BrandArena: Reality TV Shows: Declining In Relevance, RIO For Marketers?

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Reality TV Shows: Declining In Relevance, RIO For Marketers?

With increasing lethargy to advertising by audience, especially the youth, and the need for marketers to look for way of positioning their products and services to attract new and retain old customers, marketers in the last few years turned to reality TV shows sponsorship.

The appeals that reality TV shows have on their audiences led to many products and organisations to explore it for their marketing communications spending and products and service placement. As viewership increased, producers have also improved on contents and come up with better packages that attracts more audiences to stay glued to their TV screens, thereby, also attracting more sponsorship from organisations.

The very first ‘reality TV’ show was Candid Camera, created and hosted by Allen Funt and first telecast in 1948. Since then, it has continued to gain widespread acceptance all over the world.

In Nigeria, since the maiden edition of Big Brother Africa in 2001, in which for the first time a Nigerian featured in any reality show, reality TV shows have become the ‘new big thing’ in Nigeria. Reality shows such as Gulder Ultimate Search (GUS), MTN Project Fame West, Maltina Dance All, Etisalat’s Nigerian Idols, Glo Naija Sings, among others gained huge attention of audience.

But recent research has also revealed that Reality TV Shows is also declining across the world. Over a hundred TV shows were cancelled this year globally with about 75% shows in Europe especially America been cancelled.

Also in Nigeria, many shows have also been cancelled in the last few years. Peak Talent Hunt, Sprite Triple Slam, MTN Family Game Show, Lucozade Boost Freestyle, Big Brother Nigeria, are some of the shows that are no longer on air.

While some are as a result of lack of enough sponsorship others were due to their inability to appeal or retain enough attention of the audience annually.

With recent news of the cancellation of Big Brother Africa 2015, BrandArena learnt that other Reality TV shows such as Maltina Dance All (MDA) may not be taking place this year as well. The question is: Are Reality TV Shows declining in relevance or return on investment for marketers globally?

Abiola Amusan, a marketer said Reality TV Shows seems to be losing it ROI as consumers want to connect to brands beyond just the dance, music and adventures. “For me, I think brand owners are beginning to face the reality that consumers’ expectations from them are changing. Observably, Experiential Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility nowadays are what consumers are paying more attention to. They want the organizations to be more responsible by taking care of better projects like improving the standard of our schools, supporting the needy and promoting environmental courses”, he said.

On return on investment, Amusan said most organization carry out evaluation after each projects which also play a role in determining whether they continue to every campaign executed annually.

Well, I think it’s basically the cost executing Reality TV Shows have continued to raise. Cost of media buying, getting a good location and carrying out auditions across all region of the country is a big work. Most companies are cutting their budget due to economic challenges and I believe this most have been one of the major reasons why many of them are off the air”, said Ejiofor Godson, a Lagos-based business developer.

Godson also believes that Reality TV Shows will never go to extinction despite its continuous decline globally. 

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