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Digital media surge eats into radio market

Digital media surge eats into radio market

Digital media surge eats into radio market


Radio listenership in Kenya has taken a hit courtesy of the accelerated digitisation of media consumption. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Radio listenership in Kenya has taken a hit courtesy of accelerated digitisation of media consumption, dropping from an audience base of 92 percent of the country’s population in 2014 to 77 percent as of last year.

New data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows that, on the other hand, TV viewership and online access surged from 46 percent to 74 percent and from 27 percent to 57 percent respectively over the same period, while newspaper readership dipped to seven percent of Kenya’s population from 21 percent in 2014.

“This shift in preferences suggests a dynamic transformation in the way Kenyans engage with media, with television and online platforms playing an increasingly prominent role in shaping the country’s media consumption habits,” stated CA in its latest Kenya Media Landscape Report.

The count of operational radio stations has, however, witnessed growth during the period, rising from 120 in 2014 to 228 last year, while TV stations rose from nine to 182 as newspaper publications went up marginally from nine to 13. The report notes that newspaper readership attains its peak in the Nairobi and Western regions.

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“This surge in TV stations can be attributed to the proliferation of digital media, with an increasing availability of stations across various platforms, including set-top-boxes and online streaming,” noted the country’s communications industry regulator.

During the three months to last September only, CA says it issued a total of 15 licenses to broadcasting service providers for radio and television operators, bringing the number of licensed broadcasters to 655 as at close of the quarter.

In terms of gender and age demographics in media consumption, male users and the elderly posted a high percentage of those who listened to radio and those who watched TV.

Internet usage, on the other hand, was more pronounced among younger audiences, hitting its peak among those aged between 18 and 24 where it enjoys 72 percent consumption, trailed closely by the group of those aged 25 to 34 where 69 percent are regular users.

“Respondents from urban setting had a high percentage of those who watched TV while rural setting had a high percentage of those who listened to radio,” said the authority adding that a combination of radio, TV, and internet was consumed by 22.6 percent of all the respondents.

CA says traditional radio sets remain the premium medium for radio consumption at 78 percent, with mobile phones fast-rising to claim the position of a significant alternative at 30 percent, a trend duplicated in TV content consumption where TV sets remain dominant tools at 93 percent while mobile gadgets account for nine percent.

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“Roughly 50 percent of the participants reported daily engagement with both radio and television. Social media usage was a daily habit for nearly half of the respondents. In contrast, more than two-thirds of the surveyed individuals admitted to not reading newspapers,” said CA.

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