President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday kept the media bosses of NTV, KTN and Citizen TV waiting at State House as he was busy attending to fellow Presidents at the EAC summit at KICC.
The President alegedly invited the media bosses at State House, but he was angered by the manner in which the Media Owners and the CEOs of the three TV stations were handling the digital migration debacle. After inviting the bosses, the President was informed that the media owners were still peddling lies and speaking a lot of untruths about the migration so meeting them would have been like bowing to their blackmail.
The president was also categorically informed that KBC had gained lots of viewers during the time the 3 stations has been off that now it commands an average of around 2 million during prime time news. K24 is also said to be gaining traction with viewers who really need to watch news moving to the existing stations.
Before the 3 stations switched themselves off, KBC had only 400,000 viewers during prime time news. That grew to 900,000 on Monday and eventually 1,8 million on Wednesday. The growth is so steep that the government is happy with the developments.
Having been supplied with the data, the President reportedly regretted inviting the media owners and managers to State House. He was heard saying, “sasa tunasumbuka na hawa kwanini?”
With advertisers also looking for new opportunities, it seems like the 3 TV stations will have to play ball and migrate. Safaricom is already mulling setting up own channel on one of the digital platforms. It is also said to be planning entry in the set-top boxes market. Equity, through Equitel, is also planning to make a splash and has already ordered set-top boxes as it seeks to deliver affordable entertainment to the Kenyan households.
Previously, the rogue media owners were offered a chance to buy into Signet and own stakes in it like ISPs were offered chance to own stake in TEAMS cable. The media owners refused the deal and played hard ball demanding that they be given 100 days to import set-top boxes.
Meanwhile GOtv is the leading distributor of set-top boxes (STBs) in the country with a market share of 37 per cent followed by StarTimes at 23 percent, DSTV at 20 per cent, Zuku at 16 per cent while other independent distributors command only 5 per cent of the market.