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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Big Brother Naija isn’t bad afterall

Africa News of Wednesday, 30 September 2020



For those who might know about the reality show, Big Brother Naija has become one of the most successfully organized reality shows on the continent.

The show has made more young Nigerians millionaires in a short space of time than any Nigerian government has done. That's a fact!

The show's influence has grown in leaps and bounds. If there is ever the conversation or argument of a brand which has grown in structure, commercial value, and patronage, then arguably Big Brother Naija will rank first amongst any other brand in Nigeria, perhaps in the continent.

The dream started in 2006 when the Nigerian music industry had arguably had a grasp of the African continent. By then, veteran musicians 2 Face, D'banj, and P-Square (now defunct) just to mention a few were successful in piloting Nigeria's pop culture to the continent and the globe. However, more needed to be done.

As ace media mogul and the first producer of the reality show, B ig Brother Nigeria, Obi Asika will put it, the reality show was meant to build a culture that was non-existent in Nigeria at that time.

During that period, the Nigerian entertainment industry needed diversity. An angle that was lacking and one that could probably change the popular perception about Nigerians on the continent.

Till date, Nigerians are seen in a certain negative light by folks across the globe but Big Brother Naija has managed to change that at least for the three months the show was running.

The reality show, during that period, relegated to some extent the negative perception people might have of Nigerians. Now, Nigerians seem cool, stylish, laid back (for some people), and fun.

"I think Big Brother Nigeria produced that seminal moment for Nigerian urban culture, for Nigerian youth culture," Obi Asika told Pulse in an interview in 2017.

He said that for him, the reality show was more than putting adults in a house and have a camera foll owing their every move.

Asika said at the time; "The real story was our desire to change the way Nigeria was seen and perceived."

Through a local crew of at least 100 and 16 expatriates, their objective was to cast the spotlight on the vibrancy of any of Nigeria's culture, fashion, music, and personality.

Asika continued: "We knew that our content had value, our music, our legacy, our culture but nobody had given ordinary Nigerians this level of window to the world.

"One of the biggest things that happened was that it provided a window into the hearts and minds of our people and Africa fell in love with us and long may it continue," Obi Asika explained.

A decade down the line, Big Brother Nigeria has metamorphosed into Big Brother Naija. Its influence from 2006 is evident in the first set of winners. Katung, Ebuka, and Gideon have cemented their influence in the industry. They have become heavyweights.

The most visible for now is Ebuka. Despite su ffering a disappointing eviction on Day 57, the platform was his launchpad. Now, the tall, stylish, and good-looking host has become a revered media brand. Currently, he hosts 'Rubbin' Minds with Ebuka on Nigeria's biggest news TV station - Channels and co-hosts Ebony Life's 'The Spot'. He has also penned a number of lucrative endorsement deals over the years.

Gideon Okeke who many might not know has become very influential in the movie industry. After leaving the house, he went back to his passion, acting; only this time, his value increased. He landed a role as Phillip Ade Williams on the popular MNET soap opera Tinsel. As they say, the rest is history.

The ultimate winner of that year's edition, Katunga Aduwak, is currently a film director.

While some may argue that Big Brother Naija encourages immoral values, let's not joke ourselves about the impact the show has on Nigerian youths.

Over the last two months or so, the youths have found a new way of dist racting and untangling themselves from the suffering, pain, economic stagnation and corruption that has clouded the country's political landscape. As a society, we tend to forget about our problems because we watch the daily struggles of these housemates on the reality show, believing that their problems are bigger than ours.

Big Brother Naija also provides an escape where we think we can actually relate to problems and issues being faced by the housemates.

Recently, veteran journalist Dele Momodu wrote in his column Pendulum on ThisDay Live that one of the advertisers on the show, Waw detergent recorded astronomical sales in Nigeria since it began advert placement on the show. According to a friend who gave him updates on the ground, the product which she saw on shelves before the show were practically sold-out all-over Lagos Island. She told Mr Momodu that various store managers said that they had to re-stock since the program began. The overdrive of sale was attribu ted to the impact of the show.

Big Brother Naija provides top of mind awareness for brands willing to grow. According to a 2018 study by marketing, and public relations technology company, Plaqad, the media value of sponsoring Big Brother Naija is around N10 million.

The research which examined the direct and indirect impact of the reality show on Nigerians, states the influence of the reality show on these three strategic areas; its popularity with young people, media value for sponsors, and overall influence on Nigerians.

Popularity Among Young People

As recorded in previous seasons of the show, Big Brother Naija has been a major distraction for generations X, Y, and Z respectively. Its influence on them is deep-throat crazy. Not only do they enjoy the glamour and excitement that comes alongside the show, but Big Brother Naija is also an avenue to success - as witnessed by the housemates whenever they exit the house.

With 84 percent, according to the research, hooked on to the reality show daily, the product has become the "new cool". Cabals and groups have been created by the youth to drum home support for their favourite contestant.

Apart from this "informal benefit", the continuous success of the reality show means success for brand partners whose product will create jobs for the youths. Its ripple effect is obvious.

Media Value

Worth more than N10 million, the media value placed on the reality show is a goldmine for local brands.

Social media mentions, the eyeballs, and conversations centred around Big Brother Naija make it one of the most viable platforms for brands to sell their brands to an already "cooked" market.

On Twitter, mentions with the hashtag #BBNaija skyrocket into the millions. It dominates the trend charts in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and more often than not, it penetrates the global trends. How about that!

No wonder the show, despite being owned by MultiChoice Ni geria, a subsidiary of DSTV, has managed to attract top foreign investment into the country. Over the last years, global brands including Pepsi, Legend Extra Stout, Gulder, Dano, Nokia, and Betway have invested heavily in the show.

The other local brands are Minnie Mie, Chin Chin, Heritage Bank, Bet9ja just to mention a few. Not only do these companies enjoy the product placement, the show has opened several opportunities for brands to leverage on as part of the house. The ever-famous games, tasks, and parties have provided more for brands to ensure seamless integration into the show.

Beneficial Influence

According to a Nairametrics study, the 2019 edition of Big Brother which Mercy Eke emerged winner against the other four finalists (Mike, Frodd, Omashola, and Seyi) saw more than 240 million people vote throughout the show.

This number represents the population of the biggest black country in the world. The study also revealed that 50 million people voted in the final week alone. What's more influential than this? The numbers suggest the influence and penetration of Big Brother Naija across every age demography, cultural divide, and professional standing.

MultiChoice, the organizers, or better still the producers of the show, like every brand associated with the show have seen a significant rise in the purchase.

Big Brother Naija has single-handedly driven growth in user subscription for the platform.

Nairametrics says that in addition to growing or adding up new subscribers, the company also records higher customer subscription rates to their different programming bouquets or plans when the show airs.

They also record more revenue through their different value-added services (VAS). In addition to selling more DStv decoders, the company also records more user viewing time during this period as more users subscribe and stay glued to the Big Brother Naija station.

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