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Nigerian Idol… Deepening musical talent discovery, nurturing future stars

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
26 June 2022   |   2:49 am
In the global entertainment sector, there are lots of reality shows that have led to the emergence of budding artistes showcasing their talents in different musical genres.

Chukwuyem

Rites Food Assures Of Brand Commitment

In the global entertainment sector, there are lots of reality shows that have led to the emergence of budding artistes showcasing their talents in different musical genres.

Created by Simon Fuller, the American Idol singing contest, which started in 2002, stands out most, like the first United Kingdom (UK) series of the international Popstars franchise, a short-lived reality music talent show that was aired in early 2001.

America’s Got Talent, which debuted in 2006 and was produced by Simon Cowell, is another American reality show that featured prominently singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, and other performers of all ages competing for the top prize of $1 million. The franchise extended to Britain and in April 2014, it was named the world’s most successful reality TV format ever by Guinness World Records.

Other exhilarating reality shows include the Voice (American Series), which premiered on April 26, 2011, the Canadian Idol, another version of the American Idol that began in 2003, and the Australian Idol, the same year, and others.

The situation is not different in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, where musical talent reality shows have taken a foothold. This has brought into view the Big Brother Naija, formerly known as Big Brother Nigeria, based on the global Big Brother television franchise, with its first season aired on M-Net and DStv Channel 37 from March 5 to June 4, 2006; Nigerian Idol, a singing competition for budding artistes, just like idol franchises in other countries; and The Voice Nigeria which started in 2016, another singing reality show.

Among this list is ‘Ultimate Love,’ owned by Multichoice, which started in 2020, and Project Fame, a West African music talent competition, first aired in 2002, and presented by MTN Nigeria.

These developments have so far fuelled the growth of the entertainment sector in the world which surpassed $100 billion in revenues, with earnings reaching $101 billion in 2019, and is currently worth $717 billion, which indicates a 15 per cent year-on-year increase in value.

That shows that the industry is continuing to recover from the effects of the pandemic and is expected to reach $2.6 trillion by 2025, with the industry in Nigeria expected to rise from $4.46 billion in 2018 to $10.5 billion by the end of 2023, as disclosed in PwC’s Entertainment & Media Outlook report.

The report, which was released in October 2019, disclosed that the market is dominated by Internet revenue, as it currently contributes about 61 per cent of the sector’s revenue, followed by television and video, which is expected to push towards $1 billion in revenue by 2023, after adding $172 million in five years.

DESPITE the fuss in Nigeria’s music industry, reality music television shows have to a great extent, posed as one of the most vibrant industries today.

Ideally, this fact has since been covered by the increasing amount of reality television music shows on the global television network, one of the most exciting being the Nigerian Idol sponsored by the Bigi carbonated soft drink from the stable of Rite Foods Limited.

With its 13 variants, which have been the hallmark of uniqueness in the carbonated soft drink segment, the brand has powered the Nigerian Idol singing reality show consecutively for two years now, the Season 6 and the just-concluded Season 7. Both, no doubt, have kept music lovers and fun-seekers entertained in the 10-week duration of the show.

Speaking on his company’s commitment to the show, Managing Director, Rites Food, Mr. Seleem Adegunwa, said the brand would continue to promote talent discovery in music through the Nigerian Idol while espousing the company’s interest in the creative platform where abundant talents thrive in the country.

He said the sponsorship would ensure that talents are nurtured to produce stars such as the famed Burna Boy, who made the nation proud last year by winning the Grammy award in the Best World Music Album category.

To effectively demonstrate its resolve in promoting the entertainment industry, the brand, before the commencement of the Nigerian Idol Season 6, held a mini-Idol show christened the ‘Bigi Media Idol’ for content drivers, music critics, and entertainment enthusiasts to have an in-depth understanding of the show and to announce the brand’s sponsorship of the musical platform.

The major highlight of the event was the 13 Bigi carbonated soft drink variants’ microphones stunt, which got the audience astonished by the creativity adopted by the beverage company, an act that aroused commendation by brand enthusiasts and critics who applauded the product’s aggressive and inventive approach to equity building.

However, for a brand that is consumer-centric, analysts believe that the adoption of the platform for marketing advantage is laudable as a major player in the industry, connecting with its youth demographics, and according to Adegunwa, the brand’s inclusion in this act of young Nigerians is not only considered a well-thought-out decision, its exploitation is driven through innovation and unusual brand activation against the pedestrian approach other organisations would have deployed.

He said that it was one of the most creative ways of using visuals to illustrate commitment to sponsorship marketing, which is all about putting a brand’s message in the heart of consumers for top-of-mind recall.

In the same vein, the company’s Brand Manager, Boluwatife Adedugbe, while explaining the rationale behind the brand’s 13 variants mics at the media lounge of the Nigerian Idol Season 7 show, stated that they represent its involvement and investment in musical talents and discovery which starts from the ownership of the mic leading to the soothing of the throat with the premium products.

According to her, “the connection between the brand and the musical talents is very strong, that as the singers guzzle their favourite brand, their throat is soothed and refreshed for it to let out the natural gift of voice for great performances. So, as the drink goes down the throat, the voice let out the song and our consumers continue to enjoy the great products and sterling act from the young singers.”

Consequently, what is exciting about the company is its disruptive innovation being strategically and consistently employed to cause marketing disruption for competitors while offering value for money.

AGAINST this backdrop, brand enthusiasts believe it has blazed the trail with the creativity attached to the Nigerian Idol sponsorship, thus, changing the narrative of what foreign products have done, as the Media Idol event trended and rivalled The Champions League games played the same day, with the Twitter conversation, which slightly edged it when the tournament started.

In retrospect, the Nigerian Idol Season 6 and Season 7 shows were full of electrifying moments, from the audition of thousands of candidates to the live contest, where the contenders demonstrated their music prowess to get the audience and judges mesmerised with stunning performances which led to standing ovations for the young singers.

Interestingly, the talent hunt has had celebrated stars in the entertainment sector as judges. Season 6 had Thomas Amar-Aigbe, a Nigerian-Hungarian-born disc jockey, popularly known as DJ Sose; Deborah Oluwaseyi Joshua, a British-Nigerian singer, songwriter and actress, professionally called Seyi Shay and Obi Asika, the creative industry entrepreneur.

In season 7, the popular music superstar, Dapo Oyebanjo, widely known as D’Banj; the singer, songwriter, and actress, Simisola Bolatito Kosoko, best recognised by her stage name, Simi and Obi Asika presided as judges, while the top-notch radio and television On-air personality, Ikponmwosa (IK) Osakioduwa, acted as the host of both editions powered in 2021 and 2022.

The shows, which were made entertaining by the headline sponsors, Bigi, with more refreshing viewing moments by the brand, have been a journey of ingenuity, exhilaration, and gripping music contest that lasted for 10 weeks with contestants arousing the emotions of millions of music lovers and fans with entertaining rhythms and glamour of live-music acts.

In the Season 6, which climaxed on July 11, 2021, the 24-year-old Bayelsa-born Kingdom Kroseide, was crowned the Nigerian Idol for displaying an enthralling dexterity that swayed millions of votes at the grand finale of the singing competition, thus, clinching the prize of a recording contract with a leading record label and N50 million worth of prizes.

It includes an N30 million cash prize, a brand-new SUV, a six-track EP recording deal, three music videos included, a branded refrigerator plus a one-year free supply of drinks, and an all-expense-paid trip to Seychelles, a weekend getaway to Dubai for two, and a one-year cable subscription.

Also, the Season 7 produced a winner, Progress Chukwuyem, after 10 weeks of electrifying performances by the top 12 contestants, thus, clinching N100 million worth of prizes, which includes a N30 million cash prize, a new SUV, a branded refrigerator and a year’s supply of drinks, an EP and a music video, a weekend getaway from TravelBeta, and a DStv Explora fully installed with a 12 months premium subscription.

THE 21 years old singer, songwriter, and performer, from Ika South of Delta State, defeated Zadok Aghalengbe, age 27, from Edo State, at the grand finale on Sunday, May 22. The victory was after a heated contest, as both demonstrated their musical dexterity with stunning acts that got the judges and audience thrilled with admiration, but to Progress’ favour, who was declared the winner with the highest vote from the 45 million recorded for the week, as part of the over 220 million votes for the entire show.

Other gratifying moments of the sponsored shows were the visits to the sponsor’s head office in Lagos, by the top seven contenders in Season 6 and the top six in Season 7, during the period of the competition, where they had a fun-filled day, with outstanding acts.

The top seven contenders received cash prizes of N200,000 each as well as gifts, while the top six were rewarded with expensive customised presents.