Since the debut edition of the hugely successful TV reality show, Big Brother Naija, it has garnered massive viewership and won the hearts of millions. It also amassed thousands of critics.
When the fifth edition of the show hit the screens on Sunday, July 19, 2020, Nigerians were over joyous, even critics did not have much to say against it – everybody needed a break after all.
This year’s edition is tagged ‘BBNaija Lockdown’ for the obvious reason – the novel Corona Virus also known as Covid-19.
Many did not expect that the show would hold as several events around the world were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Like a toddler deprived of breast milk for too long, most young Nigerians, who are the ardent viewers of the show, could not hide their bitter-sweet excitement when the show launched.
They took to social media to express a ton of hilarious emotions through memes, Graphical Interchange Format (GIFs), and in words.
It was a sigh of relief, from the daily score count of Covid-19 cases that threatened the freedom and social existence of every soul on the planet.
Some even took a break from watching TV and avoided any Covid-19 related news on their mobile feeds like a plaque.
Only Netflix, the online movie streaming service, provided entertainment for young Nigerians until their favourite show came on the screen.
For most of the viewers of BBNaija, it only means that drama, romance, and everything entertainment is back but only the organizers, Multichoice Nigeria, seems to know that all the fun comes at a huge monetary cost.
The anti-BBNaija crusaders too seem to turn a blind eye to the huge investment that goes into the production of the show. Perhaps they are ignorant of it.
The usual criticism is that the reality show is evil and promotes immorality, and that it adds no value to Nigeria and Nigerians. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it must be within the confines of objectivity.
Apart from the morality question, some of the critics also believe that the organizers are exploiting unsuspecting Nigerians with the N30 per SMS charged by service providers for voting on the show.
To put things in perspective, the 2019 edition of the BBNaija attracted a total of 240 million votes. Do the math.
Interestingly, nobody talks about the initial investment the organizers commit to produce the iconic show in the first place.
Let us give you a rough idea.
According to competent industry sources, the value of the Big Brother Naija house, where about 20 housemates are kept for three months cost N2.5 billion – the expenses include the construction of the house, designs, and furnishing.
Business Elites Africa (BEA) also reliably gathered that the production budget to produce the ongoing world class show is N1 billion – it covers production equipment, salaries of the over 370 production crew, among other things.
BEA also learnt that the total cost of producing the ‘Big Brother Naija Lockdown’ show is N3.2 billion. This figure excludes the grand prize worth N85 million that the winner of the show will take home and the investments made by sponsors, plus other promotional and marketing expenses.
Clearly, many have not given it much thought that the BBNaija is beyond entertainment, it is a LEGAL product that must be marketed and sold to generate revenue for its investors. That is how business works.
Just to buttress, according to an Accenture report published earlier in the year, MultiChoice Nigeria’s economic contribution to Nigeria was estimated at N634 billion over the past five years.
The report also said the company created over 12,000 employment opportunities for Nigerians during the same period.