Alex Okosi
The top media executive has seen it all, having held positions at the top of one of the world’s leading brands. In the process, he’s become someone many people at the corporation look up to.
In 2007, when he was made Senior Vice President & Managing Director, MTV Networks, it was to mark the beginning of a new journey – one that would see him take the vision for MTV-Base Africa, which was two years old at the time, to another level.
Leading MTV Base Africa’s growth wasn’t an impossible task for Okosi. His exploits at the music network made him the obvious candidate, and one to trust with its fortunes. Prior to his appointment in 2007, he was Vice President & General Manager, MTV Networks Africa, in charge of its launch in Africa.
Okosi’s charm at making MTV Base Africa work, and sellable to an audience that had long stuck to local television, was commendable. Putting it on pay-per-view also meant only those who could afford to watched it. But that wasn’t enough of an obstacle to the good work Okosi and his team had put in.
In what became a sweeping but silent revolution MTV Base earned a considerable following in no time. The network’s popularity grew, as it was readily recognized.
Okosi’s close aides speak highly of him as that man who picks up an idea and sells it even if it will take years to realize its potential. At a point, he managed a multi-national portfolio that reached some 100 million viewers including MTV, Comedy Central, BET International, VH1 and the popular kids content Nickelodeon.
Despite the face-value success of MTV Base Africa, there are tales of how challenging it was getting it home. But, Okosi, knowing what he wanted, pressed on, looking at the bigger picture.
“I just focused on the fact that there's this great opportunity to do something that I believe would enable us and our youth culture to be projected in the most different way,” he told CNN in a recent interview.
However Okosi’s love for a continent that shaped, and led him to believe in himself, got him going. Africa had always been on the table for Okosi. So even when it looked like he had to push hard for the parent company to recognize Africa as one big potential, he did it with a lot of optimism, knowing very well it was not far from becoming a success.
He knew the kind of channel Africa would easily subscribe to so he went for it. His desire, to come up with a quality-driven network, which highlights the best of African entertainment, as well as drive and shape their social fibre, was a high priority for him. This has led to the introduction of some youth-friendly and empowerment productions like Shuga, which is themed around HIV/AIDS, and MTVBase Meets, which brings some of the world’s most successful people up-close and personal with Africa’s youth.
Since 2005, MTV Base has aided the growth of African music. For most African musicians, it came to fill a void, and bridged what would otherwise have been a big yawning gap between them and their colleagues in established markets like the U.S.A.
Most refreshing is the fact that Okosi and his team at MTV Base have spent thousands of dollars to train local hands on how to shoot quality videos, in addition to shooting some of the continent’s top artists’ videos for free.
Aware of the huge disparities in those who can afford pay-per-view television, MTV Base Africa has partnered local television channels to air recorded content all throughout the week. This has also caught on well, as it offers the network additional viewership across Sub-Sahara, its target market.
The network’s growth is largely credited to Okosi, and for most business and ordinary people around the world, he is seen as the face of the global music network.
Adding to his rich portfolio, is the MTV Africa Music Awards, which was founded in 2008. The awards scheme is positioned to help improve the profile of African musicians.
Culled from MSN Africa