Future-proof your career with digital skills -Dan Akinlolu

Dan Akinlolu, a media executive, consultant, filmmaker, and owner of Grey Consortium, encourages those who want to venture into business to digitize their career as it is the only way to future-proof skills.

Grey Consortium is a below-the-line creative agency that caters to small and medium-scale businesses, individuals, brands, or entrepreneurs that want a stronger and more visual presence in the social media and or digital media content market.

“Learn how to predict the future because today will soon become yesterday if you do nothing for tomorrow. Digitize your career, it is the only way to future proof skills,” says Akinlolu.

The media executive has been living in South Africa for over a decade without any regret and considers South Africa his second home. This has given him a wealth of experience in the industry in the country. He says that his ideal is to concentrate his efforts on rendering video services that are affordable and negotiable. As the market is very competitive, their core focus is to render content and marketing video services.

“Usually my ideal is to concentrate my efforts into rendering video services that are affordable and negotiable with clients regardless of their status and budget, hence it becomes imperative to focus on a particular segment of the market- the digital media. The market is very competitive especially that content generation is easier than ever before but there are very few aggregators that we also render media consultancy and advisory services for various investors that want to consider Channel acquisitions or streaming services – OTP or SVOD as the case may be. Primarily our core focus is to render content and marketing video services.” 

Online opportunities

Akinlolu who started the company as Media Navigation, after he left Mnet, says that it is imperative to pursue what you are passionate about. This is the reason he decided to venture into marketing videos, animation, corporate, and brand activation.

He also recalls that when starting out the social media platform was limited compared to today where it has changed a lot.

“I remember we called it new media in those years, there weren’t many options as to how to generate content. Today, the social media and digital atmosphere has changed a lot, clients are selling their brands and services through multiple media platforms, the television is really becoming an option while the cell phone and internet are what is necessary to become a successful business owner.

We are saturated with more online opportunities than ever before, creating marketing videos for corporations and brand activations is no longer a thing for the local TV station. More so you have a global audience in the palm of your hand-your phone than on your local TV. It is imperative to think differently because the world is changing even now COVID-19 has taken things further to push for global clients and services. “

The creative business is technical and talent-driven. Akinlolu says one needs to have efficient assets that can be easily liquidated because technology changes very quickly.

“It is a challenge peculiar to every other business as well. In the area of cash flow, you need efficient assets that can be easily liquidated because technology changes very quickly with new gears and software. The creative agency business is technical and is also talent-driven but in the case of acquiring a high-end video production facility it can help keep your cost of production down but you must also realize that you are in competition with other social content producers who are using cell phones to generate content. In order words, the challenge to generate quality and professional content clients or brand is expensive so most brands are looking for cheaper and quicker alternatives. Some don’t even care about quality. The creative space is changing and it requires experience and sets of unique skills to maintain and sustain your digital brand.”

Dan Akinlolu on the set of Onyeka Nwelue Show

One of the highlights of Akinlolu’s success was when one of their start-ups, MafrikTV, was nominated for  WAMA awards. Mafrik TV is essentially a West African Music video channel that was launched as an App.

“I launched it as an App on a business friend’s digital platform called Tulutulu. My area of interest has always been how I could be more supportive of an industry that is less visible or a particular niche content market that has not really enjoyed mainstream exposure, more so, I prefer short-format content. Mafrik TV was actually launched to support West African artists that are struggling to get their music videos on mainstream channels like MTV Base and Channel O.

I also presumed it is advantageous to tap into the diaspora market for viewership because the Tuluntulu App is not subscription-based. Large viewership doesn’t necessarily translate to profit, it is supposed to generate revenue from advertising because there are several other channels on the app, I just choose music video channels because it is easier to retain an audience on short content. I remember I used to call it a digital DSTV because it aggregated hundreds of hours of content under different channels. As of 2014, most social media platforms have not really started streaming except Youtube, Vimeo, and DailyMotion, so I sort of try to see if I can have the advantage to see how the audience will relate to mobile phone channel MafrikTV as a supplement to youtube.”

For those who are starting out and facing challenges in the same industry, Akinlolu advises that the future is now and the best way to handle it is to build relevant network services that are related to your digital platforms.

“Before COVID pandemic, no client would take you seriously or trust you with their projects if you tell them you are working from home, but now no one cares where you work from. It is more about quality and timely delivery. The truth and reality are obvious that information is cross-pollinating with technological innovations and infrastructure.

More streaming capacity is enhanced by social media platforms, big corporations will rather do ad spend on social media than on traditional TV hence local TV stations are straining to generate revenue because of this mind shift. Look at the truth, we see it coming but we didn’t pay attention. Netflix has taken over Hollywood. They know how to predict the future and their business model is designed to evolve and accommodate technological growth as an OTT service. The truth is, the future is now and the best way to handle it is to build relevant network services that are related to your digital platforms.”

Dan Akinlolu reviewing scripts with actors in one of his movies.
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