Despite the intense criticisms among many conservatives, especially religious and political leaders, Big Brother Naija remains popular among young Nigerians and millions of Africans. With auditions for the sixth season of the television show already announced, a study by Culture Intelligence from RED reveals that the show could also provide MultiChoice with much-needed growth in its subscription numbers.
The 5th season of Big Brother Naija which started on 19 July on DStv and GOtv as a pop-up channel and ended on 27 September 2020, broke Showmax video streaming record to become the most-watched entertainment live-stream on Showmax in Nigeria. Apart from this, MultiChoice and M-Net West Africa leverage massively on the reality show to drive subscriber uptake. However, reports indicate that the company was pleasantly surprised by the vast number of subscribers who opted to watch Big Brother Naija Lockdown through Showmax rather than on DStv or GOtv channels.
With a national focus group selected of 500 participants, Culture Intelligence from RED’s proprietary survey reveals that more consumers are motivated to subscribe to either GOtv or DStv when the reality show airs; 40% said ‘yes’, another 40.9% said ‘maybe’ while 18.2% said ‘no’. When asked if they know that MultiChoice is offering its subscribers early access to the auditions, 63.6% said ‘yes’ while 36.4% said they were not aware. Asked if the offer motivates them to subscribe, 54.5% said they would, while 45.5% said it does not.
“No one can argue against the popularity of Big Brother Naija, especially across many African countries,” said Isime Esene, the chief intelligence officer of RED | For Africa. “Over five seasons, the show has created many young stars and grown to become a massive hit for the MultiChoice brand. Moreover, with such a broad audience, the study reveals a large fan base can also improve subscription numbers, even as expert analysis also show that the return on investment from the BBNaija show makes a focus on subscription almost superfluous”.
From music to lifestyle, the show lays bare the intersection between brands, communities, and pop culture. On Showmax, Nigeria accounted for almost 50% of the viewing hours in 2020, South Africans accounted for 30%, and another 15% in Kenya. Ghana, Botswana, Namibia and Uganda also contribute substantial viewing traffic for Big Brother Naija.
“At this point, we cannot argue that Big Brother Naija should be about improving GOtv or DStv subscribers,” said an expert. “A previous report calculated the total sponsorship amount from Betway, Indomie, Guinness, TravelBeta, and others in 2020 at N11 billion. With the analysis, MultiChoice generated about N12 billion from the Big Brother Naija Season 5 and incurred a total cost of N3.62 billion. With an estimated profit of N8.8 billion, we should agree that MultiChoice is not chasing for more subscribers during the show. More time and investment would be spent on promoting the show and ensuring it dominates conversations every time”.
Culture Intelligence from RED supports companies, governments, and change makers with data-backed insight for evidence-based decision-making. It aggregates the ideas, opinions, and behaviours of consumers to solve problems and identify growth opportunities.