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Things are looking grim for Kenyan broadcasters. The digital disruption has dealt a blow to the popularity of TV and radio stations which are no longer exclusive avenues for news.

Gone are the days when Kenyans would anxiously gather at living rooms with everyone’s eyes trained on the classic Greatwall TV set to watch the 9 O’clock news, consumption trends have shifted considerably with the Kenyan audience showing a clear bias for digital platforms.

The consequences have been devastating, most media houses have been forced to lay off staff to maintain profitability. The decision by Royal Media Services (RMS) to sack top reporters in March 2016 in a bloodbath that shocked the country coincided with the digital disruption.

An analysis of statistics released by GeoPoll, a research firm, shows that the ratings of all broadcasters in the country have dwindled steadily since 2016.

The latest ratings which cover the period between February 1 and February 14, 2019 show that Citizen TV is still the most popular TV station in the country boasting of 26% of the market share beating its closest competitor KTN by 15 percentage points which commands 11% of the viewership.

The latest GeoPoll ranking covering the period between February 1 and February 14

KTN News is the third most popular station in the country at 11% while NTV comes fourth with a market share of 10%.

Although Citizen TV’s viewers increased in GeoPoll’s latest ranking, data shows that the Royal Media Services (RMS)’ owned station has been the biggest casualty of the disruption by losing a huge chunk of viewers in four years.

The GeoPoll Q3 2016 TV ratings

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GeoPoll’s Q3 2016 results show that Citizen TV commanded 33.5% of the market share before the station started shedding viewers. By Q3 2017, the station had lost 5.5% of its viewers to command 28% of the market share.

Kenya’s leading station further lost 1% of its viewers in Q4 2017 (27%) before reaching a record low in Q1 2018 (22%).

KTN lost 2% of its viewers between Q3 2017 when it commanded 14% of the market share to 11% in February 2019

Conversely, KTN News gained 2% of the market share from 8.1% in Q3 2016, to 9% in Q1 2018 before marginally adjusting up to 10% in February 2019.

NTV’s ratings have been steady during the period under review.

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The station’s viewer base grew from 7.8% in Q3 2016 to 11% in Q3 2017, viewership numbers it maintained until Q1 2018 before losing 1% of its viewers in February 2019.

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