YouTube has announced the appointment of Nigerian-born US-educated media executive responsible for developing and launching MTV Africa in February 2005, Alex Okosi as Managing Director of Emerging Markets for YouTube in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Okosi will be responsible for running YouTube’s business and partnership teams across emerging markets in EMEA including Russia, the Middle East, North and Sub Saharan Africa. He will report to the Head of YouTube EMEA, Cécile Frot-Coutaz. Based in the London office, Okosi is expected to resume in April 2020.
Prior to joining YouTube, Okosi deployed his expertise in the success of Viacom CBS Networks Africa (formerly Viacom International Media Networks Africa), home to powerhouse entertainment brands such as BET, Comedy Central, MTV, MTV Base, MTV Music, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and NickToons in Africa, as well as BET International with channel brand businesses across Europe, Asia and Africa.
With media and entertainment experience amassed across three continents over a 21-year span, Okosi has a broad background in Business Development, Corporate Strategy, Advertising Sales, Distribution, Digital Media and General Management.
His association with the company goes back to 1998 when he joined the Trade Marketing team in New York. He then went on to become part of the MTV Networks Affiliate Sales and Marketing division in 2000 based in Los Angeles, where he led distribution efforts for the network within his territories in the western region. In 2003, Okosi transferred to MTV Networks International’s Strategy and Business Development team in London where he achieved a personal and industry milestone by identifying a business gap for a youth music and lifestyle channel in Africa, developing the business plan and launching MTV Networks International’s first localised channel in Africa, MTV Base, in 2005.
Okosi would go on to spearhead the growth and development of the Viacom International Media Networks business in Africa through launching additional channel brands tailored for the African market including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, NickToons and BET. Approaching its fifteenth year, the business delivers more channels to Africa than any other international network with a collective footprint that reaches 48 territories and more than 100 million viewers.
In early 2017, Okosi was appointed Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) and by July, he took on additional responsibility as the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of BET International to drive the growth of the brand in markets outside the US.
Okosi’s mission is to develop engaging content and campaigns that not only entertain and showcase great creativity and talent, but also serve to socially empower audiences. Some of the key campaigns created by Okosi include the MTV Africa Music Awards, MTV Shuga, MTV Base Meets, Nickelodeon Genius, Comedy Central Africa International Festival, NickFest, BET Experience Africa and the BET Awards Best International categories.
For his innovative business leadership, Okosi has been recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013, an All Africa Business Leader Award Finalist in 2018 and an honorary Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) in 2019. He has also been featured as a thought-leader in key global media outlets including BBC, CNN and Forbes. Nigeria born, Okosi was educated in the US, graduating magna cum laude with a dual major in Business Administration and Economics from St. Michael’s College in Vermont.
On his appointment, Okosi said, “YouTube is a game-changing platform that plays an increasingly important role in our lives today through the dynamic content and innovation that it delivers. I am very excited to be joining Cecile’s leadership team to continue empowering creators and elevating value for viewers and partners across the region.”
In his reaction, Frot-Coutaz, said, “I look forward to welcoming Alex to our YouTube EMEA leadership team. He brings a wealth of experience in the content industries and has a track record for building businesses and audiences in established and new markets. Alex will be leading our existing teams in Russia, Sub Saharan Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa to drive further expansion in these key markets.”
“Google and YouTube have long invested in growing its business across its EMEA, recently at the annual Google for Nigeria event in July 2019, YouTube announced its commitment to support emerging talent across Nigeria by teaming up with Mr. Eazi and the emPawa initiative to support 10 emerging Nigerian music artists to build their craft, increase their fanbase and connect with the world through YouTube. Throughout the years, YouTube has played an essential role in the discovery and development of African sound, exporting African music to listeners worldwide — in fact 70% of the views from the 25 most watched Sub-Saharan African artists, come from outside the continent.
“In September, 2019, YouTube successfully launched YouTube Music and YouTube Premium in MENA, which further exemplifies the opportunities offered by this high-growth region.
Russia is one of YouTube EMEA’s highest growth markets with the number of YouTube channels of more than 1 million subscribers growing by more than 70 per cent in the last year.
“Okosi’s appointment will only further fuel the development of our creative ecosystem in the region.”