Internet Skit Creators Shaking Airwaves, Can they Beat Nollywood Stars at their Game?
One of the benefits of the internet is the ability of individuals to express themselves without barriers or hurdles of entering a market they want to operate in. It is so democratized that every individual has the right and access to make his idea known to the world not minding the corner of the world he or she operates from, as long as there are good contents to offer.
The internet indeed has made life a lot easier, confers fame and popularity and financial independence on quite a number. Those who would have been rarely recognized even in their localities are breaking boundaries and becoming celebrities.
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tik Tok and many others, otherwise known as social media platforms offer express opportunities for self-expression by Nigeria’s creative talent. These platforms offer unfettered access to content creators.
The video-sharing platform, YouTube has over the years been a threat to television and cinema. It reduces the traditional restrictions – time and location- to access contents on Television and the need to sit willy-nilly to watch programmes on terrestrial stations. In fact, consumer/audience had little or no option!
The advent of YouTube, however, gives a consumer the privilege and access to make the choice of what to watch at any particular time that suits him.
With thousands of video contents online varying from entertainment, documentary, tutorial, sport, business, and more, consumers are able to make their choice without being caged.
With the opportunities these platforms have given, one of the major and booming activities are drama skits. It is factual to state that entertainment rules most of the contents either on social media or traditional media.
A skit according to Merriam Webster Dictionary is a short serious dramatic piece especially one done by amateurs or a short informal performance intended to educate or inform.
Over the years, Internet skit creators also known as online comedians have emerged all over the world by proving relatable and engaging contents for the audience.
Before the widespread popularity of YouTube and other online video sharing platforms, skits have been a part of promotional contents for the majority of entertainers especially those in the stand-up comedy scene to promote their shows. Those who have made use of this concept in the past are comedians like Ayo Makun (AY) for his yearly Ay comedy show, Basket Mouth, Gbenga Adeyinka, Julius Agwu, Ali Baba and others. However, in those days, they were still required to send their skits to TV stations to air for the promotions.
But in recent times, skit-making has become an industry on its own just like Nollywood. Nollywood is the Nigerian movie industry that comprises formal actors in the entertainment scene.
Nollywood is mostly seen as an industry that involves diligence, hard work and a level of ‘’whom you know’’ before you can get recognized. Therefore, the entry barrier is relatively high even as the “poster boys and ladies” of the industry get all the juicy roles, more or less to the detriment of the talented but unsung creative’s hunger to make a name. The lockdown that accompanied the covid-19 pandemic became an elixir for this set of creative. The era brought out the fire in younger people to think creatively and outside the box by looking inward and developing the quiescent “talents” in them.
While entertainment is make-believe, some of the movies produced are devoid of rational imagination and concepts. It is in Nollywood that we see old actors who literally should have been taking the role of grandparents still acting the role of young school lovers. Anyways, that is a story for another day.
Credit to operators of the Nigerian film industry, they have achieved a remarkable feat from near nothing. According to a report by One.org, “the Nigeria Nollywood industry is the second-largest producer of movies in the world behind Bollywood, but ahead of Hollywood and as of 2014, the industry worth $5.1 billion and makes up 5% of Nigeria’s GDP”.
While the skit segment of the industry is still very recent and no accurate figure could be ascribed to its worth, industry watchers are true of the opinion that the segment poses a viable challenge to the more established and perhaps more cohesive Nollywood. However, the challenge they believe is real and potent.
Contents is king
The new generations of people are constantly looking for what they can relate with and what speaks to their needs at a particular time and because most of these comedians understand the new generation of consumers, they are able to get more followers and audience for their contents.
“The Nigerian skit makers are seriously making a great impact and connections with the people thereby making the entertainment scene more lucrative and engaging, said Segun Ibukun, a banker. Segun’s growing love for skits, like many of his generation, stems from the fact that “The world is tensed already with bad news all around, people need something to make them relax and laugh without necessarily wasting precious time”
Segun and his likes’ attitude have continued to spur them on while making tons of money. “Some of these online comedians have made their impact beyond Nigeria and getting recognized around the world”, he said.
Emmanuella is a kid comedienne who started making skits with her uncle, Mark Angel and within few years, she has bagged numerous awards both home and abroad. She currently has over 1 million subscribers on YouTube.
In contrast to what Nollywood provides, these comedians understand the need to create a niche for themselves despite playing in the same field. For example, comedienne, Apaokagi Adedoyin Maryam aka Taaooma is known for her “motherly” concept and how parents discipline their children. Samuel Perry aka Broda Shaggi is known for his “agbero” street urchin behaviors and rascality of the street guys.
Debo Adebayo aka Mr. Macaroni is known for his sugar daddies roles. Full of adventure, he mimics their wasteful spending habits and exploitation of young girls.
Woli Agba pitches his ideas on prophets and their authoritative attitudes; Lasisi Elenu is known for his usual rants on IG; Frank Donga would always comically pose as a job seeker with numerous work experiences but without luck; Mc Lively hinges his creative ideas on the plight of graduates seeking for jobs.
Others are Sydney Talker, Nasty Blaq, Yawa Skit, Craze Clown, Josh2funny, Oluwadolarz and many more. ‘These young actors deploy satire to point out the ills and knock some senses into their viewing audience’, says Evelyn Ayogu.
While a typical Nollywood movie may take between 3 -6 months to produce with so many resources – human, material, and funds – needed, and may still be at the mercy of pirates, skit creators however beat the odds as they can produce good content in few hours, with the most basic gadgets and resources. It does not in any way cost him an arm and a leg to produce good content and yet he is still able to put out hilarious and entertaining material. This gives operators the privilege to produce frequently and consistently.
Precision, Clarity and Humour
Time is very important and precious to many and people would want to get the best satisfaction with their limited time and resources. A recently published study from researchers at the Technical University of Denmark suggests the collective global attention span is narrowing due to the amount of information that is presented to the public.
Pointedly, another study puts the average attention span of millennials at approximately 8 – 12 seconds.
The Skit creator has come to grasp with this reality. “The arrays of information and contents that come to our face every day, people are very busy to stay one hour to consume a particular content. They are always in hurry and if you fail to give them the reason to stay with you in the first 30 seconds of your content, you may eventually lose a fan”, explained Segun Joseph, a marketing and brand analyst.
“The concept of precision and clarity are basic things internet comedians are able to work with, they understand that the average consumer has hundreds of choices to make in few seconds, they are able to work through his mind, give him what he needs within the short period. They understand that a consumer values his time, therefore, they make their video content simple and straight to the point without losing the humorous part”, Mr. Joseph further reiterates.
Comparatively, unlike a normal movie that takes an average on 1hr 30 minutes, comedians are able to effectively communicate their message within 1 to 5 minutes, effectively cutting off the “nonsense” and still gives the consumer values for their time.
In recent times, skit makers have started tapping into the Nollywood avalanche of talents to further boost their skits’ popularity. For instance, Mr Macarroni has featured top Nollywood actors such as Tony Umez, Taiwo Hassan, Patience Ozokwor and Femi Adebayo. Others on list long list of top celebrities featured include Peter Okoye, Don Jazzy among others.
While these can be seen as collaboration, it is also a good way to make some of these Nollywood actors who have been off the screen for a while bring back old memories and compensate the viewer for his time. Such ‘collabo’ as it is often called include Tajudeen Oyewole, popularly known as Abija, Fatai Odua known as Lalude; Olaiya Igwe and others. Some skits these old actors were featured include, Mr Macarroni’s My In-Law From Ghana featuring Olaiya Igwe; My Babalawo In-Law ft Lalude; Pray For Officer Woos And Small Stout Ft. Abija among others.
To show that skit industry is growing in acceptance, these comedians within a short period of time have gained thousands of subscribers and still counting.
For instance, Mr. Macarroni has over 300 thousand subscribers on YouTube; Broda Shaggi, 900 thousand; Taaooma, 400 thousand; and many more.
With the right creative and entertaining contents, the skit industry will remain an industry to reckon with.
While consumers will always seek optimum satisfaction for their time and “data”, it will be the responsibility of these content makers to satisfy the consumers’ want.
From Comedy to Making Millions
Though making skit has it hurdles especially when we consider the consistency needed to create loyal followers on social media and keep them. Creating relatable content is indeed a lucrative craft for those who have been able to gain a good number of fan base.
Although, there is no fixed rate card to attest to what these comedians charge but it’s safe to say that some earn as high N500,000 – N1 million Advertise or offer to promote placement services.
For instance, during an interview session with TV host Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, popular Instagram influencer, and skit comedian, Gloria Oloruntobi otherwise known as Maraji said though she started her comic act to deal with boredom but in 2 years she has been making millions just by creating paid skit. Talking about how much she makes for a paid skit, she said; “I was making 10k per post in 2016. But now, I make posts for N500k – N1million, and I get them very often that I turn some down. ”
Also Net.ng report shows the Instagram earning of these comedians thus: Lasisi Elenu – N300,000; Mc Lively – N300,000; Broda Shaggi – N300,000; Oluwa Dollz – N250,000; Woli Arole – N400,000; Woli Agba – N300,000; Frank Donga – 500,000.
Another comedian, Peter Trailblazer, says he makes between N 1.5Million to 4 Million per year while charging at least N150,000 per brand advert.
Apart from getting brand adverts, YouTube as a platform also provides an avenue for filmmakers to make a considerable amount of money on their contents. As people put their funny videos on YouTube, the profit potential from these video performances might surprise you. The Wall Street Journal estimates comedian Ray William Johnson made $1 million in a single year from his YouTube videos.
Attracting the Ads, Products Demos & More Pay
Corporate brands are beginning to pay more attention to social media advertising in view of the roles Skit comedians are playing to influence the audience. Some years ago, the influencer marketing arena was limited only to celebrities and but now the narrative has changed to including content creators who ply their trade using social media as a tool.
Brands and services are now using the rising influence of skit and comedy to communicate their brands to the consumers.
They leverage the skit maker’s growing number of followers to sell their products and services to a larger audience even to those who are not within the localities but indirectly put it in the mind of the audience. This is possible because they rely on the internet which is not limited by boundaries as these skit makers have audiences around the world.
Selling a product to consumers by communicating the benefit creates more engagement from the consumers than directly putting it in the face of the consumers. This is a unique way these skit makers are able to sell and influence consumers to patronize a product. Using jokes as a vehicle, they communicate the efficacy and usefulness of a brand, product in use demonstration while leaving the audience in a good mood to make a decision.
Brands, products or services which have used this medium to communicate and advertise their products include, Buypower, 1x Bet, Thermocool, Wazobet, OctaFX, Villa Picasso Hotel, Bama Mayonnaise, Domino’s, Onga seasoning, Visa etc.
No doubt, players in the creative industry – Nollywood, and Skits makers – are fishing from the same pond as far as TV advertising budget is concerned, can the internet skit creators intensify effort to beat Nollywood at its own game? As they say, only time can tell.