The cash crisis facing Kenya Television Network (KTN) has started to unravel, with a number of content suppliers terminating their contracts with the broadcast house. In what could turn out to be a blow to its programming, a number of independent content producers have withdrawn their programmes due to payment issues.
Among those who have terminated their contracts with KTN, which is owned by Standard Group, include Chams Media, producers of Daktari comedy and Nancy Muthoni, the producer of the weekend Property Show.
It is understood that KTN has been unable to pay for these shows and has accumulated dues running into millions of shillings. People familiar with KTN affairs say the group has been facing low revenues due to a decline in advertising, a situation that has made it hard for it to pay content producers.
Daktari’s cast includes some of the key actors who quit KBC’s Vioja Mahakami show to go it alone. Earlier, KTN lost The Real Househelps of Kawangware to NTV among other programmes.
Chams Media, owned by veteran journalists Alex Chamwada, has issued a termination notice to KTN and its two programmes – The Chamwada Report and Daring Abroad – will cease airing in the new few weeks.
Business Today has learnt that Chams Media will withdraw its programmes after failing to reach a deal to sustain airing of the programmes. The Chamwada Report, a current affairs programme, has been airing on Thursdays while Daring Abroad, a magazine feature show, airs on Saturday.
Chams Media’s exit – and the end of The Chamwada Report & Daring Abroad – will be a major blow to KTN. Daring Abroad especially had turned into a flagship programme for KTN, while the Chamwada Report has been attracting viewers and sponsorships for the group. It’s actually one of the few current affairs programmes able to generate revenues for the station.
The two shows are turning five years next month. Alex Chamwada declined to comment on the new developments citing contractual obligations, but sources at Standard said KTN is likely to struggle in finding a replacement for the two shows.
Mr Chamwada has been using his connections to reduce the cost of producing the shows through sponsorships and other behind the scenes deals. Producing Daring Abroad, for example, which requires lots of travel to different countries and regions would be a nightmare without sponsors like Kenya Airways.
According to those who have seen the contract, Chams Media owns the copyright to not only the programmes brand names but content as well. “When the contract ends officially,” a source at KTN told BT, “Chamwada leaves with everything.”
Everything means KTN cannot keep the programmes under the names Daring Abroad and Chamwada Report. Besides, it cannot re-run any of the content provided by Chams Media. “That’s why KTN has not been uploading the programmes on its digital platforms such as YouTube,” the person said but asked not to be identified.
Chams Media Loss
It appears Chamwada only gave the TV station broadcast rights and maintained rights to rebroadcasting and digital.
It is not yet clear whether Alex Chamwada will migrate The Chamwada Report and Daring Abroad to a new TV station. A source at Chams Media revealed that the programmes will keep running on the company’s digital platforms and YouTube channel.
Chams Media, which has nearly 20 employees, will lose a key revenue stream. And as he moves to digital, Chamwada will now be banking on his other services including communication consultancy and video production services, among others.