, when the opportunity came to build a studio of his own, “I thought, the only thing one can bring into the market that will make HS Media stand out is that size. I actually wanted a 1200 or 1300 square metre size, but superior reasoning around me thought otherwise, and said that it would be difficult to maintain good occupancy all year round and that we would be lucky to even gross 20% occupancy with that volume. We were told that we could do something smaller but still big enough to accommodate the most ambitious of productions and equipped with modern day gadgetry; and create illusion of an even bigger space. For instance, with cameras fixed with appropriate zoom lenses, you can actually create a 1,800sq.m space in a 900 square environment. But you know, money is the name of the game. For instance, some of those lenses are more expensive than the cameras themselves. So, that was why we were able to conclude at 900 square metre and create two other studios of 175 square-metre each.
He said the HS Media mega studio project will restore Nigeria’s pride and save the nation the embarrassment it has suffered in recent times when projects like big time reality shows that were supposed to be hosted and produced in Nigeria such as The Voice Nigeria and others were taken to Johannesburg, South Africa.
He said Coke Studio, despite the fact that it was dominated by Nigerian musical stars was taken to Nairobi, Kenya, all because of facilities. “The main reason cited by production houses for taking these shows abroad is lack of the requisite facilities and expertise. The facilities needed are the kind of things we are trying to provide here at HS Media Studios. For instance, when fully completed, you can build any reality show and house the inmates in our Studio One. And you know when digitization comes, that is when the boom will come from production, and that is what we are positioning for.
Taye Ige revealed that the studios are in various stages of completion and the completed ones are busy 24/7. “First, we have our programmes. We have HotSports, which has run for close to two decades, and it is still running. We are producing it every week. We have ‘UAC Unscripted’, the wave-making celebrity family game show, sponsored by Nigeria’s biggest indigenous conglomerate, UACN Plc. We have our radio programmes and we have audio booths supporting the completed studio. According to him, “far more important is that every weekend, from Friday to Sunday, we are locked down on StarTimes. We produce six live matches every weekend, for StarTimes. Matches of the Bundesliga, i.e the German League, the Italian Serie A, the French League 1 and matches of the Russia 2018 European World Cup Qualifiers. These matches are produced live on World Football Channel on StarTimes.