Mediamax Network Ltd, a company associated with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, today officially marked three years since it pioneered free-sheet daily newspaper publication in the country.
On July 1, 2014, the company turned The People Daily, which had a cover price of Sh60, into a free circulating newspaper, shocking industry watchers who had never imagined the idea would prosper in Kenya.
The company also launched a digital (e-paper) version of the newspaper, which is available on its website and through a mobile phone app.
Insiders say the move has seen advertising revenue significantly grow with the coming on board of new clients especially from the fast moving consumer goods sector.
Before the relaunch of PD, as the newspaper is now known in shorthand, free sheet newspapers were associated with first world countries that boast of a bigger middle class population that is the target of most advertisers due to its spending power.
Thursday, Mediamax Chief Executive Officer Ian Fernandes led staff in a cake-cutting ceremony at the company’s DSM Place headquarters to mark the newspaper’s third birthday.
“The newspaper has come a long away. When we started, some readers would not pick the paper from our promoters on learning that it was free. Today, that has changed. Our promoters cause traffic jams as drivers queue to pick a copy. Our advertising has also grown as you can see from the kind of adverts we get these days. I promise you that we will soon be feeling the change in our pockets,” he told staff at the fete.
- People Daily back on weekend with showbiz newspaper
- Standard newspaper relaunches to net more readers, adverts
- Former KTN news editor admits stealing colleague’s car
The origin of free sheet newspapers can be traced to 1885 Germany when Charles Coleman founded the General-Anzeiger für Lübeck und Umgebung as a free twice-a-week advertising paper in the Northern German town of Lübeck.
Since then, free sheets have become a common phenomenon in the United States and many European, South American and Asian countries.
Europe has the vast majority of daily free papers at 28.5 million, with the Americas at 6.8 million and Asia/Pacific/Africa regions at 8.6 million.