Once Again, Late to the Party. When is Our Time?

Image

By Rahaman Abiola

Nigeria’s modern media landscape hardly appears to be modern. It races behind in the realm of technology and its integration into the media ecosystem. This discrepancy is particularly noticeable in the context of the burgeoning era of artificial intelligence.

Only 20% of media companies in Africa are using AI in some way. This is compared to 40% of media companies in North America and 30% of media companies in Europe according to the Reuters Institute of Journalism’s Digital Media Report for 2023

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, a low share of skilled talents and slow download speed has impacted the adoption of Artificial intelligence in low-income and middle-income countries like Nigeria. This was reported by Punch newspaper in January 2023.

Before we delve deeper into AI and all that would bring us closer to the ‘party’, there is a need to understand the African media scene and the need for technology acceptance. The changes we’ll discuss vary from one country to another but share common elements that can benefit journalism, media outlets, and public discourse. The three most important developments driven by technological and market forces today are:

  1. The move to an increasingly digital, mobile, and social media environment is marked by increasingly intense competition for attention. Legacy media, like broadcasters and especially newspapers, continue to play a crucial role as news producers. However, they are becoming relatively less important as distributors of news and are under growing pressure to develop new digital business models as their existing operations decline or stagnate.
  2. The growing importance of a limited number of large social-networking, and technology-dependent companies like Meta, Tik-tok, Twitter and LinkedIN is noteworthy. These companies enable billions of users across the world to navigate and use digital media effortlessly through services like search, social networking, video sharing, messaging, and more. As a result, these tech giants are playing an increasingly significant role in (a) the distribution of news and (b) digital advertising.
  3. The development of a high-choice media environment. Internet users have access to an ever-expanding pool of information in convenient formats, often at no cost. It enables new forms of participation. News enthusiasts are encouraged to get, share, and comment on news at any social media platform they like.

Africa, Especially Nigeria, Seems Late to the Trendjacking of the New Tech Innovation in the Media

In an article written by Eloine Barry, titled ‘Africa Needs a New Generation of Media,’ Barry inferred that the African media industry has to pick up the pace on leveraging new technology. However, it is essential for the industry to grow its base of knowledgeable and upskilled media professionals. These professionals should be equipped not only to navigate the new age of technology but also to succeed in it.

The question to our media counterparts is how many of our companies have these skilled professionals who can wield new technologies to turn the media landscape around? If none, what are we doing to evolve like our foreign counterparts?

AI is already having a major impact on the media industry around the world. It is being used to personalise news feeds, generate new content, and even identify and fact-check misinformation. But in Nigeria, the use of AI in the media is still in its early stages.

This is a problem. If the Nigerian media does not embrace AI soon, it will be at a serious disadvantage. In a world where information is increasingly consumed online, media companies that can use AI to deliver personalised and engaging content will be the ones that succeed.

There are a number of ways that the Nigerian media can embrace AI. One way is to use AI to personalise news feeds. This can be done by using algorithms to track what users read and watch, and then recommending similar content to them. Another way to use AI is to generate new content. AI can be used to write articles, create videos, and even generate entire news shows. Finally, AI can be used to identify and fact-check misinformation. This is especially important in Nigeria, where misinformation is a major problem. But there are a number of challenges that the Nigerian media face in embracing AI.

One challenge is the lack of access to resources. AI is a complex technology, and it requires a lot of computing power and data to develop and use AI-powered applications.

Another challenge is the lack of expertise. There are not a lot of people in Nigeria with the skills and knowledge necessary to develop and use AI applications. Sadly, one would expect that where Nigeria is low on special resources, we would turn to collaboration, to ensure we aren’t left behind, or turn to our government or parastatal companies to aid investment in the media landscape evolution, instead these routes are hardly explored.

Despite these challenges, it is crucial for the Nigerian media to adopt artificial intelligence. This technology represents the future of the media industry, and media companies failing to embrace it may find themselves falling behind.

When is Our Time?

The time for the Nigerian media to embrace AI is now. We cannot afford to fall behind any further. We need to invest in resources and expertise. We need to start developing and using AI-powered applications.

Here are some specific things that media companies in Nigeria can do to embrace AI:

  • Invest in AI-Driven Advertising to optimise ad placements and targeting. Beyond the regular Google Ads and Facebook Ads, media companies can widen their earning horizon by leveraging other AI-Driven advertising channels like Amazon Advertising, Adobe Advertising Cloud, The Trade Desk, AppNexus, MediaMath, Criteo, Taboola and Outbrain. Once done, employ people who are skilled in using these platforms to successfully run advertising campaigns for clients and make more money.
  • Adopt AI-powered apps for daily routine in the newsroom. Media companies in Nigeria can use AI to personalise news feeds, generate new content, and identify and fact-check misinformation. Now than ever, the Nigerian media needs to amp up on Automated fact-checking tools like Full Fact or ClaimBuster to verify the accuracy of news and information; leverage predictive analytics tools that use machine learning algorithms to predict audience behaviour and trends; personalization engines to tailor content to individual users preferences; and even cybersecurity solutions to detect and prevent threats real-time and protect cyberattack incidents.
  • Partner with tech companies. There are a number of tech companies that are developing AI-powered applications for the media industry. NVIDIA’s Inception programme for startups, a Nigerian company that developed Africa’s first speech-to-text AI chat tool capable of understanding 200 African accents. Another Nigerian startup, Data Science Nigeria (DSN), enables AI talents and builds AI solutions to enhance the lives of people. The possibilities of these collaborations are endless. Media companies in Nigeria can create content to cater to a diverse audience, cutting through language barriers and expanding coverage.

On a Good Note

Several Nigerian media companies are taking proactive steps to embrace artificial intelligence. For instance, Legit.ng is employing AI to personalize news feeds and create fresh content. Similarly, media outlets like Dubawa and The Cable are harnessing AI to detect and fact-check misinformation.

This trend shows a significant realization within the Nigerian media landscape about the crucial role AI can play. With this momentum, there is confidence that the Nigerian media will soon align with global AI trends in the media industry. If we are lucky to catch up soon, then maybe by then, we wouldn’t be too late to the party.

Rahaman Abiola is Legit.ng’s Editor-in-Chief, and the youngest EIC in the history of the leading digital media news publisher. He is a Reuters-trained journalist and content writer with over 7-year experience in digital & traditional media and social media communications. 

Rahaman has been published in Nigerian national newspapers, including The Nation, The Punch, Nigerian Tribune, and THISDAY. His works have appeared in top digital media platforms, including Sahara Reporters, The Cable, The Capital, YNAIJA, Lawyard, Paradigm. 

A graduate of English and Literature from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Rahaman is one of the 25 journalists in Africa selected for the Kwame Karikari Fact-Checking Fellowship in 2021.

Share
Related Stories
Image
07-February-2024

What Does the Future of Working in Advertising Look Like?

By Stanislaus Martins If you work in advertising or are considering a career in the field, there’s a good chance you’ve wondered what the industry’s future will look like. And with the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies, that speculation is more relevant than ever.  Will tools like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot eventually become so sophisticated that they replace copywriters, designers, and illustrators as some have predicted? And even if they don’t, how will they change the skills required for those positions? Outside of those specific roles what skills will be most useful in the future, particularly as

Image
26-January-2024

Niger Delta And Mulade’s Developmental Roadmap

By Jerome-Mario Utomi Each passing day brings to mind the sincere desire of Niger Deltans to have the region genuinely developed via infrastructural provisions, human capital development, environmental protection as well as protection of lives and property of the people of the region. The latest of such expression came during a recent press briefing in Warri, Delta State, by Mulade Sheriff, the National Coordinator of the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), the foremost environmental and peace advocacy group in the Niger Delta region, where, he among other remarks, observed the tremendous progress that has been recorded in the

Image
28-January-2024

The Intersection of Religion and Human Rights: Balancing Freedom of Religion and Societal Interest in Nigeria

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD Last week, I had the honor of a deep dive conversation with very respected men and women of the press, from the traditional to the digital space, citizen journalists, bloggers and more. It is an interesting cohort, and I am sure that at the end of this initiative, the impacts would be felt. Let me quickly appreciate the Search For Common Ground’s Katlong, Daniel, Temisan, Emmanuela, Fatima Madaki, the Country Director, and all the wonderful souls and the work we all do in this space. My presentation was about the complex dynamics at the intersection

Image
06-February-2024

Creating Jobs and Developing Skills is Vital to Sustaining Livelihoods of Communities

By Kuda Mukova Despite the immense developmental gains that sub-Saharan Africa has seen over the past few decades, there is no doubt that much work remains to be done. According to the 2023 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford, some 534 million people live in poverty across the region. We still fall behind on other developmental indices too. Data from the World Bank shows that nearly half the region’s population doesn’t have access to electricity and, according to the World

More Stories
Image
21-March-2019

Nigeria to Auction N100b Bonds March 27

By Modupe Gbadeyanka On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, the Nigerian government will sell bonds worth N100 billion to investors at the local market. A circular released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) yesterday said the debt instrument would be issued in three different tenors. According to the debt office, it would offered N40 billion worth of the 5-year paper at 12.75 percent, another N40 billion worth of the 7-year note at 13.53 percent and N20 billion worth of the 10-year bill at 13.98 percent. It was disclosed that investors would be allowed to subscribe N1,000 per unit subject to a

Image
09-December-2017

Kwara November Allocation Drops by N131m

By Dipo Olowookere The allocation received for the month of November decreased by N130.6 million, figures released by the state government on Friday have revealed. Last month, the state got a total of N2.9 billion from the federal allocation against N3 billion it received for October. A statement released yesterday by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Demola Banu, disclosed that the November allocation was made up of statutory allocation of N1.9 billion, Value Added Tax (VAT) of N839.7 million, and excess bank charges of N5.9 million. According to the Commissioner, the state government got additional inflow of N163.7 million, making

Image
26-May-2021

CBN Lures Bandits With Anchor Borrowers’ Programme

By Adedapo Adesanya The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has appealed to bandits to drop their arms and embrace the federal government’s initiative, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP). The apex bank chief made the call at the end of a two-day Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, saying embracing the programme will be of help to the terrorists. “I would like to appeal to our brothers, who decide that they want to live in bushes and forests that they should please, begin to retreat, drop their arms and come and embrace

Image
03-August-2017

Nigeria to Extend Gas Pipeline to Cote d’Ivoire

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has disclosed that the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) would be extended from Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire as part of the Federal Government West African energy integration policy. This pledge was made on Wednesday by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, while receiving a delegation from Cote d’Ivoire at the NNPC Towers in Abuja. The GMD said Nigeria and indeed the NNPC has been into the business of oil and gas exploration and production for over 50 years, stressing that the interface would enable the NNPC to share its vast experiences

Image
09-December-2021

Stock Market Gains 0.99% on Buying Interest in MTN, Ecobank, Others

By Dipo Olowookere The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited sustained its positive momentum on Wednesday on the back of buying interest in MTN Nigeria, Ecobank, Honeywell Flour, Dangote Sugar and others. The patronage enjoyed by these stocks and 16 others resulted in the 0.99 per cent growth printed by the trading platform yesterday, boosting the confidence of investors in the market, which recorded a series of losses last week. As a result, the All-Share Index (ASI) increased by 416.24 points to 42,435.16 points from 42,018.92 points, while the market capitalisation grew by N218 billion to N22.143 trillion from N21.925 trillion. Topping

Image
23-January-2020

Nigeria’s Music Industry to Generate N26.3bn Revenue in 2021–FG

By Modupe Gbadeyanka Federal Government has said the nation’s music industry is projected to generate $86 million (about N26.3 billion at an exchange rate of N306/$1) in revenue in 2021. Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, said this on Thursday at the 11th Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa (Investour), which was held on the sidelines of the ongoing International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain. Mr Mohammed, who served as a panellist at the event, said Nigeria also boasts of a very vibrant and popular music industry which not only reflects her cultural richness, but

Image
22-August-2020

Negative Economic Data Keeps Lid on Brent, WTI Prices Friday

By Adedapo Adesanya Crude oil prices retreated at the end of the week on the back of more negative news from economic data worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. on Friday, the Brent crude futures fell 70 cents or 1.56 per cent to trade at $44.20 per barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped 48 cents or 1.12 per cent to $42.34 per barrel. Eurozone purchasing managers index readings yesterday showed a slowdown in the region’s economic activity, while data out of Japan indicated a continued decline in activities. The IHS Markit flash eurozone composite purchasing managers

Image
29-January-2020

World Council of Churches Begs Buhari to Protect Christians

By Modupe Gbadeyanka An appeal has been made to President Muhammadu Buhari to endeavour to protect the lives of Nigerians, especially Christians, who are being killed by terrorists and armed persons. In a joint appeal, the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation expressed grief at the continuing violence in the country. The two bodies sent an SOS to Mr Buhari as a result of the killing of a Christian leader in Adamawa State, Mr Lawan Andimi, by a notorious terrorists’ group, Boko Haram, some days ago. In the letter, the organisations said, “The recent execution of Rev.

Ad
Ad
Recent Stories
Image
22-February-2024

Purple Real Estate Welcomes Umar, Oladimeji to Board

By Adedapo Adesanya Nigerian real estate platform, Purple Real Estate Income Plc, has made significant changes to its board, marking a pivotal moment in the company’s growth strategy amid current macro headwinds. The reshuffle brings on Mr Aminu Umar and Mr Olasunkanmi Oladimeji to join the board as Non-Executive Director and Executive Director. The duo of Mr Umar and Mr Oladimeji will take over from Mrs Osareme Archibong and Mrs Fiona Ahimie, both outgoing Independent Non-Executive Directors, according to notice on NASD OTC Securities Exchange, where the company trades its securities. Commenting on the changes, the Chairman of the board,

Image
22-February-2024

AFCON 2023: Nigerian Content Creators See 200% Rise in Revenue, Views

By Adedapo Adesanya Content creators in Nigeria saw a 200 per cent increase in views and revenue between December 2023 and February 2024, a new study shared with Business Post showed. According to new data released by StarNews Mobile, an African video streaming platform, content creators across Africa experienced a 300 per cent surge in revenues during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) held between January 13 and February 11, 2024, reaffirming the massive surge in consumption of hyper-localized content from the continent. Based on metrics from StarNews Mobile’s platform, creators in Nigeria were only outshone by their peers

Image
22-February-2024

Two Die, 15 Rescued in Ikoyi-Lekki Link Bridge Boat Mishap

By Modupe Gbadeyanka Two persons have been confirmed dead in a boat accident that occurred on Wednesday night at the Ikoyi-Lekki Link bridge in Lagos. The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), which confirmed the incident, stated that 15 persons were rescued in the mishap. The agency stated that the boat, which was conveying 17 passengers, was heading to the Ikorodu area of the metropolis from its take-off point, Sandfil, when it capsized at the Powerline area of the popular bridge. It said the body of a female passenger, who drowned, was recovered, while the corpse of the male passenger

Image
22-February-2024

NPPAN Targets $10bn Contribution to Nigeria’s GDP via Palm Biomass

By Adedapo Adesanya The federal government will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Malaysian government to develop palm biomass in the country as part of efforts to utilise one of the undertapped farm produces in the country. Mr Alphosus Inyang, President of the National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN), made this disclosure, saying palm biomass is a multi-billion dollar economy. “Biomass simply means agricultural waste and we are talking about turning waste into wealth,’’ he said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja. The president said NPPAN was working with

Image
22-February-2024

Salesforce Introduces Clean Energy Programme Management

By Modupe Gbadeyanka A new solution to help electric, gas, and water utilities increase customer participation in clean energy programmes has been introduced by Salesforce. The initiative known as Clean Energy Programme Management for Energy & Utilities Cloud streamlines the launch, management, and oversight of energy efficiency, conservation, electrification, and EV charging programs. It helps utilities manage clean energy initiatives with connected data — like energy usage and billing information — and personalised engagement to promote relevant programmes. This platform also digitises and simplifies the application process for customers, participating contractors, and utility program staff to help increase clean energy

Image
22-February-2024

Dangote Sugar to Borrow N50bn from Commercial Paper Sales

By Aduragbemi Omiyale The management of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc is requesting about N50 billion from capital market investors for its short-term working capital and funding requirements. The sugar miller will get the funds from investors through the sale of commercial papers and has promised to repay in about nine months’ time. The CP sales will be conducted under its N150 billion commercial paper issuance programme approved by the regulatory authorities. It is the first series the company is selling this time and it specifically has a tenor of 266 days with a discount rate of 15.92 per cent and

Image
22-February-2024

NASD Unlisted Security Index Depreciates by 0.77%

By Adedapo Adesanya A 0.77 per cent loss was suffered by the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange on Wednesday, February 21 following profit-taking in three stocks. Aradel Holdings Plc went down by N49.50 during the session to close at N2,476.50 per share versus the previous day’s N2,526.00 per share, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc depreciated by 37 Kobo to end the day at N19.63 per unit compared with Tueday’s closing price of N20.00 per unit, and FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc deflated by 7 Kobo to settle at N74.43 per share, in contrast to the N74.50 per share it traded

Image
22-February-2024

Naira Appreciates at Official Market, Falls at Black Market

By Adedapo Adesanya The Naira appreciated against the United States Dollar in the official market and the and the peer-to-peer (P2P) windows of the foreign exchange (FX) market but depreciated in the parallel market on Wednesday, February 21 as several scare tactics to ease the weakening local currency continues. In the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), the domestic currency gained 0.6 per cent or N8.66 on the greenback to close at N1,542.58/$1 compared with the previous day’s N1,551.24/$1. However, the Naira maintained stability against the Pound Sterling and the Euro in the spot market in the midweek session at

Image
22-February-2024

Crude Oil Jumps as Geopolitical Tensions Persist

By Adedapo Adesanya Crude oil appreciated on Wednesday as geopolitical tensions continued in the Middle East and traders assessed signs of near-term supply tightness. Brent crude was up by 69 cents or 0.8 per cent to $83.03 a barrel while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude jumped by 87 cents or 1.1 per cent to settle at $77.91 per barrel. Houthi attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab strait have continued to stoke concerns over freight flows through the critical waterway. The Iran-aligned Yemeni Houthis have carried out repeated drone and missile strikes since November in

Image
22-February-2024

Investors Recover N165bn as FBN Holdings, BUA Cement, Others Gain

By Dipo Olowookere The bulls recaptured the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Wednesday after the bears dominated for two straight days as a result of panic selling due to the macroeconomic environment, especially with the poor performance of the Naira in the foreign exchange (FX) market. During the midweek session, the local bourse finished higher by 0.30 per cent on renewed bargain-hunting activities by investors. This raised the market capitalisation of the domestic exchange by N165 billion to N55.464 trillion from N55.299 trillion, as the All-Share Index (ASI) grew by 301.71 points to 101,362.38 points from 101,060.67 points. Business Post