The Clamour to Ban DSTV’s BBNaija Justified or Not? The Jury is Out!
The much talked about BBNaija reality show which had kept a larger chunk of young Nigerian population busy for 99days finally came to an end last week. DSTV Multichoice, producers of the show that kept Nigerians wide awake and glued to their DSTV channels despite huge disapproval from some “concerned” citizens.
The vociferous opposition that welcomed the “Pepper dem edition” of the BBNaija, one would think there would be a boycott of the show or voting for housemates but alas, it turned out just the “noise of the century”.
To show how big and popular the Tv reality show has become, Mr. Tola Odusote, a media and PR practitioner who decried how young Nigerians and Nigerians in general detest going out to cast their votes during elections even-though voting is free and a civic responsibility, lamented how same Nigerian youth spent N7.2b to vote for the 26 housemates in the course of the show that lasted about three months.
By simple calculations, over 240 million votes were recorded in all the evictions at N30 per sms. They equally spent 2,376 hours watching the show.
This proves that while a section of the population will always find it convenient to complain, Nigerians will always embrace activities or programmes that get them entertained and satisfy their desires explained Mubo Alabi, a media practitioner who further disclosed that she never watched the show but got every update of the show on the social media. “Trust me, I didn’t spend a second watching the show on TV but I was able to follow it on social media to get updates (thanks to Twitter)”.
“At this point, I won’t let my religious belief tamper with the reality on ground. I’m sorry if my bible study teacher is reading this but we need to be realistic” Mubo said sarcastically.
According to her, the success of the show is only a testament that the producers did their homework, and they offered their target audience in the public, what they wanted. That’s why they could move beyond merely watching, to spending their hard-earned money to vote for their favourite housemates, she rationalised.
A business will always look for ways to maximize profit – this could either be in financial terms or otherwise. A business that doesn’t make profit is unsustainable whichever way one looks at it, stated a media expert who craves anonymity. He added that one of the successes parameters of programmes is when sponsors and brands find it a wise investment.
Based on this, the more the audience and sponsors continue to find BBNaija attractive, there may be no stopping. The current crop of sponsors of the programme which include Bet9ja, Heritage Bank, Innoson Motors and others are definitely not throwing money into the ocean, they saw opportunity to connect with target markets and it is paying off massively.
At the close of the 5th Big Brother Naija, sponsors confirmed that they recorded better footfalls, made reasonable sales and by extension higher profits while the show lasted. Managing Director, Innoson Motors, Mr. Donatus Okeke, one of the key sponsors of the show puts this in perspective during the prize presentation of the car award to the winner. According to him, “the company sold over 100 units of cars for the duration of the show” alone.
Beyond the bottom line and benefits to sponsors, the show created lots of jobs for people whose skills and expertise were needed to make it successful compared to when the show was produced outside Nigeria.
Managing Director of Multichoice Nigeria, John Ugbe while addressing the press on putting the show together said the sprawling multi-purpose state-of-the-art studios was specifically built in 6 months for the programme.
This implies that jobs were created for bricklayers, carpenters, painters, tiller, plumber, interior and exterior designers, stage engineers, sound engineers, make-up artists, and others.
Everyone is a winner in this. “Government cannot provide enough jobs for all citizens and those making job creation possible should be commended”.
In another perspective, the platform has definitely served as an avenue to make some Nigerians rise above poverty line if they can really leverage on the exposure and opportunities the platform offers. Recently, two of the housemates Omashola and Frodd became brand ambassador for a company. With these and other opportunities yet-to-come, the housemates will most likely live a fulfilling life and career. The same goes for all who have passed through the platform.
According to findings, the call for the banning of the show is mostly championed by the “holier than thou”, those who are probably “more catholic than the pope! “They talked down the programme as disgusting and against the culture of Nigeria. Should I say human beings have a figment of hypocritical thinking packaged to chase clout, win favour and maybe to gain needless attention” opined Mr. Lukman Ishau, Publisher, Marketing Space.
Going further, he explained, camping different people of different cultures, attitudes, way of life, different backgrounds and diverse point of views is a unique way that tests how people can live together, build and teach togetherness though they are from different world views, they form a microcosm of the entire nation.
“And because these people are human, many things are bound to happen which is also a reflection of the broader society. Besides, there’s nothing that happened in the house that is against the law of the land maybe against morality”.
But why would some government officials call for its ban? The show wasn’t aired on terrestrial television regulated by the government but on pay-TV. Dedicating your time to watch Bbnaija is by choice out of the arrays of channels available. In other words, those who watched it, paid for it, they were not coerced or forced.
Responding to what he sees as unnecessary attention and pull down syndrome, Aderemi Ogunpitan, Founder & Managing Director of IBST Limited, a leading company in the TV production industry in Nigeria, queries “Where is NTA, AIT, Silverbird and other numerous broadcasters?
Painting a picture of the rot in the industry, he noted: “One cannot survive without government funding, others are beholden to political connections, debt and enmeshed in all sorts of substandard delivery of programming. Others who pretend to be leaders in the sector are privately comfortable with the rot, as it provides them a platform to consolidate their best TV station of the year awards. And, BON is helpless beyond the platitudes that seem to be the same year after year”, Mr. Ogunpitan declared.
Instead of chasing shadows, the accomplished producer advises “it’s time to call a spade a spade and stop blaming others for our short-sightedness, lack of vision, required commitment, policy and honesty to move our industry forward”, adding that the blaming game should stop as it’s another selfish strategy that will lead nowhere.
“Let’s encourage ourselves to build our own. Stop chasing shadows! Let’s look at alternative business models, creative solutions, partnerships and cooperation. The market is too big for anyone to monopolise. In this regard, we need new thinking. Not the same of the same, again!”, he advises both industry practitioners and government.
The general notion, however, as it seems is that the show apart from satisfying a need both by audience and marketers who gladly support it year-in-year-out, its contributions to providing employment and opportunities for young Nigerians to unearth their innate talent cannot be overemphasized. It also challenges our creative community to tap into the need of the audience to hit the goldmine without necessarily going overboard.