Courses in cinematography and animation in Ibadan require developing a specific business plan for its further implementation to launch a start-up, considering the issues of strategy, marketing, financing.
The need for personnel and resources is manifested at the initial stage of project launch. Online courses are not considered for launch at the first stage since there is a lot of competition in this sector (Laimoon, 2022). Resources for physics courses include hardware and software for high-quality video, sound, and animation. The opportunity to get them lies in preliminary cooperation and rental contracts with film companies or television people with an agreement to provide certified personnel for a developing industry (Chindma, 2021). The potential for exporting video and game content is just beginning to emerge in the Nigerian entertainment industry (Tsai and Chen, 2021). Therefore, on account of online channels, content can be sold even in a pandemic.
In addition to cooperating with film companies in exchange for equipment rentals for contracts with personnel, there are also two other types of potential financing. The first of these is to seek government grants to develop one of the most important business sectors in terms of GDP (Etuk, 2020). The development of courses in Ibadan City can attract subsidies both in the context of an entertainment industry project and in the context of the development of a non-capital region, where local business can improve infrastructure and solve specific infrastructure problems (Ayodele, Ogunjuyigbe and Alao, 2018; Olatunji, Yoade and Adeyemi, 2021). Since the city is one of the most populated in the country, there are many universities in it, and it is also possible to search for funding on their basis (Oyo State, n.d.). The target audience of courses is studying at universities: young students at the ups and downs of their career path (Oyedele and Lasisi, 2019). Finally, it is possible to seek angel investment, but given the high hardware cost, a whole group of “angels” for this project will be required.
Search and Development
Diversification of a start-up towards the gaming industry can be carried out after a specific time after the project’s launch. It requires additional software and hardware in the form of computers to handle high-quality content. Just as video content can be monetized through streaming services and social networks, game animation when creating a finished product unit can also be implemented on the relevant platforms and within some social networks. In addition, games can be developed for various government or educational purposes, which can attract national funding when implementing games in government institutions (Fisher, 2020). Although it will be challenging to find teachers in this industry, animation and cinematography experts can diversify their experience with a startup and develop products together with students and alumni.
The start-up plans to use online platforms, such as predominantly social networks and contextual advertising, so that the gaming industry can attract a much larger target audience. Project marketing will use video content created by students and teachers to advertise and attract new customers. Similarly, a game product can be implemented, distributed free of charge, and contain advertisements for courses in Ibadan. With many of Ibadan’s universities computer-enabled, students may be interested in bringing their ideas to life with opportunities in expert course support and hardware capability beyond (Oyedele and Lasisi, 2019). In addition, there is now a trend of mutually positive growth in the export of such products and the creativity of the country’s population (Iyoboyi and Okereke, 2020). This diversification can attract an audience from the metropolitan area since even in Lagos, there are only a few offline academies, and those are foreign franchises (GomyCode, n.d.). While preserving tradition and local flavor, game development courses may become the only affordable alternative offline school with integration into animation and video content creation.
Management and Organization
The start-up’s approach is client-centric, which means, in this case, affordable prices, discussion of individual conditions, and support after release. Nigeria has a relatively high unemployment rate that prioritizes job creation for many city governments, including Ibadan (Okuwa, 2020). Therefore, a start-up will only need to prepare a list of relevant experience and competencies and look for employees in the local entertainment industry or universities with teaching experience. The list of competencies should include experience with software and hardware for creating and processing video, and audio content or animation, a desire to develop creativity, pedagogical skills in working with a group will be welcome.
Management will need experience in project management, search for funding sources, and well-developed soft skills to conduct a dialogue with clients. Considering that teachers will take part-time jobs for the first time, not to lose their main job in the university or the entertainment industry, they will be offered a salary that exceeds the minimum threshold for seemingly full-time employees. At the same time, additional bonuses will be provided depending on operational activities, monetization of content and further mentoring of graduates. The bonus system is widespread in Nigeria, and, given the competitive wages in a booming industry, it is expected that the project will be able to quickly recruit a loyal staff of professionals (Compensation Law in Nigeria, 2022; Nwokpoku et al., 2018). Creating jobs in a region far from the capital may further attract government grants and subsidies.
Digital Marketing Plan
The first value-added service has already been voiced and is mentoring after graduation: the teacher on a reimbursable basis continues to advise the graduate and periodically provides access to equipment. The second service is expert assistance in creating a personal brand for blogging or video content creation, including advertising on social media sites. The third option would be to provide rental space for filmed video content at events organized by the project, such as a film festival. The best works will be selected free of charge; other participants will be able to submit their works for an additional fee. Finally, the fourth service is renting hardware or computer time after the student graduates.
Start-up marketing projections at launch will require spending on contextual advertising, SEO services, and social media advertising; however, with a budget price for taking the course, marketing is predicted to be compensated very quickly. The main emphasis should be placed on the sites of universities – both on websites and in social networks, and through offline events. On the one hand, the pandemic development factor requires additional costs due to the creation of safe learning conditions; on the other hand, it does not prevent the launch of courses in any way (Ohia, Bakarey, and Ahmad, 2020; Oladipo et al., 2020). Another external factor influencing the project is trends in social networks such as TikTok and YouTube, the leading video hosting sites worldwide, where exclusively colorful local trends known throughout the world have already begun to emerge (Akinbola, 2022). Finally, the third factor is the climatic conditions in the region: the launch of the courses should take place during the dry season in winter since the primary filmmaking skills should be formed outside. Therefore, registration for animation and video processing courses will be mainly open in the summer.
The main threat that the project may face is the launch of courses in the regions by metropolitan companies. The geographical location is an exclusive advantage of these courses due to the lack of offline competition. Lagos companies can take a share of the market due to the availability of experience, finished works, and equipment (Ai Multimedia Academy, n.d.; MX Film Academy, n.d.). Also, metropolitan regions can develop online courses, which are also popular and can attract part of the target audience at an affordable price. Finally, another threat is the diversification of competitors towards the gaming industry before this start-up does.
The most effective response to these threats is the pricing policy, which should be much more affordable than in the case of capital rates. Classes in large groups compensate for the low price; the only drawback is the lack of an individual approach and time. This aspect is compensated by additional services of expert assistance, rent, and mentoring in the future, where the teacher already entirely devotes his time to the graduate. Another response to these threats could be to expand geographically to areas other than Ibadan or franchise courses with full support for the franchisee’s operations.
Forecast and Financial Data
The main downside risks for companies are pandemic restrictions, low startup sales, and high levels of long-term debt when buying hardware or software. In the first case, courses should adapt and provide more classroom instruction or integrate the student’s independent work with the suspension of scheduled lessons. In the second case, if the initial investment is not recouped in sales, additional sources of credit or funding will need to be found think of sponsoring hardware firms, movie companies, government grants, or national subsidized lending programs. However, large volumes of lending should be compensated by the high pace of the company’s development. This pace should contribute to high current ratios and the ratio of total assets and liabilities, which requires monetization of content in social networks and video hosting, attracting the attention of entertainment companies from the capital to special events, and much more.
In the case of cooperation deals with companies from the entertainment industry that can provide rental equipment for personnel training or find state grants for development at preferential prices, investors’ investments can be minimal with high growth potential. Firstly, a large influx of clients is expected in an engaging, relevant, and modern profession in the most populated region, where there are also many visitors, where previously this offline service was not provided at all (Top 11 Nigerian Film Schools, 2022). Secondly, the courses will focus on unleashing the creative potential of many clients who can then earn a living by monetizing their video views on platforms such as YouTube and TikTok. At the same time, the project will have the priority right to cooperate with such graduates, introducing them to sponsoring companies, providing vacancies with certified personnel. Given that the export potential of the crop in Nigeria has not yet reached its peak level, the launch of the project now may be highly relevant.
Despite several obstacles, this project has much more reasons to launch than risks. A well-developed plan is flexible and adaptable to external conditions and goals, depending on the funding source. In addition, the start-up, in addition to financial interest, has a critical cultural mission to develop creativity and local flavor in the country through the entertainment industry, which, even despite the pandemic, is experiencing growth.
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