In An Interview with Business Day Nigeria - Newton Arunaye is a graduate of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun (FUPRE) and Petroleum Training Institute (PTI). He has turned his passion into profitability, delving into the entertainment media space. After studying Electrical/Electronics Engineering, he started an entertainment blog known as Legit9ja, which has now gained some recognition. Arunaye, who hails from Delta State, Nigeria, speaks on his little beginning and how he manages to stay afloat amid ravaging coronavirus pandemic, in this interview with Desmond Okon.
What is Legit9ja all about?
Legit9ja is an online hub with a deep passion and curiosity for entertainment, youth, and pop culture. It is dedicated to reporting, analysing and creating trends around music, lifestyle, events and all other extensions of present-day culture.
What inspired the birth of the platform?
Being the founder, I have always had a passion for entertainment from my childhood. I also felt I could tell the stories of the young talents around me who were trying to showcase themselves to the world. I took it seriously during my school days. Officially Legit9ja started on the 23rd of October, 2015.
Did you receive any funding or investment?
Tell us about the platform’s achievement so far?
It has really been eventful. Legit9ja.com emerged the best entertainment hub of the year in the just concluded Peace Legend Awards 2019 held at Oriental Hotel in Lagos. It is a three-time winner of Best Entertainment Blog at Warri Entertainment and Recognition Awards (WERA) in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
What is the unique selling point of Legit9ja?
Promotion and appreciation of entertainment lifestyle remain our edge ahead of others.
How do you plan to compete with bigger entertainment platforms?
Our plan is to continue to improve our readership by bringing entertainment to people’s doorsteps.
More so, we do not intend to compete with everyone but to put out credible information and also showcase talents to the world.
Credibility of news in the media space is key to success. How do you plan to make sure information from Legit9ja is trusted by readers?
Since inception, perspectives gauged from our readers have shown that we are guided by truth in reportage. Over the years, Legit9ja has employed creative and vibrant reporters who understand the rudiments of communication.
We put out contents verified with proofs directly or indirectly from the sources, social media accounts, and also by reaching out to the persons concerned.
Is there an area of entertainment Legit9ja intends to focus on to edge competitors?
Apart from being an entertainment hub of information, we have embarked on showbiz. Any moment from now, Legit9ja will be streaming live on television screens as part of 2020 resolution. So, we will continue to focus more on music, celebrity lifestyle and news.
What were the challenges you faced while starting and how did you overcome them?
The initial challenge was finance and also having a voice in the society, and consistency shows we are getting better.
I understand you recently launched a new App. Please tell us a bit about that.
In bid to make information mobile-friendly for our readers, we decided to launch an application for both Androids (OS) and Apple (IOS) devices, which have been made available on Google Play Store. The application is to get closer to our users to easily get feedback and engagement. This application has been made faster with notifications to inform users of any updates around the entertainment industry.
How is Covid-19 pandemic affecting your business and workers?
The pandemic has really caused so much damage to all facets of life, and the new media is not left out. So many important appointments have been turned down as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus. Every worker/hustler is now left with the option of working at a slow pace or home. This continues to bring delays at all levels because entertainment as a business deals with person-to-person appointment.
Other youths like you are out there scrambling for food and causing nuisance. Would you say that starting the blog has helped you out of poverty?
Being a professional entertainment/new media hub entails so much. When you are good at what you do, definitely reward is on the way. I have paid my dues trying to deliver many talented artistes out there via my promotional offers.
What prospects do you see in the entertainment industry?
Entertainment industry at large has evolved, from the mainstream to new media, and now the digital. It takes special orientation to move along with the trend. Many entertainers find this so difficult in that going digital is faster in reach, but it requires more capital expenditure.
What is your vision in the next five years for Legit9ja?
Legit9ja is no longer a small entertainment hub. We are now big beyond our tentacles. Just a few weeks ago, we launched our mobile-friendly application to suit both Android (OS) and Apple (IOS) devices. Immediately after the Covid-19 outbreak, we will be shocking the world in a digital way. Legit9ja TV is underway.
What drives you as a young entrepreneur?
The need to push the talented people around my environment to the world has always been the trigger.