OCCUPATION: Internet Entrepreneur,Editor,Businessman
MARITAL STATUS: Unknown
Adekunle Ayeni is a Nigerian public relations practitioner, Internet Entrepreneur,Editor,Businessman He is the CEO of Nigerian Entertainment Today(The NET). He is also the founder of Black House Media, a Public Relations firm, and ID Africa, a digital marketing agency.
EARLY LIFE AND BACKGROUND
Adekunle Ayeni, who is from Oka-Akoko area of Ondo State, had his primary and secondary education (Awori College, Ojo) in Lagos, and proceeded to the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State where he studied Microbiology and got his BSc degree.
Adekunle Ayeni, who is referred to in Nigerian media circle as ‘Ayeni the Great’, made attempts to act before he opted to manage artistes then in his locality of Okokomaiko in Lagos State. He also tried organising awards and shows. A trained microbiologist, Ayeni later took up a profession in writing. He has a career path that has taken him across major media houses in Nigeria. Ayeni has narrated how he embraced writing at a secondary school age. “I started writing in secondary school because I had consumed a lot of literature. My parents had a lot of books around the house. My mum was a consumer of literature…I had read a lot and upon leaving secondary school, I knew I wanted to do literature, entertainment and all that…All though my stay in university I was always writing, so it was natural that I continued when I left..”
Even while studying micro-biology, Ayeni was reading more on music, literature, media and history and he spent more time gathering information on writing than micro-biology, and by the time he left school it was only natural that he focuses more on what he loves doing the most.
Growing up around his parents and siblings exposed Ayeni to a huge amount of literature and music. At some point, he strove to become an actor. Consequently, he attended virtually all the auditions that held but never got a role. At the time Zeb Ejiro was the biggest producer, so one day Ayeni and his friend decided to write their script to try and see if they could make their own movie. That was his first experience at writing and he liked it. From then on, he began writing poems, started writing and finished his own book that same year. He realized that he liked writing more than anything else, so he stopped wanting to be an actor. At some point, Ayeni also started training to become model. So by the time he was going into the university in the year 1999, He already knew he was going to be a writer. So even while studying micro-biology Ayeni was reading more of music, literature, media and history.
As a writer, Ayeni Adekunle Samuel writes on subjects he is comfortable with, which includes music. So by the time he started working fully, He was already like an encyclopedia of modern Nigerian music. He could write anything entertainment from the top of his head. He is so attuned with music that if he is asked to do a two-thousand word article on 2face Idibia, He doesn’t need to consult anything or use Google. He is capable of doing so from the top of his head with dates and figures. Ayeni can do anything entertainment effortlessly because that was what he spent ten solid years consuming. So when he was going to start writing it becomes natural that he writes about entertainment and not politics, business or education. It was later on in his career that he thought it wise to expand and so he began taking interest in business and other issues. But primarily it was Showbiz.
CAREER AND LIFE
Adekunle had a stint as a feature editor with Hip Hop World Magazine. After graduating from the University of Ibadan, he joined Encomium Weekly as showbiz columnist, after which he moved to ThisDay. In July 2008, Adekunle joined The Punch as an E-Punch columnist. “Working for Encomium I knew I wasn’t going to be there for too long, I had always wanted to do my own stuff, but needed to gain some experience working for others. But because I wanted to also taste the other side of the print media, I joined Thisday newspaper and finally, The Punch. It was after that that I felt it was time for me to start my own newspaper.”
When Ayeni founded his business, the people he approached for fund did not oblige him. This was because he had a business plan, and in that plan, he showed that the business would begin to make money three years after set up and will not make profit until after the end of the fourth year. It also showed that for the first two years the business will experience losses. It was a conservative business plan with cash flow analysis. Today, the business have broken even, and is doing very good, growing day after day. It has secured the trust of the audience which in turn, attract advertisers. The website attracts millions of readers on monthly bases.
Upon leaving The Punch newspaper in Lagos, Adekunle Ayeni founded Nigeria Entertainment Today (NET), a newspaper and website specially dedicated to reportage of entertainment in Nigeria, which online version was launched on 23 November 2009, and its print newspaper hit the newsstands on 26 April 2010. The “weekly print edition, printed in different locations, and circulated nationally (in over 37 towns/cities across the country)”
The media platform has been organising the annual Nigerian Entertainment Conference, the umbrella conference for the Nigerian entertainment sector, which brings together all stakeholders in the industry to have a full day conversations, workshops, exhibitions and master-classes. The event, which holds in Lagos, Nigeria on Wednesday 22 April 2015, debuted in April 2013 at Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos. The maiden and last edition drew personalities both from within and outside the Nigerian entertainment industry, including: Frank Nweke Jr, Pat Utomi, 2Face Idibia, Obi Asika, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Amaka Igwe, DJ Jimmy Jatt, Bola Akingbade, Kola Oyeyemi, Basketmouth, Steve Babaeko, Lagbaja, Olisa Adibua, Edi Lawani, Jason Njoku, Ramsey Nouah, Steve Onu (Yaw), Audu Maikori, Sean Tizzle, Naeto C, among others.
The 2015 edition has lined up as speakers the following: Mo Abudu, Davido, M.I, Shina Pellerm Tee A, Zainab Balogun and others. The NET almost ran into hitches when its website platform was hacked on Thursday 18 April 2013. Ransom of $1200, and later $200, demanded was not paid by Adekunle Ayeni, which led him to re-launch NET on its current domain name, requiring traffic to the URL be built all over again.
Adekunle Ayeni founded Black House Media in 2006 for public relations services. In 2012, he led a team of software and content developers in Nigeria to unveil the BHM App, which is the “first PR mobile application” in Nigeria. The application has been described as “a complete resource centre for the entire media and marketing communications industries especially for the clients seeking information about PR agencies in the country.” It took Ayeni and his team one year to develop the BHM App.
Ayeni, in an interview he held with Raheem Akingbolu of ThisDay newspapers, said that the BHM App development was informed by “the crave for best practice. It is high time the Public Relations industry in Nigeria kept the world abreast about its stories and the great things happening in the market. It is our belief that Agencies’ database, news hub, social PR, news and tips and workshop videos that would be on this application will help marketing practitioners, including journalists to be more accurate and informed.” The application was unveiled at an event graced by industry experts. In February 2015, Ayeni announced the launch of his digital media agency, named ID Africa. “ID Africa aims to fill the gap left by digital marketing firms across Africa who currently offers only the most generic of marketing and digital ad services.
Ayeni is a member of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), a trade sectoral group founded in 1984 for the public relations industry in Nigeria. Ayeni delivered a paper on Role of digital Public Relations in managing online communities at the 10th edition of a Master Class series organised by the association. Ayeni posited that “there is nothing like Digital PR…What we need to focus on, and talk about is Today’s PR and Today’s online communities. Today’s PR is about story telling, about content. Today’s PR is increasingly about using the understanding of the psychology of identified publics to weave our message into their minute-to-minute lives and have them thanking us for it.”
In December 2015 Ayeni and Thenet.ng board shutdown the print version of the NET news paper due to low revenue issues, TheNet is now a full time online platform.
AWARDS AND ENDORSEMENTS
Sabinews Man of the Year award in 2015
TheNet news paper as a platform has won several awards.