The socio-economic impact of storytelling and how Multichoice enriches Nigerian lives


Two decades ago, as the world rolled into the new millennium, the global committee of countries, through the United Nations came up with eight international development goals. This marked one of the highlight decisions the world had ever taken. For everyone around the world, the Millennium Development Goals signified a huge mission that was going to transform our world for the better.

In 2015 when the goals reached their ‘expiry date’, with some of the key objectives still unmet, a new 15-year timeline was set for yet another group of goals, this time called the Sustainable Development Goals. From eight goals to seventeen new goals, five years in, the world can say that a major shift seems to be happening.

One clear indication of this, is in the way business operations for many organizations around the world have evolved. With many companies becoming more conscious of how their affairs affect the environment, how consumers interact with their products, and how much value they really add to society, corporate social responsibility or value, has moved from being an item on the checklist to become a business core.

Now, while many businesses seem to be playing catch-up, there are others even in Africa, who unknowingly, but with great startup vision, had laid the foundation and built a template for what a socially responsible company should look like.

Established in 1993, Multichoice Nigeria had a 7-year lead time, before the MDGs became a guide and used those years to build a solid business that combines profit and purpose. Today, that business represents what shared prosperity is, having created the right mix of opportunities for its people to grow, while helping to build an industry that ranks as the second-largest in the world and the most loved in Africa.

As people say, if content is king, distribution is definitely queen, and this thinking remains why Nollywood owes a lot of the accolades it gets today to Multichoice Nigeria. Between 2015 and 2019, Accenture in its new report for Multichoice, estimates that about $428million has gone into the local content production business of Multichoice, mostly in developing local creativity and building the production infrastructure to support it.

To put this investment in more perspective, it directly translates to 117,459 hours of local content. That’s huge, on both an African and global scale, even huger given that it’s only from 5 years of enriching lives; definitely more if the organization’s 27 years is brought into view.

These sorts of investments rarely occur without a ripple effect on human capital development, but leaving things to chance isn’t the Multichoice way. The Multichoice Talent Factory is an intentional play at giving equal opportunities to anyone with film and broadcast dreams to pick the skills they require to make a mark in the industry. This further drives the local content goal for Multichoice, and with this platform, they welcome a cohort of 20 students who after one year graduate, are better equipped to keep the African film industry innovative and constantly growing.

On one hand, as Multichoice continues to build more credibility for the entertainment and media industry in Africa, through its investment in local content, future talents, even award shows, it is also ensuring the market for the content they produce grows on the other hand. This process has required a strong supply chain and Multichoice Nigeria has proven equal to the task investing over $1 billion in their distributor, supplier, even installer network in just the last 5 years. With further investment in their 961 employees, in the areas of training and other benefits, it is safe to say they have gone beyond building a business, to building an ecosystem.

Whether this ecosystem model works is a question their recently released socio-economic value report put together by Accenture and covering the last five years of operations answers perfectly. With a contribution of an estimated US$2.1bn to the Nigerian economy between that 5-year period, it is safe to call their DStv and GOtv brands, stellar brands. It also shows they understand the role they play in achieving a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

In Multichoice’s 27 years of operating in Nigeria, their commitment to actually enriching lives as their mantra says, has never been in doubt. Beyond the strides their video content business has made in employing people directly, creating jobs for even more people in adjacent industries, training talents and building infrastructure; the company has always still found a way to give back to the different communities where they operate.

With a portfolio of grassroots sporting programs, various awards that recognize great work from inspiring Africans, essential care for people with sickle cell disorder and investments in education and educational content, Multichoice Nigeria shows it is more than just business.

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