Brand Challenges on Reality TV Shows in Nigeria by Nathan Nathaniel
Brand Challenges on Reality TV Shows in Nigeria by Nathan Nathaniel

When it comes to Reality TV shows, Nigeria is not new to it as overtime, these shows have been another form of content on some channels which has been able to keep families glued to their TV screens daily and it has also been a source of talent discoveries for some who really wants to carve a niche for themselves. While the winners of these shows go home with mouth watering prizes, others jump on the stardom to make a difference for themselves at every given opportunity.

In reality television shows participants quarrel, they fight, abuse, cry, laugh, compete, laugh at others failure, plan, argue and conspire. The chain of events is programmed in a manner to put participants in odd situations where things get rough and friction occurs. For viewers this participant generated content is entertainment. The content is designed in a manner so that the viewers can easily relate to it and this factor also increases the voyeuristic tendencies.

Reality television shows content is based on real life situations and centered on daily issues. Due to this viewers put themselves in various situations and learn from the television content. They learn new ways to tackle difficult and strange situations and seek answers to their problems through reality television content. Hill (2007).

So far in the Nigerian reality shows, Gulder Ultimate Search better known as GUS, was one of the first of its kind in Nigeria and this was the idea of the Nigerian Breweries manufacturers of Gulder Larger Beer, as a form of maintaining strong relevance in the beer industry and indeed they were able to hold families together for some years before they had to take a long break and understand the needs of the market and how it will affect content.

The GUS series is also the very first 100% local content reality television programme in Nigeria and it is a survival type reality programme that highlights the struggle of Contestants (10–30 persons, depending on the reference edition), their struggles against themselves and the wild i.e. nature and their search for a hidden treasure that brings to the last person standing instant fame and fortune.

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While some shows were still showing on our various channels, bowers were being entertained with the Multina Dance All show, which saw families coming together in one house to compete through and the winning family goes home with a whopping cash prize. The essence of the show was to promote and create bonds between families and this one show that also did well before it was also rested as it was sponsored by Nigerian Breweries plc.

From the GUS, other brands after seeing how this strategy was working decided to bring on our TVs the ‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire,’ and this was one show that tasks the contents knowledge about his environment and the world in general with cash prices attached to each question till the final level of the game. The show could boast of lots of winners overtime until it was rested by the brand company MTN Nigeria who were the major sponsor of the programme.

These shows won’t be complete if we miss out on MTN project Fame. A show that helps in discovering new talents to fit into the buzzing Nigerian music industry and the show could be proud to say it did well in producing great talents who are doing well in the industry. This show comes with lots of mouth watering prizes with records deals, yet, it could not stand the test of time as it was also an MTN project.

Well, it seems the struggle and brand promotions strength was now in reality TV shows as the likes of another telecommunications company, ETISALAT Nigeria, decide to come out with ‘Nigerian Idol’ which was the local version of the American Idol Series. The show which began in 2010, is an entertainment show aimed at discovering talents for the Music Industry. The show ran for some years but was rested and that is because it was just a particular brand that was sponsoring it.

Won’t you just love the Nigerian Music Industry as it has really seen new breed of talents from these reality TV shows like the next to join the bandwagon, GLO X Factor. Wow, you will say I guess, but this was one talent show that saw many cracking their heads to compose great tunes as we many weeping for not making it through yet, in all, it gave opportunity to many to capitalize on the only side part of it was that it was also rested because it was Globacom Telecommunications show which did not have support of sponsorship.

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The list of reality TV shows in the country is endless as families could not hide their joy when another telecommunications brand, Airtel Nigeria,  came up with Nigeria’s Got Talent. This was a show that gave way for many to showcase their various talents in other areas as the best talent wins yet, it could not stand the test of time like others due to sponsorship.

With brands not relenting at ensuring they try to capitalize on the reality TV show tradition, popular cable service provider, DSTV, decided to bring to us the now most watched show, ‘Big Brother Naija,’ which has seen lots of cash prizes being won, endorsement deals and other prizes being given to the winner and other consolation prizes. This show sees how successful contestants are being camped in one house,  as they share everything together and their ability to survive together, share ideas, compete with each other in various games and show off their normal lives in the house with fans voting to keep their favourite housemates in the show until the final day where the winner will be announced and this show runs for three whole months.

All things being equal, one of the shows that fans might rejoice over is the Gulder Ultimate Search (GUS), from the stables of Nigerian Breweries plc, as the beer giant disclosed this in late 2019, during in a media parley with journalists tagged ‘Meet and Greet’ in Ikeja Lagos, that plans are underway to bring the show back to the screens.

Explaining why the reality show was rested, the Corporate Affairs Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mrs Sade Morgan, said it is due to cost but stated that plans are underway to return the show to the delight of Nigerians.

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From the few outlined well pronounced reality TV shows we have had on our TV screens, it will be observed that other reality TV shows had deficiency in sponsorship unlike the Big Brother Mains show which seems to have sustainability strength due to the influx of brands coming in to sponsor the show and overtime. The growth of the show has helped built some brands presence in the Nigerian market as they have continued to support the show unlike other shows which does not have sponsorship.

Somehow, when we criticize these shows for not existing anymore, we should also understand that these shows are organized not to discover talents alone, but also to promote a brand name and also make money because it’s a business strategy. These reality TV shows are being payed for to be aired in various channels and it’s runs into several millions of naira. Now, who bears the cost of these airtime? It is always the brand behind the programme and they will still pay the cash prizes promised to the winner and others.

Another thing to ask questions about is the brands involved in the now rested reality TV shows, how much were they able to make compared to what they spent on the shows in total? Did their customer base increased as hoped? How much are they being charged for tax by government? After the show, how has been their brand loyalty in the market? What about demand and supply? These and more are the mindset of a brand before going into sponsoring any form of shows in the country.

Let’s not forget the impact of these shows on the viewers and economic importance aside what profits is to be made by the said brand. This is because as a brand, you will need to understand that that aside giving out something, what you want to give out should make impact bother to the society and also help boost the economy like helping create employment and the likes.

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