The last 10-15 years have seen a drastic increase in the number of reality TV shows in Nigeria. With a wide array of shows to choose from, many of which – like Africa Magic Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa- cater to niche audiences, no other pay-TV operator does it quite like MultiChoice in Nigeria. It is unarguable therefore that the satellite TV platform has the present ‘on lock’. It can also reasonably be argued that MultiChoice has the future of TV fully figured out looking at their lineup of content – the latest season of the ‘Gulder Ultimate Search’ (GUS) is an exciting example.
This season features 18 contestants overcoming unforeseen obstacles to emerge; ultimate winner. The show which is sponsored by Nigerian Breweries Plc in partnership with MultiChoice Nigeria brings all the action to the viewers on DStv and GOtv channels every weekend, with a repeat during the week.
It is not just the broadcast of Gulder Ultimate Search, which makes up part of the dearly held early 2000s memories for hundreds of thousands of Nigerian households, from the era of its airing on NTA. MultiChoice’s third-party channel, Pop Central, has launched a new reality TV show titled, ‘The Rush’. Think the adrenaline rush of GUS, the drama of Big Brother Naija, and the exciting unpredictability of The Voice and you have a picture of what this 8-week intense reality TV show, The Rush promises to be.
There is a reason MultiChoice through its platforms – DStv and GOtv – is leveraging the complementary strengths of its partners to delve even deeper into the reality TV space and it isn’t just the incredible success of a show like Big Brother Naija, which itself is telling of a deeper truth.
Think pieces about how ‘Reality TV is the future of TV,’ are so rampant nowadays they are almost a genre on their own, because reality TV is in fact the future of TV. A truth many pundits once dismissed.
In a 2016 article titled, Reality TV is dead, ruined by reality itself, commissioning editor on the Observer magazine, Eve Wiseman argued at length that “Reality TV has exhausted its tricks.” Citing the spectacle of our daily life and the proliferation of streaming platforms changing how we watch TV.
Five years later and not only are the same streaming platforms making strides to acquire old reality TV shows, but they are also investing in new shows to satisfy an audience demographic that continues to grow. People love drama, better still if they can see themselves mirrored in it, something TV giant MultiChoice understands.
The excitement value of reality TV is clearly more timeless than Wiseman knew back then. And if anyone will know this intimately, who better than the producers of Africa’s biggest reality TV Show, Big Brother Naija, MultiChoice?
In keeping with its mandate to make as many enjoyable options available to its subscribers, MultiChoice is creating fit-for-audience content and with the success of shows like Big Brother Naija which continues to break records year on year, and the understanding of how TV content is increasingly shifting towards more reality TV, it makes sense that a lot of this content is in the reality TV space.
While viewers look forward to the high energy and physically intense reality show, ‘The Rush’, which airs weekdays at 8pm on Pop Central (DStv channel 189), they also get to watch ‘GUS’ which began airing October 16 on Africa Magic Showcase (DStv channel 151), Africa Magic Urban (DStv channel 153) and Africa Magic Family (DStv channel 154 & GOtv channel 2) on Saturdays and Sundays from 8pm till 9pm.
Another highly anticipated reality show already making waves is ‘Mercy What Next?’, a show which reveals unscripted viewing of EX BBNaija ‘Pepper Dem’ winner, Mercy Eke. The show highlights her life two years after winning BBNaija, and also teaches viewers on managing fame, dealing with an increasing fan base and the business of celebrity life.
All the while having access to a host of other options to take a break with, if they so wish.
Writers Guild of America East reported in 2013 on nonfiction television that reality shows accounted for only about 20% of prime-time television programming in 2001. By 2013, that figure had hit 40%, with an average profit margin of nearly 40%.
It is a case of need – from the viewers who gobble this content – being met by thoughtful service providers who come to reap the benefits in a massive return on investment.
MultiChoice is clearly on to something good, and the satisfaction of their subscribers may just be the icing on the cake.