The 2019 edition of Big Brother Nigeria aka Pepper Dem, is over, ending a rollercoaster for fans, viewers, and generally every Nigerian who nurses interest in pop culture.
BBNaija is popular for its heavy dose of escapism. Everyday, Nigerians are faced with multidimensional challenges, puts a strain on the mind. As society has long discovered, we humans tend to forget about our own problems by involving ourselves in other people’s problems. Reality TV shows like BBNaija offers this crucial escape by commodifying and unfolding the overdramatic lives of others. Watching these people’s struggles makes us believe that our own problems aren’t as severe, or we can connect with their challenges and vicariously live through them. BBNaija provides this escape for Nigerians to relax and engage with housemates.
A mixed group of carefully-vetted candidates are ushered into a house miles away from home. These strangers are joined by the hip in a building for 99 days, after quitting their jobs to invest a portion of their lives into a reality TV show. On the surface, they are signing up to have viewers live through them, but their real hope is that via participating in the house, they can mint money through business deals, brand partnerships, and even launching their own companies.
When you consider it from this perspective, the hit TV show, Big Brother Naija (BBNaija)—where young Nigerians drawn from diverse walks of life live together for the chance to win a cash prize—is defined by its economical value. In fact, the entire show is a money play for everyone involved in the creation, marketing, and advertisement. The participants are almost always in a better financial position after they leave the house. Sponsors get their value worth in advertising and PR. And show-runners MultiChoice Nigeria, experience an increase in revenue. Everyone involved in the show ends up a winner, at least financially.
But here’s the burning question: How much is BBNaija worth as an investment? Do all the numbers add up to show real economical value?
Yes, they do. BBNaija ticks every positive box for great business. In 2018, Plaqad, a marketing and public relations technology company carried out research that examines the direct and indirect impact of the show on the Nigerian economy and society at large. Their results provide data that supports this. But three strategic areas of importance are the overall influence, media value for sponsors, and its popularity with young people.
The 2019 edition of BBNaija ended on October 6, 2019, with a contestant, Mercy Eke, emerging the most voted candidate, after other finalists (including Mike, Frodd, Omashola and Seyi) failed to inspire superior numbers. Winning is a popularity contest driven solely by the actions candidates and intense campaign from fans, which influences viewers to spend money to register their support and keep their champion in the house. This year, the show polled over 240 million votes from the season and 50 million votes in finale week alone. These numbers confirm the influence and penetration of the show.
MultiChoice makes a killing off of the Big Brother Naija show. MultiChoice also enjoys significant growth in user subscription rates during every BBNaija season. Typically, in addition to growing the number of new subscribers on their platform, 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 BBNaija station.
The media value of sponsoring BBNaija according to experts surveyed is in billions of Naira, somewhere around N10 billion. The eyeballs, conversations and general awareness generated by the show makes it a viable option for brands looking to get
the word out about their business. This much is seen in the robust mentions enjoyed by previous sponsors of the show. The top-of-mind-awareness, share of mind and share of voice BBNaija offers partners makes it a top choice for many smart brands. Little wonder, the show always never fails to attract top Nigerian brands as sponsors every season. Online retailer, Payporte was the headline sponsor in 2017 and 2018, while gambling giants, Bet9ja hijacked 2019. Other recurrent sponsors include Minnie mie Chin Chin, Nokia, Heritage Bank, Pepsi, Legend Extra Stout among others.
It’s all down to the perfect product placement. While ads might convey commercial messages, with BBNaija, there are numerous opportunities for brands to leverage on as part of the house. Games, tasks and parties provide seamless integration into the show. This in-show placement accompanies regular commercial breaks and increases the value of the advertisement for sponsors.
At the heart of BBNaija’s influence is a nucleus of a young demographic. Young people are valuable consumers because they influence the purchasing decisions of their friends and family. In addition to being consumers themselves, teens can affect where their family vacation destinations, choice of car, and the clothes that their friends wear. A brand or product automatically gains an image of “being cool,” if it is popular with young people.
For a reality TV show that’s not a regular talent hunt, it is easy to question the value BBNaija has for young people. For a majority of the viewers of the show, the value is obvious as 84% agree the show holds great benefits for the youth by providing opportunities for success. They believe the show provides young people with an opportunity to discover themselves, interact with others, and showcase their talent to the world. In addition, there seems to be a consensus among respondents that the show provides a great platform for contestants to succeed in their individual pursuits as evidenced by the great strides are making after they left the Big Brother house.
Young people are important to numerous markets, from fashion, mobile, and technology to alcohol, snack foods and entertainment. Without young people, a significant number of businesses won’t exist. This audience spends money, and they inspire others to do so. BBNaija offers brands a confirmed route to their hearts.