Chinasa Anukam is widely recognized for her YouTube series, Is This Seat Taken? (ITST), where she invites media personalities and artists to have hilarious and insightful conversations. A successful show host, actress and comedian, Chinasa is a triple threat, quickly winning the hearts of young Nigerians.

Just get started
The typical advice is “just get started”, and Chinasa’s is no different. Despite a rapidly growing subscriber base, she never really set out to become a YouTuber.
She had an idea and wanted a platform that was global enough to reach everyone around the world. She googled “How to set up a YouTube channel” and the rest is history. Although Chinasa didn’t know this a year ago when she launched, YouTube is incredibly supportive of its creators. Since joining, she has received practical tips from the YouTube team at every stage of her development.

YouTube is a really interactive platform and so during every stage of your growth as a creator they make sure they’re providing you with the tools and information you to scale by engaging your audience better and producing even more compelling content

Chinasa Anukam

Consider ‘Nigeria Factors’

Here is a breakdown of all the uniquely Nigerian challenges Chinasa faced while trying to set up, produce and launch “Is This Seat Taken?” along with her suggested solutions. 

Factor 1: Retrieving YouTube PIN

Once you’ve qualified to become a creator on YouTube (read requirements here), you will receive a PIN at your residential address to monetize your account and access your money. Nigeria’s postal system is largely unreliable, which has left many creators unable to access the money they generate from their YouTube.
Solution: If you do not have an address you can send it outside of Nigeria, use the address of a well-known establishment in Nigeria (with permission), or reach out to Google’s customer support to verify your account without the PIN

Factor 2: Location scouting

A lot of the locations where Chinasa initially wanted to shoot Is This Seat Taken? did not fully understand the concept of the show and she was regularly turned away from recording. 
Solution: Challenges like this are best solved by relying on your network in the early stages – your friends and acquaintances are the most willing to take a bet on you

Factor 3: Slow internet 

We all experience the perils of Nigeria’s slow internet – it takes Chinasa 4-5 hours to upload a 12-minute long video, meanwhile, her counterparts in the UK could do the same within less than an hour.
Solution: Patience. That’s the solution here. We’ll be the first to let you know when we get access to faster internet

Produce Quality Content

You can never overemphasize the importance of good storytelling to capture your audience as a creator. ITST is authentic, fresh and funny – Chinasa turns basic dialogue into insightful stories and anecdotes that people around the world can laugh at, and relate to.

Not many people make content with African Gen-Z’s and Millenials in mind. As kids, we loved Paloma and Diego and Super Story. There was such a big culture of watching TV, so I wanted to prove that people were still interested in consuming content that was authentically Nigerian

Chinasa Anukam

ITST stands out because it allows us to hear the unfiltered voices of our favourite celebrities. Chinasa’s charm wins them over and we get to hear new stories about their professional and personal lives. 

Producing quality content starts from asking yourself what your end goal is – is it to entertain, inform or overshare – this will help pin down a format and identify your niche. 

Build a team
For Chinasa, the most challenging part was everything that came between ideation and uploading the episodes due to the multiple hats she wore as director, stylist, producer and editor. Given that her show is more of a production than a personal vlog, there are a lot more hands and financing required. She was able to build an exceptional crew with the help of her Director of Photography, Ajay Abalaka who was instrumental in getting things done and guiding her through the technicalities of editing.  

Raising the money for this series was also a challenge for Chinasa, because most people either wanted to see a proof of concept before any monetary exchange or host the show exclusively on a platform that was not YouTube in exchange for exposure to their audience. 

The latter offer had its pros and cons, so it’s worth considering the end goal with any project you’re producing. Shooting season 1 of ITST cost around N2.5million (US$4,450) which she was able to raise through a combination of her savings and investment from family. 

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