The Legacy Media in Kenya - Why our Media keeps Firing


Nowadays, it’s not a big deal to hear X Media Group is firing Y employees and enforcing pay cuts to Z employees. It’s not news anymore. Our media is the most boring platform of our times, look around TV, Newspaper, Radio, Digital…

We are still stuck in the old traditional ways of media. There were times when watching TV was cool, but those days are gone. There were times when listening to the morning show on Radio was cool, but those times are past. People could meet in their social places and discuss what was on TV, what the headline said, but again, those are times in the past. People used to have favourite newspaper columns and columnists, but yet again...

News flash: The World Changed some decades ago.


The media in Kenya has completely refused to be innovative. I will use the term REFUSED in caps. This is how traditional media is being swept aside. We are all consuming local media programmes from foreign channels YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Netflix, Torrents, Blogs, Influencer Personalities et al. At this age, the biggest form of innovation you will receive from a large media house in Kenya is a subscription link to a newspaper PDF you will never read. It’s time the media in Kenya woke up, invested in the future instead of complaining about the past, and how COVID-19 has affected it’s revenue book. The government doesn’t advertise with the media like it used to. That's a fact. Advertisers have options way cheaper, targeted and responsive. Another fact. YouTube Now has TV. Facebook now has TV. Launching new TV stations is not innovative at all. It's just another add to the garbage. Users want good content. They're your bosses and they'll choose what they want and go with it.


Covid-19 proved how connected the new world is. Content is driving change in the world. Data is King, with a capital K. VPNs allow us to stream content from anywhere in the world. We just lie about our Geo and ta-dah, we're connected to some Mexican Soap Opera in Latin America. The amount of data a media house that was launched in 1960 has would make some companies like YouTube salivate. But what do you do with this data? Send newspaper subscription emails? People are tired of beautiful presenters earning six figures to read a written script on prime TV. One person is paid a whole department’s salary to just look good on TV. In other parts of the world, Prime TV is when the best TV programmes are on show, the Game of Thrones ire, the Ozarks, the many programmes in the mouth of every TV fanatic. When is the last time the media in Kenya acquired an original show? When was the last time you thought of sports - the EPL et al?


The media in Kenya has the largest talent pool. Employees are equipped with the most advanced TV Cameras and video productions equipment, but most of the time they’re rushing to some politician's home because he has a presser. Some stupid reporting of how he slept last night and what he ate and what he thinks of Covid-19 in his constituency. Who cares? What is the shelf-life of such a story. Who will watch it again after we move from your live TV version. In time, people will just turn off their TV sets. Who watches TV anymore? Who reads the newspaper anymore in whatever fancy PDF format it's provided in?


We need to be competitive. The media needs to drive change through social inclusion. There are so many startups with really good ideas languishing in financial drought. We need to think of media bootcamps, put startups together, get them to offer media innovations. Innovation is driven by startups, that creative guy sitting at home with an idea but no financial muscle to see it through. That is the guy to bring the coolest innovation in media. Look at startup acquisitions by large global conglomerates and you will see the pattern. The best ideas come from startups. Microsoft acquired about 20 startups in 2019 alone. Read about Google et al.

The Future is Driven by Content

The media in Kenya cannot simply sleep and wait for some politician to call a presser. We need documentaries we can watch 10 years from now. We need TV programmes we can talk about, we need to forget the Papa Shirandula monologue and provide programmes rich in content. If we don’t do these things, the media will only be there to report on innovations with no particular share in it. The media has data. The media has content. The media has resources. We want good TV. We want websites we can subscribe to and pay for good features. We want something new. You may just end up producing legacy content about how Kenya won independence with nobody to watch. My thoughts.