What Nigerians Are Viewing on TV … Research Paper
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The type of content that viewers in Africa want is based on the universal dynamic of entertainment categorization, which includes comedy, music, drama, action, fashion, news, and sports. Of these categories, sports, drama and comedy rank highest among African audiences, as indicated by Nielsen (2015) ratings and commercial reports, such as those performed annually and made available via Balancing Act (2014). Males in the age demographic 18-35 skew towards sports (with football being the most viewed sporting event in Africa) and comedy, while women in the demographic age group 18-35 skew towards drama (South African Audience Research, 2015).
In terms of original content, specifically female audiences embrace soap opera shows, dramas and talk shows such as The Spot, Moments, Life of a Nigerian Couple, Paradise Way, among others; for the female demographic in Africa, soap opera dramas are the most popular form of entertainment because they appeal to the emotional core that makes up this demographics' demand in entertainment (Esipisu, 2005; South African Audience Research, 2015; Encomium, 2014). For men, the core demand is for action, which is seen in the sports content that is in demand and for comedy. In terms of music shows, these are cross-demographic appealing to both men and women in the 18-35 group, and DSTV is a clear leader in the pack with talent shows, music shows (such as The Voice, Project Fame) drawing large audiences, as they do around the world. Thus, audiences in Africa are just as universally drawn to the same programming as other individuals in other parts of the world (The Voice is not a regional phenomenon, for example) (Balancing Act, 2015). In the drama category, original programming consists of shows like Hush, Shuga, Tinsel, DHA, and Before 30. In the comedy category, original programming consists of content such as Jenifa's Diary; talk shows such as Moments, Highlights with Ik, and The Spot are popular for cultural, opinion, news, and talk; for reality shows, there is Big Brother Africa (same as in the UK, U.S. and elsewhere with Big Brother shows for every nationality -- another indication of the universality of programming). For men, the primary driver in media is football, though women are increasingly drawn to the sport as well; but comedy, music and drama categories rank high as well (Balancing Act, 2015).
The Disney model of reaching out to a demographic base that ranges from ages 5 to 60 shows that broadcasters can effect a wide-range of appeal by branding in multiple directions for multiple generations at once. Disney's model has the added affect of being generations in the workings, and thus plays upon the nostalgia factor (Sperb, 2013), by harnessing successful content, franchising, building theme parks to promote, financing films to build on the theme parks, spreading the branded message and mission of the company across the world, buying networks that produce alternative content, such as news, sports, and politics; and gathering other successful franchises under its umbrella (Star Wars); it appeals to children from a young age by merchandising child actors to them via TV, then matures the stars along with the audience into young adult products (like Miley Cyrus), then transitions into an adult product (like Brittney Spears), and thus even within the music show, Disney's model is successful as a lifelong project, appealing to such a wide ranging demographic. Older persons are attracted by nostalgia, which Disney promotes (all things old are forever kept new at Disney) and younger persons are attracted by the new, novel approaches to the various media (a Star Wars reboot attracts both older and newer audiences, playing up the aspect of both novelty and nostalgia all at once) (Sperb, 2013).
Disney's diversity of distribution platforms from cinema to live stage events; from television to gaming; from books and coloring books to lunch pails, toys, etc., all work to vitalize the network and make it universally visible to all age groups around the world. This same approach can be adopted by EbonyLife TV and utilized to penetrate a wide range of markets by appealing to universal qualities cherished by both young and old. Merchandising is a major player in supporting various platforms, and the extension is that network television is not just about content but also about promoting the brand and extending it to alternative media.
Within the first 2 years of production, EbonyLife TV can apply the Disney model to its channel by focusing on and emerging as the number own network in the 18-35 demographic among men and women. This will serve to make up the core for the channel, as it is also the largest segment most likely to spend in the commercial sector, and the segment that advertisers most seek to capture (Olenski, 2013). These age groups are likely to be decision makers, to have young children, and to spend in the economy and develop brand loyalty. EbonyLife TV has recently adjusted its broadcasting schedule in order to appeal more directly to the 18-35 segment with programming that targets this demographic via content that earmarks nights of the week for specific programming, such as Reality Wednesday, Travel Tuesdays, Adult Thriller Thursdays, Catch-Up/Youth Friday, and Youth Mondays. These nights will target prime time audiences with content geared to them. Thus, by years 3-5, EbonyLife TV will have branched out to capturing the youth market as well, demographic ages 5-18, with its youth night programming. Thus, Mondays will contain youth blocked time slots in prime time, kicking off with On the Real and Life 101, which appeal to the young person demographic. Travel Tuesdays will appeal to the older demographic, with Moments, Destination Africa, Hello Africa, and other Pan-African content. Reality Wednesdays will begin with First Stars followed by Tianna's Empire and CCU coming later. Adult Thriller Thursday's will begin with The Governor, Sons of the Caliphate and then Fifty the Series. Friday's line-up will be a repeat block of youth content from earlier in the week, as the core age group is out of the home, not watching TV at this time. Shows will include The Vibe and Vibe Street Hub Rap Battles, which will prep younger viewers for the clubbing atmosphere enjoyed by their elders. Saturday's line-up will be a binge-fest of viewing for binge-watchers that will include all-day movie line-ups. Sunday will continue the binge-watching line-up and transition into the big format reality Sunday nights line-up, featuring Tiana's Empire, First Stars, and CCU. A Fresh in July promotion will air to celebrate EbonyLife TV's 3rd year anniversary, so it will be a big occasion to draw a wide range segment, with something new airing every day.
The core prime time hour slots (2200 CAT) will be slated for the following: Mondays -- On the Real; Tuesdays -- The Boot (youth/adult talk); Wednesdays -- First Stars, Men's Corner (male talk, 18+); Thursdays -- The Governor (adult drama).
EbonyLife TV must lead the way and to establish a National promotion agency for Nigeria. For example, European Film Promotion (EFP) is the only existing international organizational network promoting and marketing European cinema worldwide. Founded in 1997, the network comprises professional organizations from 36 European countries who are experts in promoting and marketing their own national cinema. Under the EFP umbrella, all of these organizations work together on the promotion of European cinema and talent around the world. EbonyLife TV must duplicate the successful model of EFP in order to take the lead in the cinematic front. Thus, EbonyLife TV has EbonyLife Films that will secure the rights to cinematic properties for broadcasting in much the same way that Netflix and other streaming content providers does. By having films in its repertoire, EbonyLife makes itself more attractive to a wider demographic and progresses along the Disney model line of appealing to all market segments and becoming the de facto go to source for entertainment for young and old, whether they are seeking television content or cinematic content.
This is especially needed in Nigeria, as Nollywood is becoming a fast growing and important cinematic addition to the film industry. Nollywood films are becoming more popular on sharing sites like YouTube, where they were hardly visible just ten years prior, and today they are receiving the same kind of attention as films in other countries, such as India where Bollywood and Kollywood are popular.
The structure needed to create this agency will be modeled on the EFP organizational structure, which consists of a vast network of entities from the Albanian Center of Cinematography to the British Council to the Swedish Film Institute, all of whom contribute to making the EFP umbrella a major organization. Its Board of Directors consists of members from each of the various entities and this will be modeled in the character and structure of the EbonyLife Films organization. EbonyLife will appeal to various entities throughout Africa related to film, whether institutions, schools, centers, production houses, or agencies in order to garner support for a network that utilizes the talent, vision, experience and production to enable EbonyLife to… [END OF PREVIEW]
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