EntertainmentThe Evolution of the Big Brother Africa – Naija Franchise.

Abayomi OgunniyiOctober 16, 202140912 min
Big Brother Naija Shine ya eye: Bukas Blog
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The Big Brother Naija Season 6 commenced on Saturday 24th July 2021. The theme for this year’s edition was tagged Shine your eyes, a Nigerian slogan to emphasize the need to activate your sense of awareness by being careful of things around you.

22 contestants compete for Prizes worth 90 million Naira; a 30million naira cash prize, a Car by Innoson Vehicles and Motors, House appliances and other prizes from the sponsors of the reality show.

In this program of 72 days , we expect a lot drama and controversy from contestants. Beyond the drama, let us take a brief view of the show and the factors that have led to its commercial success for 6 seasons.

Big Brother Nigeria is a reality competition television series based on the Big Brother blueprint where contestants live in an isolated house, avoiding being evicted from the house by the viewers in anticipation to win the cash prize. Every week, contestants are nominated by fellow housemates for possible eviction and the nominated housemates are announced to viewers, requesting for their vote on the housemate they want to see proceed on the show. The candidate(s) with the lowest votes is(are) evicted on the live show while those with a highest votes get another chance to progress in the competition.

Prior to the emergence of Big Brother Naija in 2006, Nigerians such as Karen Igho, Uti Nwachukwu and Kevin Chuwang Pam emerged as winners of the Big Brother Africa a reality show.

Karen Igho: Source: 234 star
Uti Nwachukwu  ;  Source : Vangaurd News

Following the success of Nigerians in the Big Brother Africa Series, Mnet and Dstv aired the first edition of the Big Brother Nigeria on 5 March, 2006 with notable names such as Ebuka Uchendu, Maureen Osuji, and Gideon Okeke participating at the show. Katung Aduwak, the Kaduna script writer emerged as the first winner of the show despite coming in as a fake housemate.

Ebuka Uchendu : Source: Bella Naija Style
Katung Aduwak ; Source: bella naija

The cancelation of Big Brother Africa by Multichoice in 2007 after 9 seasons gave birth to the reemergence of the Big Brother Naija Show. The Big Brother Nigeria returned to the scene in 2017, 11 years after its first edition. It came out a much improved version with more sponsors.

The 2017 “SeeGobe” edition was widely recognized among Nigerians within and outside Nigeria with a huge followership of over a million on different social media platforms. It marked the beginning of a huge success and awareness after an 11 year absence. The reality show gave birth to celebrities and household names we know. The huge commercial success that comes with every edition is inevitable.

Big Brother Nigeria was seen by many Nigerians as an escape route from multi-dimensional challenges and anxieties encountered daily across the country. This belief has endeared more Nigerians to the reality show with over 1.5 million and more following either their favorite house mate before and after the show. With a followership of over 1.4 million fans on Instagram likewise a followership of 1.9 million fans on Facebook, Big Brother Nigeria has become one of the most watched and followed reality shows across the globe.

Candidates are screened from within and outside the country and majority of these candidates are professionals that quit their jobs to participate in show. For many, it is an opportunity to move into the entertainment industry which according to a report by PwC in October 2017 generated, $39million from its Music Industry, $810million from Television and $22million from the film industry.

The belief is that their participation and their vote of confidence by the viewers to keep them in the house can make them money via business deals, brand ambassadorship and launch of their companies after the show.

Big Brother Nigeria being a show with a youthful audience has a huge economic impact. Every task from the Head of House games to the Friday Night Challenge, has its own prize money from each of the sponsors of the show. Each participant is rewarded by the sponsor if they win a challenge during the show. Aside from the winner takes it all, gifts worth over a million naira are given to the participants that wins a task organized by the sponsors alongside paid trips to exotic places across the globe.

The prizes have a marketing value with each participant promoting the brand during the show. It is a medium through the art of public relations effectively executed, whereby one of the participants of the show is signed into a deal as a brand ambassador of the company or business sponsoring the show.

Logistics, Branding, Marketing and Public relations play a huge role to the commercial success of the show but we cannot discard the power of the people vote which has been very crucial to the revenue generated during the show.

In October 2019 according the Vanguard Newspaper, it was reported that the Big BrotherNaija show  generated over 7.2 billion naira using a rate of 30 naira per text  to vote for housemates. During the Lockdown edition of the show, the Guardian Newspaper in its published news of 30th September, 2020  reported that a total of 900 million votes were recorded amounting to 27 billion naira made from the votes.  It was the highest ever since the show’s inception in 2006. It is the votes that earned the show more profit than its previous edition.

The media sponsorship also played a huge role in its commercial success. The Sponsorship is estimated at the rate of 10 billion naira. Companies such as Bet Naija, Pepsi, Abeg, Patricia, Heritage Bank, Legend Extra Stout spent a huge amounts of money because of huge participation of the viewers who are also part of their target audience.

The Big Brother Nigeria has created huge business opportunities for the Nigerian youth, corporate companies and entertainment agencies where Music, Movie Stars and Brand ambassadors are recruited from. It has served as a money making avenue for multinational organizations with the entertainment sector toping the charts for revenue generation across the country.

Should other African countries invest in the Big Brother franchise?

Abayomi Ogunniyi

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