Showmax Animated Show to Adapt Jay Jay Okocha Story
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigerian football legend, Augustine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha will have his childhood story retold in cartoon form as streamer Showmax’s first animated series, Jay Jay: The Chosen One.
Okocha played as a midfielder and later captained the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles, between 1993 and 2006 and led the country to Olympics glory at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The show will run for 13 episodes and follow an 11-year-old Augustine, who dreams of representing his school at a prestigious football tournament with a team made up of his rag-tag group of friends. Along with his passion for soccer, he loves the animal kingdom, which bestows superpowers on him in return for his fight against illegal poaching.
The series is voiced by a Nigerian cast, led by Prince Unigwe (Glamour Girls, Samson in 2nd February) playing Jay Jay. Other casts are veteran actor Chinedu Ikedieze (Aki, The Johnsons), Samuel Ajibola (The Johnsons); pro-footballer turned actor Eric Obinna, Tinsel actress Mena Sodje, Lexan Peters and Pamilerin Ayodeji (The Father).
Besides Okocha’s exploits for Nigeria, playing in three World Cups (1994, 1998, and 2002) and gaining 73 caps, he had successful spells for Fenerbahce in Turkey, PSG in France and Bolton Wanderers in the English Premier League. He also played in Germany and Qatar and retired back in the UK in 2008 after playing for Hull City.
He is considered one of the most skilful attacking midfielders of all time and is considered by many as Nigeria’s greatest-ever player.
Speaking on this, the former Nigerian international said, “I’m honoured to have an animated series that reimagines my childhood.
“Jay Jay: The Chosen One is going to bring back good childhood memories as well as inspire young children who have dreams of being football players. I’m excited about the show and grateful to Showmax and the production team who worked hard to bring it to life.”
The show will be produced by Nihilent Limited alongside 5th Dimension as well as animation studio I-Realities.
For Showmax, the series is the first animated effort.
The streamer said the show would “give Nigerian children of all ages the opportunity to see themselves represented in animated form which is positive, humorous and educational” and “enchant and motivate kids across our continent through fantasy adventures as well as the power of sport.”
“Not only is Jay Jay: The Chosen One another locally inspired Showmax Original, it marks the beginning of our adventures in animation,” said Ms Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax and Connected Video at MultiChoice. “This is a show we believe will find audiences globally and shines the spotlight on yet another world-class African achiever that we hope will be enjoyed by kids and the entire family.”
Mr LC Singh, Nihilent Limited’s director and Executive Vice Chairman, said, “I always knew that creating a sports-based animation series for kids would be challenging and rewarding at the same time. The amount of work that goes into every single frame is immense, but seeing the final product come to life makes it all worth it.”
Data Shows Opportunities for Streaming Services in Romance Films
By Adedapo Adesanya
Fresh data over Valentine’s period show that streaming services could yet tap a goldmine from major opportunities available in the romance films genre.
According to data provided to Business Post by Reel Good, a streaming aggregator website, romance movies have been overlooked, but available numbers show that there is a resurgence.
According to Reel Good, “Five romance movies that premiered in 2023 accounted for 28 per cent of the streaming share out of the top 100 romance movies available to stream in the United States—meaning that people are starved for this content.”
It was also revealed that among the top 100 available to stream in the US between February 10 and February 23, five brand-new romance films accounted for a 12 per cent share of streaming. These include Your Place or Mine (Netflix, 2023); Somebody I Used to Know (Prime Video, 2023), You People (Netflix, 2023), Empire of Light (HBO Max, 2022), and Shotgun Wedding (Prime Video, 2022).
Netflix’s Your Place or Mine, a film about two long-distance friends swapping homes for a week and learning so much about themselves, recorded 7.3 per cent of streaming and engagement share from the two-week period among the top 100 romance films on Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) and Advertising-Based Video on Demand (AVOD) in the US while it had a 3.0 per cent streaming and engagement shared among the top 100 movies on both SVOD and AVOD.
Prime Video’s Somebody I Used to Know, which features a workaholic questioning everything about herself when her ex decides to move on with his life, saw 6.4 per cent in the top 100 romance films and 2.7 per cent in the top 100 films ranking.
Another offering from Netflix, You People, which is about a new couple and their family members examining their values and what is expected of them, accounted for 6.2 per cent in the top 100 romance category while on the top 100 films streaming and engagement share, it was about 2.6 per cent.
HBO Max’s Empire of Light recorded a 4.7 per cent of streaming and engagement share from the two-week period among the top 100 romance films on SVOD and AVOD in the US, while it had a 1.9 per cent streaming and engagement share among the top 100 movies on both SVOD and AVOD. It follows the story of a cinema manager struggling with her mental health, which forms a relationship with a new employee on the south coast of England in the 1980s.
Shotgun Wedding from Prime Video came next with a 3.4 per cent and 1.4 per cent share, respectively. The film takes the audience into a hostage situation at a wedding, where the couples must do all they can to save their loved ones.
Early predictions show that these numbers may yet get better, but streaming services could be sleeping on a major opportunity if they are not investing in romance.
Burna Boy to Perform at 2023 UEFA Champions League Final
By Adedapo Adesanya
In a historic move, Nigerian Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum-selling singer, songwriter, and producer, Damini Burna Boy Ogulu will co-headline the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick-Off Show at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on Saturday, June 10.
The Last Last crooner will be the first African act to perform at the event sponsored by Pepsi since it was started in 2016 and became known as the UEFA Champions League Final Kick-Off Show by Pepsi, which replaced the UEFA Champions League Opening Ceremony.
This year’s other co-headliner will be announced soon, a statement said, adding that “the Nigerian star will bring his energy and signature soulful vibes of afro-beats to millions of fans before the biggest club fixture in football gets underway.”
Speaking on this, Burna Boy said, “As a huge football fan myself, I know it doesn’t get any bigger than the UEFA Champions League! That’s why I’m so excited to be performing on the Pepsi stage at this year’s final. Music and football are the ultimate combinations, so you already know I’ll be bringing the vibes and making magic in Istanbul. The world isn’t ready for what we have in store!”
On his part, Mr Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA marketing director, said: “The UEFA Champions League Final Kick-Off Show is a significant part of our joint efforts with Pepsi, providing an incredible opportunity to reach new and younger audiences with some of the biggest names and rising stars in music.
“We’re excited to showcase a line-up of talented artists at this season’s final in Istanbul in what is sure to be an energetic and memorable performance.”
On his part, Mr Gustavo Reyna, Pepsi’s senior director of global marketing, said: “The UEFA Champions League final is the stand-out date of the club football calendar, and Pepsi prides itself on marking the occasion with the very best entertainment spectacles.
“The newly named ‘Kick Off Show by Pepsi’ is going to be huge this year; we’re so excited to welcome Burna Boy, one of the world’s most exciting artists, to the final stage, and we can’t wait to see which fans are selected to feature as part of this truly unmissable performance.”
Adekunle Gold Signs Music Deal With Def Jam
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigerian hitmaker, Adekunle Adekunle Gold Kosoko, has signed with a top recording label, Def Jam, in a deal that will see the company release his fifth studio album later this year.
In a scoop with music publication, Billboard, Def Jam CEO/chairman, Mr Tunji Balogun, said that the label had been following the High crooner for the last six years when he was Olamide’s YBNL label and made Sade, a localised version of One Direction’s Story of My Life.
He said, “Over the years, everything in AG’s world has elevated — his songwriting has refined, the scope of his artistry has widened, his vocals have strengthened, his approach to fashion is more distinct, and his showmanship and performance ability have grown exponentially.
“He’s stepped into stardom on his own terms and is completely comfortable being his true self.”
“When I started at Def Jam, I knew I wanted to bring the label into the Afrobeats space tastefully, with the right artists and partnership. Adekunle felt like the perfect fit – he’d already done so much work on his own to build a base, but I knew that we could scale his audience to an even higher level if we combined our energies and worked together,” Mr Balogun added.
Speaking on the deal, the Ire crooner said, “The track record is there. The history is there. They break artists, and they have a niche, unique artists like me, so I think it’s the right move for me. All of the things that I’ve done for myself already, they know already, and that’s why they’re on board.”
The first single from the new relationship is a song titled Party No Dey Stop with Marlian Music wunderkind, Zinoleesky, which dropped on Wednesday, March 15.
It was revealed that an album will drop in June after which the singer will embark on a four-month world tour starting in North America in September and then to the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and the Caribbean through next year.
On Olamide’s label, Adekunle Gold released his first album Gold in 2017, and after his exit, he released three albums, and he did two through his label, Afro Urban Records. 2018’s About 30 and 2022’s Catch Me If You Can. He released his 2020 album, Afro Pop, Vol. 1, under EMI.
“Hear it from me. Afrobeats is taking over the world,” Adekunle Gold told the publication.
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