TV47, the newest baby in Kenya’s television industry, has signed up Kenya’s most vicious investigative journalists. Under the deals the TV station, owned by Cape Media, will screen content from Africa Uncensored, run by former KTN journalist John Allan Namu and Jicho Pevu by Mohammed Ali, also a former KTN reporter.
TV47 is building its content ahead of the planned launch in June and will be banking on the hard-nosed journalists to recruit and retain viewers. Cape Media is owned by Mount Kenya University founder and chairman Prof Simon Gicharu, who is hoping to tap untouched content in counties.
Speaking during the commissioning of TV47 Digital arm, Prof Gicharu said the MoUs will give TV47 a head start in a competitive media environment, where the market’s big boys – Citizen TV, KTN and NTV – have a stranglehold on both audience and ad spend.
“The Jicho Pevu offering will be now called Jicho Pevu47,” Prof Gicharu said, adding that the media house has had successful talks with Ali, now the MP for Nyali MP. John Allan Namu resigned from KTN in 2015, citing frustration in doing his job, while Mohammed Ali, known popularly as Jicho Pevu, quit in 2016 to join politics ahead of the 2017 general elections. Both are award-winning journalists.
The two contracts, whose details have been kept under wraps, will provide critical investigative content to build traction and grow a critical audience, he said.
The media house is seeking to build an audience by targeting unique and untold stories. Mr Gicharu said there is a gap in the market especially in relation to the 47 counties where there are many untold stories.
But that segment won’t be his for the taking as the mainstream TV stations have increased their coverage of counties on one hard while regional TV stations are taking root with some brands already established. Vernacular TV, which could prove a big threat, is big in Central Kenya and catching on in other communities like Nyanza, Eastern and Rift Valley.
Prof Gicharu recalled how when he started Mount Kenya University, he was told that he would not succeed because he could not compete with big universities. The university is now the largest private university in the country.