L-R: Rotimi Ogunwede, Head, Media and Marketing, Patricia; Busola Tejumola, Executive Head of Content and West Africa channels, MultiChoice Nigeria; Martin Mabutho, Chief Customer Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria and Ayo Akinola, Head of Business Development, Abeg App at the Big Brother Season 6 Media Briefing in Lagos.

If there is one thing technology and reality TV shows have in common, it is the ability to keep a very demanding audience entertained. This connection became even more crucial following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as corporate professionals, and TV producers started to restrategize globally. However, one show that was able to keep up is Nigeria’s most loved and biggest reality tv competition- Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) organized by pay TV company, MultiChoice Nigeria.

With the shift in internet culture, more viewers were glued to the show on either cable TV or on ShowMax, whilst staying abreast with the latest interactions on social media. 

In 2020, despite the many challenges brought on by the pandemic, MultiChoice Nigeria was able to pull off the best season yet, recording over 900 million votes. A success due to its decision to move auditions online through the use of technology. In March 2021, organizers of BBNaija officially announced its return for a 6th edition with Early Access auditions for DStv and GOtv customers to be among the first to be auditioned, this was followed by Open Call auditions in May. Both auditions followed the same online process as the previous season. However, this was not the company’s first rodeo with virtual auditions. For Big Brother Naija’s Pepper Dem edition in 2019, the audience was allowed to select their favorite contestant through a voting portal opened to DStv and GOtv subscribers. A total of 10 contestants were selected from the online auditions

Being one of the most anticipated tv shows in Nigeria, Big Brother Naija is similar to the SuperBowl for many reasons. In addition to a fan base stretching to other parts of Africa, it also generates good revenue from advertising and partnerships.

Almost every season, MultiChoice Nigeria pairs up with foremost tech brands like Patricia, Kuda Bank and Flutterwave, which in turn leverage the show to promote their products, improve brand awareness and develop customer loyalty. During the show, key messaging such as the advert placements and sponsored tasks contribute to the overall revenue of partner platforms. There is also the fact that the brands are online businesses. A show which can connect them to over 40 million viewers across Africa is more than enough motivation.

According to a report in 2019, experts placed the media value of sponsoring BBNaija at about N10 billion. What this means is that brands have a lot to gain. For instance, one of the sponsors of Season 5, Bet9ja, explained that their target was to grow the brand by 35% and increase patronage by 10%. The betting company later revealed that they hit and surpassed this goal.

During the lockdown edition of BBNaija, housemates participated in a bitcoin quiz sponsored by cryptocurrency company, Patricia. Each participant was awarded $500 BTC and tasked with enlightening viewers on the use of cryptocurrencies. This approach not only brought bitcoin to the masses, but according to Senator Ihenyen, a lawyer and General Secretary with the Stakeholders in the Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SIBAN), it boosted adoption. Already Africa’s single biggest cryptocurrency market, Nigeria accounts for more than 50 percent of traded volumes. It is safe to say that following a successful debut, only big things await the returning sponsor which has over 300,000 customers.

Flutterwave, a digital payments company, is also likely to rake in more money this season. Shortly after the last edition, it announced that it had raised its Series B funding and processed more than 140 million transactions worth over $9 billion. In addition to more businesses using its platform for payments, a possible revenue-sharing agreement with other partners could offer an extra boost.

Fintech platform Abeg, though new to the BBNaija platform, has a lot to look forward to with the show’s brilliant track record. Abeg allows users to receive, send and request money quickly.

The goal for every BBNaija Housemate, organizer, and partner is the Big Reward, and what better way for tech brands to achieve this other than leveraging an audience largely made up of youth. In most cases, exposure to this demographic translates to a heavy influence on purchasing decisions in households, amongst a group of friends, and basically what becomes a trend.

Adopting the right strategies allows businesses to identify consumer behaviors and the best ways to sell a product or service. Secondly, there has been a surge in the consumer base presently drawn to businesses that promote change, and BBNaija provides a solid platform for this. For instance, during some tasks in the house, partners have the chance of reinforcing their commitments to consumers. Social media trends and discussions around the show are other ways brands can stay ahead. 

Technology has many moving parts, but the strongest of all is its global reach. For reality shows like Big Brother Naija that connect millions of Africans, opportunities abound for various tech startups, the corporate sector, and youth all over the continent. 

Partner | Author

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox