Kenya’s media scene has been undergoing an evolution over the past few years, ushering in the new digital age where convenience reigns supreme over the consumption channel through which it’s consumed.
Traditional media houses are frantically trying to keep up with the rapidly changing industry, fueled by the ‘smartphone revolution,’ coupled with the ever-dropping prices of data bundles.
According to data from the Ministry of ICT, broadband penetration in Kenya is almost at 80%, which is above the continental average of 35%.
Citizen TV News Anchors Victoria Rubadiri and Jeff Koinange at the studio.
Traditional advertising business model has been run dry, forcing media bosses to come up with new ways to stay afloat by re-evaluating their strategies going forward.
A recent report dubbed Kenya Media Trends and Predictions 2020, which highlighted insights from leaders in the industry, had a common theme.
The mainstream media disclosed the huge possibility of moving to paywalls -a method of restricting access to content via purchase or paid subscription.
“The Kenyan media will start walking back from ‘the original sin’ of offering expensively produced content to consumers for free,” editor in chief at Standard Group Ochieng Rapuro stated in an interviewed for the report.
His thoughts were echoed by his colleague Carole J. Kimutai – managing editor, digital, who reiterated that content would no longer be free in the near future.
In this new age of information, data is expected to take the crown as the king of strategy creation.
Its is predicted that data will be the yardstick used to measure the productivity of journalists, drive product innovation and help form the backbone of any institution.
A newspaper stand in Kenya.
Readers should prepare to encounter websites that will ask them to pay for premium content, adding that this would be an exercise that could prove too difficult to implement, as Kenyans can freely access the latest information for free from social media platforms.
This, in turn, has led to the rise of various fact check organisations, with the sole purpose of sifting through the barrage of fake news to ensure readers weren’t duped by firms looking to push their own agendas.
Media houses are expected to start exploring new content formats and partnerships in a bid to diversify revenue streams.
A common pattern observed in firms looking to stay ahead of the curve has been to gravitate towards more in-depth content and long-form pieces.
However, most top journalists in Kenya predict that at the end of the day, stories which are told in a good way will always carry the day and those good storytellers will be a hot commodity in the industry where content is king.
Jeff Koinange in the Citizen TV studios on June 20, 2019.