Recently Addis Insight had an exclusive interview with the founder of tatarri website Amanuel and when he was asked about the challenge of being an entrepreneur in Ethiopia he mentioned the lack of support from people in trying new products. I wonder how many of us are so critical about the Ethiopian movie industry that we tend to label anyone who watches Ethiopian movie as someone who is not intellect or good enough to understand Hollywood. I even know lots of self-thought and inspired movie critics, producers who are not willing to have the gut or tolerance to share their expertise opinion on Ethiopian movies. That being said today I introduce you to a TV show that is changing people perception about the prospect of Ethiopian Movie industry.
Yemaleda Kokeboch (Morning Stars) is a TV show airing on EBS TV for the past three years, the show is a talent competition for those who aspired to become an actor/actress. I list five reason why Yemaleda Kokeboch is the best show airing this time.
Unlike many other talent shows who are a copy paste of American TV formats, I have never come across any show that looks alike Yemaleda Kokeboch. For instance we have the Ethiopian version of American Idol, Feta Show(Lyp Sync Battle), American Got Talent, The Voice,……….But its hard to find anything that resembles Yemaleda Kokeboch. Because of that, I give credit for the founder creativity and originality.
Whenever I watch an Entertainment TV show I always measure the societal value it has beyond Entertaining. In this aspect, Yemaleda Kokeboch exceeded my expectation not only in contributing to the entertainment industry but also in shaping people perception and creating more awareness among the public about the art of acting. This forces any producer or director to pay attention to the standard and quality viewers expect. Just because you put a sexually appealing lady or guy in every movie doesn’t mean you gone retain your first time fooled viewers. This in turn forces producers and directors to cast talent from the only TV show in Ethiopia that coaches future artists.
Yemaleda Kokeboch does not only open a door of opportunity for the show winners but also for the other competitors in a way that many of the competitors’ got the chance to cast in popular TV movies like Zemen and so on. Also, the show not only taps to talents from Addis Ababa but all across the country. In fact, I remember one of the competitors who is a student that came from Hawassa University and among the judges Fitsum gave her a pocket money for her travel expense.
3. Digital Friendly
One of the areas Ethiopian entertainment industry is lagging behind is maintaining its content ownership online. Especially in a time were people are connected to the internet and social media is the gate way for any type of information we are seeking. I have come across on plenty shows who lack to capitalize on their digital viewership rather their content was being inappropriately stolen and monetized by others.
In this regard Yemaleda Kokeboch was well prepared in updating in maintaining its digital presence and the following numbers are indicative of its success.
- Youtube-28,820 Subscribers with 9,734,117 views (adding more monetization stream)
- Facebook Page-72,553 likes (It helps to avoid any fake accounts that steal content)
- Android App- 10,000 Install (The only Ethiopian TV show that has got its own mobile app)
- Website- www.bogustube.com (It is highly unlikely to find Ethiopian TV show with their own website)
With regards to the team composition, it is really interesting to discover the founder background. Unlike what you expect Fitsum Asfaw was a former journalist at Radio Fanabc and prior to launching his career he was much invested as a communication strategist for UNICEF, PSI Ethiopia, and John Hopkins University center for communication. Eventually, he turned out to become a movie director capitalizing on his literature and Folklore. This shows his entrepreneurial look in identifying a gap in the entertainment industry where he is not among the most experienced persons in the table for the theater.
Also, Mahlet Solomon is one of the judges in the show that has an academic background of teaching theatrical art. Her presence in the show proves the importance of engaging professionals who knows what they do.
The last but not least the challenge for most Ethiopian talent show has been airing consistently season after season. The failure to produce series tv shows in a consistent manner will greatly impact in retaining viewership. So far Yemaleda Kokeboch defied the odds and run for a straight three reason without interrupting and most of its digital media pick start to explode after season two.
Finally, for lots of us, it is easier to be quick in celebrating successful celebrities like The Weeknd, Ruth Nega and Ruth B just for having a drop of Ethiopian blood. But what have we done on our part to encourage young Ethiopian talents to shine in their local industry let alone globally.