View of Johannesburg, South Africa

View of Johannesburg, South Africa

After an 11 years break, Big brother Nigeria (aka Big Brother Naija), the reality TV Show returned on air. The show officially kicked off with a party on Sunday January 22, 2017, and a sudden awakening hit Nigerian viewers as they realized that the show was being shot and produced in South Africa and not Nigeria as expected. This came with caused a buzz and started conversations both online and offline. The Minister of information and Culture, of the Republic of Nigeria, Lai Mohammed, therefore, made an announcement stating an investigation which will begin with the intention to finding out why the show was being shot in South Africa and not in Nigeria.

Other big Shows with high Nigerian affiliation and viewership have been shot in South Africa and Nigerians are beginning to wonder, why always South Africa? From The Voice, Nigeria, to MTV Africa Music Award (three consecutive times), to Coke Studio Africa. All shot in South Africa.

Vice President, Brands and Advertising, Airtel Nigeria, Enitan Denloye; Airtel Smart Icon and The Voice Nigeria Coach, Tuface Idibia; Winner of The Voice,  Agharese Emokpa  aka Arese

Vice President, Brands and Advertising, Airtel Nigeria, Enitan Denloye; Airtel Smart Icon and The Voice Nigeria Coach, Tuface Idibia; Winner of The Voice, Agharese Emokpa aka Arese

The real question should be ‘Why not South Africa’?

In as much as the Nigerian Entertainment industry is growing and expanding beyond boarders, there are vital underground factors impeding the country’s potential to rising above just being the entertainment capital of Africa, but to compete with entertainment giants like Hollywood. The Nigerian movie industry movie moved from being the third biggest movie producing industry to the second after Hollywood in 2014. The fast rising Nigerian Music industry stands on a tall pedestal in Africa. A PwC Report Entertainment and media outlook: 2015 – 2019 (South Africa – Nigeria-Kenya) projects the industry’s revenue growth to move from $51 million as it was in 2014 to $88 million in 2019, with a sharp rise in forecast CAGRs at 11.4% by year-end 2019.

With these tangible details, Nigeria’s entertainment industry is mature and capable of carrying the weight of producing and hosting shows. But here are the possible factors preventing these shows from coming to Nigeria.

Corruption: This factor remains the number one factor affecting every sector in the Nigerian system. Media agencies in Nigeria are competent when it comes to work but there is a level of unprofessionalism that gets in the way of business. From unnecessary padding of budgets across all levels, to request for tips and lots more. These have been ingrained into the Nigerian system particularly in the corporate industry such that foreign agencies that have worked with Nigerians dread this reality and would rather not be caught in the web.

Ease of Business: Sentiments aside, these shows are real big business. Although, the producers of the show might consider Nigeria a great spot following the country’s vibrant entertainment industry, the ease of doing business is on the low. A ‘World Bank Doing Business Report in 2016’ says “Nigeria remains one of the poorest business destinations in the world. Nigeria has only improved marginally by just one step from its ranking since 2014. Out of 189 countries surveyed, Nigeria moved from 170th position with 43.56 per cent points in 2015 to 169 with 44.69 per cent points.” These numbers work against Nigeria in terms of bringing in and hosting these big shows

Infrastructure: Even as the Nigerian entertainment industry expands, there are limited infrastructure for media and production. Shows and events rely on hotel halls for venues. Multipurpose halls are few and available halls may not house big numbers. Also, there are about a few big production studios, thereby causing increase in cost even as the studios are overworked all year round.

Also power supply in Nigeria became worse in 2016 than it was in 2015. Availability of electricity in Nigeria fell in ranking, from 181st position to 182nd (World Bank Doing Business Report)

Wizkid on Stage at the One Hell Of A Night Tour with Chris Brown.

Wizkid on Stage at the One Hell Of A Night Tour with Chris Brown.


Government Support: The Nigerian entertainment Industry has been more or less ignored by the Government. Therefore, the industry has had to grow independently. This seems not to be the case for her the South African counterparts. Their Government has identified the role the entertainment industry plays in the country’s economy and has support it graciously.

 On South Africa hosting the MTV Africa Music Awards for the third consecutive time in 2016, Alex Okosi, the Senior Vice President & Managing Director at Viacom International Media Networks Africa said

We need a lot of support beyond our own means – we benefited from partnership with the Kwazulu-Natal government to stage the show in Durban, and now the city of Johannesburg is on board to help us stage this year’s event… MTV Base at its core has been showcasing Nigerian talent globally. We have staged two MAMAS here and we want to hold more, but we need to get support.
— Alex Okosi


This reveals the role government support plays in attracting and keeping foreign entertainment investors

Work Ethics and Attitude: Nigerians are hardworking people. No doubt about that but sometimes there is this lack of professionalism that affects the general work output. A lack of structure and lack of specialization mostly, as everyone wants to be the jack of all trade grabbing every opportunity and leaving work shabbily done. Sometimes services when paid for will require extra supervision and chasing around to be completed.

These among many other factors work against Nigeria in terms of hosting and keeping these shows.

Meanwhile, Multi-choice, the organizers of Big brother Nigeria, says the need to put out quality content “whilst meeting timelines and deadlines” was behind the decision to transmit Big Brother Naija to Nigerians from South Africa.

Explaining further on the Africa Magic Website, they stated that “We have a fully equipped house in South Africa which is used for the Big Brother shows. For the Voice, our approach was pretty much the same.”

“The venue is already set up with all requirements for the successful execution of the show; this means that we are able to achieve high production values whilst meeting tight timelines/deadlines and ensuring the show comes to our viewers on time, as planned, and with the same globally renowned quality.”

Nigerian Musician, Flavour on Stage at the Big Brother Nigeria Opening Party

Nigerian Musician, Flavour on Stage at the Big Brother Nigeria Opening Party