The Apprentice Africa TV Format: Local Culture, Global Model, and Informalized Production Practices in the Nigerian Media Industry
Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence
6. HUMANITIES, Radio and Television
In 2008, the hugely popular American global television format programme, The Apprentice, debuted its Africa wide version, The Apprentice Africa, in the African market. This became the first entrepreneurship format programme to be produced in Nigeria and Africa. First, the show was broadcast on three Nigerian channels, then moved to broadcasters in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. The Apprentice Africa reality TV show is a strategic research site for investigating the conditions of television format production in Nigeria, considering the programme’s interaction with multiple economic sectors of the country.
This study is set against the backdrop of the organizational conditions of the Nigerian media industry and how they potentially relate to the historical dynamics of nation-building. Thus, it navigates the development of the entertainment industry amid a history of interactions of political, socioeconomic, and cultural factors. Its literature opens with an appraisal of globalisation, broadly explaining how chains of global and local activities converge and interact to result in international trade and adaptation. The literature then tapers into informalization, exposing how local and global media industries function within shadow economies. Accordingly, the literature introduces television (TV) formats. TV formats exemplify and validate the potential for cultural formations or adaptations to be, on the one hand, ‘streamlined or standardized in nature’, as in global media industries, and on the other hand, partly standardized, as in the Nigerian national media industry.
The Apprentice Africa TV format represents an example of a good product of a system that production practices embedded in a culture of informality accomplished. In analysing this adapted format, I argue that cultural innovation benefits an informalized production ecosystem. Bourdieu’s conceptual model of cultural forms describes and explores how television format adaptation is affected by these broader Nigerian media cultures and dynamics. A methodology involving an Ethnographic Content Analysis (ECA) which features observation and documentary analysis provides a fundamental examination and interpretation method in examining the production and dissemination of this case study format. Furthermore, ECA offers the opportunity to uncover new patterns, emphasis and themes in the documents conceptualised as field work.
In its contribution to knowledge, the study first reveals informal practices as overlooked opportunities for innovation of culture in media fields such as adaptation and production of TV formats. Second, it reveals that the Nigerian media’s structural flexibility increases innovative possibilities. Thus, evidence shows a thriving intersection of the country’s film and television industry’s agents and agencies. Consequently, perfectly licit commodities such as television formats may originate from either irregular or unregulated production arrangements where there are significant cultural influences and changes. Third, the study also showed that Nigeria’s socio-political and organizational history has implications for informalization of its media. Finally, an underlying factor both influenced by informalized culture and partly contributing to it is the country’s hustle culture – in Nigeria, you must hustle to succeed in the business scenes. The implication is that the culture of informalization prevalent in the media industry influences global format adaptation in the country, differentiating its production processes from globally understood and standard processes.
Anyanwu, K. (2021). The Apprentice Africa TV Format: Local Culture, Global Model, and Informalized Production Practices in the Nigerian Media Industry. Technological University Dublin. DOI: 10.21427/PQER-KE56
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.
African Languages and Societies Commons, Film and Media Studies Commons, Television Commons
Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy, School of Media, Technological University Dublin, October 2021.