New media is changing the face of the arts and entertainment industry, presenting novel opportunities alongside challenges for industry practitioners. At the 2022 New Media Conference themed “The Viral Economy”, which was held in Lagos over the weekend, influencers and pacesetters across the fashion, PR, film, and arts sectors deliberated on the different ways that viral media can be leveraged for growth.

“The world today is more digitalized than has ever been in human history and this has revolutionized communication and many facets of life,” said Oluwatosin Ajibade, Founder/Convener, of New Media Conference and OloriSuperGal (OSG) Media. “Understanding what the Viral Economy is, the opportunities and challenges it presents for all, and how to position within the space is imperative.”

According to Noble Igwe, Filmmaker, PR, and Founder, 360Nobs, viral media have both positive and negative sides because they can amplify the right conversations and the wrong ones too. He further added that an important advantage of new media is the borderless reach and visibility that it offers to creatives. “New media has come to help things get farther. A whole lot of people appreciate Nigerian music and fashion all over the world because they find posts about them on Instagram and other social media platforms,” he said.

Sarah Sanni, Muralist, Ceracerni Art Hub, noted that while new media can help with virality, it should not be an end, but rather, a means for artists to expand their business and sell value. “Sometimes some artists do not want to upskill and improve, and they are comfortable with just going viral,” she said. “You should move past going viral and see the next thing that you are to do. Are you prepared for the next thing and is your business speaking to your audience?”

Furthermore, the Virality in Fashion, Arts and Film panel which was moderated by Anita Adesiyan, PR expert and Country Manager for MTV Shuga Nigeria, advised creatives to stand out and not lose their identity and authenticity to social media trends. “It helps to have an identity or unique self in whatever platform you are using to market,” said Laide Daramola, Media Executive, and Filmmaker. “There is a space for knowing what works but also there is a space to think creatively and come up with new strategies.”

Meanwhile, Jennifer Ukoh-Osamwonyi, PR Manager, Showmax, Nigeria emphasized the importance of storytelling and curating content targeted at one’s audience. “What is also important for PR is your message and what you are putting out per time,” she said. “Sometimes your message might not even change but because of the platform type, they have to be modified.”

On copyright issues, the panel pointed out that the legal system must be improved to support the work of creatives. The panel recommended that the legal processes should be made more efficient and responsive. “It is important that people use trade marking for their works or design,” said Noble. “This way, they can minimize the risk of having their work designs stolen.”

The session ended with the speakers encouraging creatives to use their craft to effect positive change in society and contribute meaningfully to their community. The New Media Conference 2022 was held on October 29, 2022, in Lagos at the British Council Nigeria office with attendees from across the continent. The New Media Conference  2022 edition focused on how viral media is shaping different facets of human interaction including arts, technology, finance, fashion, content creation, and politics. The event was hosted by Isabella Adediji, the founder of Yellow Tamarind Productions, a media, and PR company based in Lagos.

The event is powered by OSG Media and supported by the British Council Nigeria. Media partners for the event are News Central TV, Goldmyne TV, and Media Room Hub. For more information, visit www.newmediaconference.ng.

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