After the Big Brother franchise started in the UK, Nigeria’s version is running strong where others have failed and we thought you should know why it matters to viewers.
It is escapist, controversial and able to survive despite a pandemic that’s crippled other productions.
The show has affected the economy positively, creating jobs for many while also creating lasting relationships amongst thousands of viewers.
Below is why the show matters to many.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with businesses closing and workers forced to stay at home, the show became a source of escape to many, unplugging from the hustle and bustle of life while forgetting their sorrows.
A content publisher and fan of the reality TV show has described the show as a relief to Nigerians.
“This big brother is a relief and we cannot say because Nigeria has troubles in other parts that we should not allow people who through their talents and businesses are making other people happy not to continue with their business or function,” says publisher Kemi Yesufu.
“I think Nigerians were glued because it was a way to forget their sorrows, it’s a programme that unites Nigeria because you see people voting across all kinds of divisions.”
Funke Ismail, a ‘die-hard fan’ of the show said it has helped her forget about school stress and the thought of staying idle.
“I’m always looking forward to BBNaija everyday for the past 99 days, it has made me forget about school and it’s stress, BBNaija gave me the time of my life.”
Adamazi Mbonu Onyi Jennifer is among content creators who regularly scoured for the latest bit of information on the ongoings in the house to bite-sized crumbs of news and scenarios on her social media and website to get almost instant engagement.
It set followers abuzz, debating, wrangling.
“The reality show is quite entertaining just like every other show. After a stressful day, one eases off with the many lined up activities,” says Adamazi.
“It also helps to keep one sane in an insane world and fills up the void created by a non working government.”
With the dwindling fortune of white-collar jobs, Nigeria’s informal sector accounted for about 65 percent of Nigeria’s 2017 GDP, according to the IMF, rating Nollywood as the second-biggest employer in Nigeria, engaging over a million persons.
It’s evident that over the years millions of Nigerians have been devising ways to help themselves survive through economic hardship without waiting for the government.
“In the course of the programme, a lot of young Nigerians were being offered jobs,” says Adamazi.
“I personally have a friend who got a contract to fabricate the Dj booth. He sets it up every Saturday and dismantle it on Sundays amongst others who were involved in one thing or the other to earn a living legitimately.”
BBNaija is only one slice of the Big Brother franchise, but has become the most profitable so far. Some others have had to shut down.
The BBNaija show is beyond the housemates and the host Ebuka Obi-Uchendu seen on the screen for the 99 days.
There is more to the show than the contestants – the crew members, brands, small and medium-sized businesses, online vendors and entertainers.
There are guys behind the screen in their hundreds who get paid for making the show a success on a daily basis.
In a report by Nairametrics, Ebuka shared a photo in 2019 of about 100 crew members (directly hired) to work behind the scenes to bring the show to viewers. The multiplying effect of this on the economy of a nation cannot be underestimated.
This year’s winning housemate Laycon gets a prize amounting to N85 million combined: N30m cash prize; a two-bedroom apartment, a range SUV, a trip to Dublin and Dubai; home appliances, a year’s supply of Indomie noodles, Munch it and Colgate toothpaste; a year’s supply of Pepsi, a branded chiller and a trip to watch the UEFA Champions League finale; and a brand new Oppo mobile smartphone.”
Some of those evicted before the end are already snatching up endorsement deals.
The show has been able to create lasting relationships among the housemates and the thousand viewers who are glued to their screens for the show to pop up.
Many have been able to connect directly with their favourite housemates online amongst others.
“The show avails the opportunity for Nigerians from different tribes to partake in it thereby showcasing their rich cultural heritages and promoting unity.” says Adamazi.
“It also goes a long way in changing long aged negative perceptions people have about different tribes.”
The reality TV show has become a controversial topic for many.
Everyday after the show, fans move to social media with everyone sharing his/her thoughts on what happened, generating more topics from comments thus creating interactivity.
Everything mentioned above cannot be achieved without the aid of technology.
The fifth season of the show dubbed ‘Big Brother Naija: Lockdown’ had a significant makeover compared to the previous seasons following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
While events and program were being cancelled due to the pandemic, the organisers of BBNaija leverage on technology to make the TV show possible.
Using the online platform, BBNaija hosted an online audition process from May 20 to May 30. The audition required contestants to fill out the online registration form and upload a two-minute video stating why they should be selected as housemates.
This is significantly different from the previous editions where BBNaija auditions were held physically in major cities across the country.
Housemates were evicted virtually, houseguests visited virtully, and Nigerians voted to keep their favourite housemates in the house via SMS, Mobile site, Desktop website, MyDSTV or MyGOtv APP for subscribers only.
Why do you think BBNaija matters to you?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section via our social media handles @daily_trust.