A youthful continent; driven by peculiar taste, expectations, rising consumer demand and usage patterns of an extremely young demographic market – that is Africa!
According to UNICEF’s ‘Generation 2030 Africa’ report, Africa, which is already the world’s second most populous continent with over 1 billion inhabitants, is experiencing a demographic shift unprecedented in its scale and swiftness.
The report revealed that in the next 35 years, 1.8 billion babies will be born in Africa; the continent’s population will double in size; and its under-18 population will increase by two thirds to reach almost 1 billion.
Many analysts on the continent believe there is reason to pay more attention to Africa’s youth. “The current youth population on the continent gives us hope because Africa is increasingly being viewed as the future and a new growth frontier,” says Baba Abubakar Sadiq, the co-founder of Muse Media Networks, the parent company of ‘Muse’ a multi-platform brand targeting young African millennials with it’s mostly, urban music, entertainment culture and lifestyle.
Sadiq and his long-time friend and mentor, Ruddy Kwakye, are seeking to engage the attention of youth on the continent with compelling content across all the platforms millennials interact with daily.
Meet two Ghanaians building urban music for Africa’s hip millennials
The two individuals with vast experience in Ghanaian media and entertainment explain how they started Muse.
“We started from basic and sometimes usual conversations of a mentor and protégé on the viable opportunities the African media and entertainment space offered.
“Mind you, we were always interacting and having conversations about a lot of things regarding an industry we all worked in. At the time, I was working at a Modern Times Group, owners of Viasat1 television as the channel’s Executive Producer and Productions Head and my mentor and now partner was also a senior executive of a media group in Ghana as well as the lead executive for the African operations of a Switzerland based, triple play broadcaster K3,” says Sadiq.
Usually, Sadiq’s partner travels around the world in pursuit for content and channels to acquire for K3’s operations in Africa.
“He will call me and we will have conversations around some of the new ideas, concepts he’s discovered and the opportunities the African media space offered for the growth of such ideas. We will usually speak for hours and sometimes fiercely debate what is feasible and what is not. Mind you, he was my mentor and the older guy, but he always gave me the respect and privilege to debate him and have deeper conversations with him,” Sadiq explained.
Narrating one of the many calls between him and partner, Sadiq said: “One of the nights, he spoke to me about his latest discovery. He asked me to check out Joiz TV, a social television brand in Switzerland and Germany targeting millennials.”
Sadiq did and he was amazed at how Joiz TV effectively combined social media and traditional media to build a platform that reflected the attitudes and lifestyle of millennials.
By the end of their conversation they were both convinced they wanted to build something similar — a social television platform targeting African millennials. The two gathered a lot insight, developed a financial plan and had several debates on the name.
With four permanent staff, four part time workers and periodically engaging the services of a lot more on its projects and productions, funding has been an issue for Sadiq and Ruddy, but they are relentless in their quest to achieve their pan-African dream.
“Well, funding and having the resources we need have always been an issue but we understand the setting very well and are not deterred by our lack our funds to pursue our Pan-African dream. We may be slow, but given our success so far since launching our first TV block in July, 2015, we are confident we probably may reach our destination sooner that we anticipate,” says optimistic Ruddy Kwakye.
What is Muse trying to achieve?
“We eventually want to build a multi-platform urban music and lifestyle media brand for African millennials wherever they find themselves on the continent or in the diaspora.
“Simply put an urban music and lifestyle social television platform engaging our target via linear television platforms, social media, mobile, an online hub and via exciting and out of this world experiential live events,” Sadiq disclosed.
On differentiation from other African contents, Ruddy explains that Muse has a 360 multi-platform, social media-fuelled approach to cover everything music and urban lifestyle related on the continent.
“This differentiates us from competition — from music videos, to music news, to touch points with artists via social media we provide a platform where our audience can deepen and focus on their own personal music experiences.”
Is Africa ready for Muse?
Yes, excited Sadiq says and adds: “We are certain Africa is ready for us, given the technological changes we are experiencing so far and how sophisticated our target is becoming. We are convinced in our minds, African youth between ages 18- 24 years given their current lifestyle and trends require a 360 multi-platform that reflects their lifestyle taste and expression.”
According to him, linear television is still winning, social media development and reach is rapidly expanding and target is already in a multi-platform phase where they are constantly engaged across various touch points.
With these developments on the continent, they think this makes Africa the right and next place to experience social television. “In fact, the continent is already experiencing a multi-platform content approaches. Here, the difference is that; we seek to connect the spontaneity of social media to television whilst keeping our target engaged wherever they find themselves,” adds Sadiq.
So far, Muse is in two countries; Ghana and Tanzania where the company’s television blocks features varied music and lifestyle based programming are distributed. In Ghana, Muse Music is shown on Viasat1 and Joy Prime and in Tanzania it’s on TV1.
The company has also started discussions with channels in Rwanda, Liberia Senegal and Ivory Coast — Ivory Coast and Senegal will mark the beginning of its French service.
Since launching in 2015, Muse has attracted partnerships from MTN, Coca Cola, Tonaton, Guinness, Unilever & luxury champagne brand Belaire, which have since leveraged on the brands exciting experience to communicate with its mostly millennial target.
The company hopes to continue with establishing presence in other African countries and effectively commercializing so it can plough back into the business. “Don’t forget establishing presence in other African countries will help boost our brand awareness and promotional effort a great deal. But more importantly, and at the right time, we will have to seek extra funding from prospective investors or partners to be able to successfully scale up the way we intend to,” says Ruddy.
Being an election year in Ghana, the West African country praised for its democracy, Muse Media Networks has launched ‘PARTICIPATE,’ a non-partisan multi-layered social advocacy campaign in Ghana intended to encourage millennial participation in the electoral process.
The advocacy campaign will also be driven through music, a dedicated five episodes and millennial panel discussion on three university campuses.
What is the future of Muse?
“Our quest is to be the number one urban music, lifestyle and culture multimedia brand in Africa effectively harnessing the biggest millennial audience in Africa.
“We will continue to work hard and not relent in our efforts at pursuing our dream of creating a world class media organisation in Africa one terrestrial block/Linear television channel integrated to social media and an online hub at a time, the best way we can.
“It’s possible and we urged African youths to be super-ambitious, dream big but most importantly pursue their dream relentlessly and yes you don’t have to start big. Small, small ‘e’ go be like we say pidgin every time,” concludes Sadiq.