Mwalimu Reuben Kigame has also joined the digital migration debate criticising KTN, NTV and Citizen for lying and bullying the government with empty threats over the digital migration standoff.
Mwalimu has told the three stations that they are not the only ones in the country and their claim to be the only one has been empty and they have been using that to get 80% of advertising revenue from the government and other business leaders in the country.
Digital migration: blessing or curse?
Let me make a few comments on the apparent stand-off between the communications Authority of Kenya and the so-called Media Owners Association, comprising of Royal Media, NTV and KTN.
First, the point we have been trying to make for the last five years is finally being shouted on the rooftops, viz-a-viz, these three are not the only media owners in Kenya and it has always been an insult to other media owners to see the three flock and canvas together in the name of “national coverage” in order to dictate media policy for a country with a clear liberalized media policy. The three must realize that Kenya has other players in media.
Secondly, digitization of the media landscape is here to stay and, may I add a rude awakening to them and all who have not realized what happened a few years ago? The entire universe has shifted to the digital platform and to insist on analogue coverage is to lag behind the world. In fact, let me shock you even more by a semi-prediction: Five years or so from now, even the current digital landscape we are resisting for electronic media broadcasting will have shifted so much – and read my lips – so much that nobody will be clamoring for set-off boxes to receive television signals. I think that hand-held devices and ipads, will be the dominant termination point of TV signals.I doubt that the living room is going to be the assembly shrine anymore. The three media houses need to wake up from slumber.
Thirdly, the concept of media owner is going to slowly collapse and move from the traditional monopoly of financially-endowed individuals and companies. As a matter of fact, anyone with a facebook, Twitter or Whatsup account is going to remain the real media owner. After all, who really now gives breaking news? Royal Media, KTN and NTV? Take it from me: NO. It is the guys with access to phones who can take instant pictures and put the images on Social Media.
Friends, I own and run a radio station, but I must say it has been tough to run it, because? These three media houses have convinced the government and advertisers in general that they are the only media owners, and so they consume more than 80 per cent of all advertisement in the country. That’s why they can give out millions of shillings in awards and competitions wile stations like Fish FM are threatened with imminent closure.
Will the switch from analogue to digital cause job losses? To a few trained in analogue broadcasting, but who can be trained to adapt. What is really exciting, though, is that the switch over will create thousands of jobs directly and indirectly, the signal is crisp and clear, and everyone will compete primarily on the basis of content.
I must close by reminding us that we were supposed to switch to digital by 2012.These guys have spent money and energy in courts, postponing the switch and still want to continue with the game? Some of us are tired. I do not want to hear another court ruling extending this thing.
I wish I could raise enough to go into TV! This is the time, guys. Grub the opportunity and say “no” to extreme capitalism.
For existing media houses who are already on digital platforms, together with those distributing set-off boxes, please make these as affordable as possible to Mwananchi and let us move on speedily, and leave the analogue world behind. I pray this will soon be possible with radio as well.
Long live C.A.K Long live Matiang’i! Long live Wangusi! And long live all lovers of vision 2030!