Africa Leaders Magazine

MO ABUDU – CEO and Founder of EbonyLife: Networks “Beginning to See The Light” On African Content

MO ABUDU – CEO and Founder of EbonyLife: Networks “Beginning to See The Light” On African Content

Mosunmola Abudu, better known as Mo Abudu, is a UK born Nigerian famous as a media entrepreneur and philanthropist. She did her master’s in Human Resource Management from London and started a career in HR in the UK. However, she was convinced that the only way to have a lasting impression on the minds of people who have a skewed idea of Africa was to enter show business. She is famous for her talk show called ‘Moments with Mo’, where she interacts with intellectuals and politicians from across the globe. She launched Africa’s first Global Black Multi-Broadcast Entertainment Network ‘Ebony Life Television’ and is the Executive Producer of the reality show ‘The Debaters’ that gives a voice to Africa. She has established various nonprofit making trusts and charity organisations to uplift the poor and downtrodden in her country. She has been included in the Forbes Media list as the first African woman to launch a Pan Africa TV channel and honoured with the Entrepreneur of the Year award. Hollywood Reporter has listed her as one of the 25 most Powerful Women in Global TV and recently she has been honoured with an Honorary Doctorate Degree.

Major networks are “beginning to see the light” by commissioning entertaining content from Africa, according to EbonyLife Founder Mo Abudu, as the heads of production houses in some of the world’s biggest growing content markets spotlighted the challenge of attracting new talent.

MO ABUDU – CEO and Founder of EbonyLife: Networks “Beginning to See The Light” On African Content

Abudu, whose pioneering outfit has tied with Netflix, Sony, AMC and BBC Studios in recent years, said the media world is “understanding that the numbers add up” when they consider there are 1BN people living in the continent and millions more outside who “want content that speaks to them.”

“This isn’t an NGO agenda but our stories can be entertaining,” she added, speaking on a Series Mania panel. “We have pitched and pitched over the last few years and studios are beginning to see the light. We’re getting the power and that’s why we need to tell great stories.”

Abudu cited upcoming Netflix feature Oloture about an undercover Nigerian journalist along with Starz’ Queen Nzinga period drama, which is being exec produced by 50 Cent.

“Gems can be found everywhere,” she added. “For too long the only African story was the story of the slave trade but there’s so much more and we have vast stories of today and the future.”

MO ABUDU – CEO and Founder of EbonyLife: Networks “Beginning to See The Light” On African Content

Along with France’s Newen Studios MD Romain Bessi and Studio Dragon CEO Kim Young kyu, Abudu spotlighted the challenge of attracting a flood of new talent to the growing local industry.

“Black writers and showrunners have not had the opportunity to be in the room at the highest level so the gatekeepers need to let the next generation in,” she explained. “Black actors have been frustrated because there’s not been enough work so finding them is not a problem but with writers we’ll have to start with a new batch and they are beginning to show promise.”

EbonyLife has launched a local free training initiative, which Abudu “tried to sell to every single governor of Lagos over the last eight years,” and has kickstarted an incubator program in the UK for Black creatives.

One of the Lagos alumni has already landed a role in a Netflix show, added Abudu.

Studio Dragon’s Kim, whose scripted outfit has a lucrative deal to produce content for Netflix, said talent relationships when so many shows are being produced are difficult to manage.

“We have in house creators and employees but then also freelance writers and service providers,” he added. “This way of working was quite simple and easy in the past but is now more complicated. We spend a lot of time on each project and have to find the right person at the right time to work on a specific project.”

MO ABUDU – CEO and Founder of EbonyLife: Networks “Beginning to See The Light” On African Content

CJ E&M subsidiary Studio Dragon works with more than 200 creators and has made dozens of shows for Netflix, which owns 4.99% of its shares. Backing up comments made yesterday by Banijay, Fremantle, ITV Studios and Asacha bosses, Newen’s Bessi, who recently succeeded Bibiane Godfroid, said the scrap for the best European talent is creating headaches.

“Platforms want A-list talent but we only have so much in a given country,” he said. “We need access to the next generation of writers, directors and actors.”

MO ABUDU – CEO and Founder of EbonyLife: Networks “Beginning to See The Light” On African Content

To mitigate the problem, Newen takes a “Schengen approach” to talent and content ideas, exchanging plans between its different labels and providing deficit financing and development funding, he added. The group’s Eva Green-starring Liaison is about to become the first French language AppleTV+ show to launch.

source: deadline.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top