K24 TV station, still smarting from a shaky cooperation deal with KTN, has raided Switch TV, making away with most of its top talent and nearly crippling one of the new television stations in Kenya.
In a surprise move, K24 TV has decided to poach when its mother company, Mediamax has issued a redundancy notice to its employees and in the process of cobbling a deal with a rival TV station.
The move sends confusing signals, coming just a few weeks after it emerged that K24 was pursuing content and programming cooperation with its rival KTN. Under the arrangement, K24 was to air KTN News bulletins. The deal is said to be facing both technical and operational headwinds, even with finer details of how it will work still scanty.
The raid on Switch is being seen as a credible sign of the KTN deal collapsing and K24 TV opting to go it alone as it were. Going for a smaller rival is a strategy to get low-priced talent to replace the pricey anchors and presenters leaving under the current restructuring. Betty Kyalo has already exited.
For those being poached, it’s a major relief from the 50% pay cut announced in March 2020 by Abbas Gullet, the CEO of Boma Pan African Limited which owns Switch TV, Eplus Ambulance and defunct Boma Hotel , Boma Hospitality School & Red Cross Paramedic Training School. Sources say Mediamax is doubling their salaries, a bitter pill for those enduring 50% pay cut at Mediamax.
The Switch management slashed staff medical cover in March leaving Switch employees and their dependants at the mercy of one hospital as part of reforms to stay afloat under the Covid-19 disruption.
Pressure mounted as journalists were asked to double as marketers and bring in adverts. The station has been under Tamima Ibrahim after Emanuel Juma opted to go back to NTV two months after the station began its operations.
It is said Switch TV presenters operates with four cameras and one motor vehicle, making it hard for the editorial team to deliver substantial content. Tamima is said to have a soft spot for production & programming and thus gives prominence to non-news programs.
With restructuring ongoing in many media houses, the battle for talent is being reset, with cost and value driving decisions.