Folks, I was so determined to get a podcast to you on the topic in the headline above. Nevertheless, last weekend into this week has been nothing short of hectic, so I really have not had a meaningful opportunity to do so. However, I am reducing my thoughts in writing and I will still share a podcast on these deals, in addition to other news I think you should be aware of. For now, if you are part of the entertainment industry, you should definitely not be caught sleeping on the following top three deals that I believe will have an overall impact on our ecosystem, in the long run. They are:
1. AMAA-Facebook Partnership: In early August, news broke of The Africa Movie Academy Awards inked deal with Facebook.
Excerpts follow about the deal from an article written by Nigeria’s Vanguard Newspaper:
“A commercial and cultural partnership leveraging AMAA’s platform cum Africa’s film and entertainment and Facebook’s global platform.
“It is aimed at leveraging the digital reach of the most persuasive social network.
“Over the past decade, AMAA has helped cement Africa’s status on the global film scene.
“And as Facebook launches its first ever presence in Africa, it’s working with AMAA to drive digital impact in film and entertainment..”
“…with 1.4 billion active users; 120 million of whom are in Africa, the Facebook partnership offers the opportunity to further amplify African brands to the world.”
I believe the above deal may be a game changer, especially when it comes to distribution of Africa’s creative works within and outside the continent. I also find the team behind AMAA quite strategic and deliberate in choosing this particular deal for several reasons. First, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, founder of AMAA and CEO for the past ten years, among other shareholders in AMAA, have a keen and vested interest in the African cinema space. In fact, they also own cinemas on the continent. So, it is clear they are following the money trail, and cleverly positioning themselves for what is an inevitable windfall.
Second, I discussed AMAA’s strategic move in taking its annual nominees party to Hollywood in June, for the first time in the event’s history. It makes total sense and the Facebook deal only underscores what may lie ahead for Africa’s entertainment ecosystem, at large. It is now left for us to see the kind of true inroads AMAA makes in Hollywood and how AMAA will bridge the US-Africa divide, especially in creating a demand for African entertainment products in Western mainstream, and also on the continent. In the meantime, let’s see what exactly the Facebook-AMAA deal means for the creative industry at large, and AMAA’s subsidiaries.
Finally, I suspect another key strategy for AMAA, at this stage, will be to spend more time on the legal front as enforcement of intellectual property rights on the continent become clearly more imperative. If you don’t get enforcement in place, you and partners like Facebook might have a hard time getting all of the money you probably should. Speaking of that, I found it to be a very ballsy move to hear AMAA’s Anyiam-Osigwe say she was “angry/anger(ed)” with former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Considering ties within AMAA to Okonjo-Iweala, it is a pretty bold statement to make (watch clip below). AMAA’s deal with Facebook is said to encompass the fashion, film and music space. For now, all eyes are on AMAA.Watch AMAA’s Peace Anyiam-Osigwe speak on piracy, start at the 15:44 mark
2. Efe Ogbeni signs a Joint Venture (JV) Deal with Sony/ATV: When it comes to being a respected A&R in Hollywood/America’s music industry, Nigerian-American Efe Ogbeni has definitely earned his stripes. He also wears many hats as an entrepreneur, record label owner and A &R for Enrique Iglesias, Quincy Jones and producer for Red One.
This is not the first time Efe is entering a JV deal. This deal, however, is a noticeable one since it involves one of the largest music publishing houses, Sony/ATV. So what does the deal mean? In English, it means Efe needs money/finance for his businesses and Sony/ATV needs his creative expertise, especially his A&R skills. Efe wants to use the finance he receives from investors to grow his publishing assets, among other things. However, he first needs to make himself attractive to investors. How so? By aligning himself with the brands that the kinds of investors he seeks, pay attention to. That is where Sony/ATV comes in. With this deal, Efe can now provide his A&R creative expertise to Sony/ATV, Sony/ATV in turn becomes the source of financing Efe seeks, among other things; and also receives a stake in the copyrights of the songs of the artists Efe will secure as part of that deal.
3. SESAC buys Harry Fox Agency: This deal, like the AMAA-Facebook deal, has been very quiet. It’s almost like no one really knows about it. I think the excerpt below from Americansongwriters.com succinctly captures the essence of this deal. The final sale price is reported to be $20million.
“The New York Times reported this morning that Nashville-based performance rights organization SESAC just finalized a deal to purchase New York mechanical rights management firm Harry Fox Agency for $35 million. The deal comes at the end of a year-long attempt by SESAC, who competed against bidders like SOCAN and BMI since HFA went up for sale in May of 2014. According to SESAC, the board of HFA parent company NMPA has already approved the transaction and awaits member approval. The transaction will award SESAC the ability to “offer singular licenses for the works of its affiliated writers and publishers that aggregate both performance and mechanical rights.”
“Licensing is fragmented across both multiple types of rights, as well as multiple territories for the streaming services that represent the future growth opportunity of the music industry. The result is a complex, opaque and currently inefficient licensing regime that fails to deliver the best outcomes for creators and publishers, as well as end users,” SESAC Chairman and CEO John Josephson said in a press release. “What excites us about this transaction is the ability it provides to make the licensing process both simpler and more efficient, and in so doing create additional value for music creators and publishers, as well as the digital music platforms.”
“I am thrilled that we have found the perfect strategic buyer in SESAC given their forward-looking approach to rights management and commitment to servicing publishers and songwriters efficiently in the new digital music economy,” NMPA President & CEO David Israelite added. “Not only will this transaction ensure that mechanical licensing continues in the method best for creators, it will also strengthen NMPA for the many battles we are fighting on behalf of all songwriters and music publishers.” – AmericanSongwriter.com
Alright folks. Catch you soon and don’t work too hard. If you are not subscribed to AML’s newsletter, you are “on a long tin” and I simply can’t help you out.