National broadcaster Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) is readying for a surge in viewership and much-needed ad revenue as the World Cup kicks off in Qatar on November 20. It will run until 18 December 2022.
KBC is the exclusive holder of Free-to-Air (FTA) broadcast rights for the tournament in the country. The channel, which for the past two decades has struggled to keep up with private sector media houses, which have invested heavily in content to attract viewership, is set for a massive spike in ratings for the duration of the tournament.
“On our side we’re very prepared, we’re encouraging Kenyans to stick to KBC. We are going to bring these games to your home. Prepare to enjoy this World Cup,” KBC Acting MD Samuel Maina stated at a launch event on November 18.
The broadcaster has ramped up promotion for the event, with outdoor activations among other marketing initiatives ongoing. Although Kenya is currently suspended by FIFA, the World Cup is a much loved tournament in the country.
The station is counting on live sports to help drive growth – and this year secured rights to air the World Athletics Championships, Commonwealth Games and the FIFA World Cup among other sporting events.
Besides the buzz it initially generated, a 2021 rebrand and new line-up of presenters hasn’t exactly put KBC in a position to compete with rivals including Citizen TV, NTV and KTN. Viewers have cited concerns including the quality of programming, digital content and broadcast quality.
When a video of one of its presenters, Alvan Kaunda, being tickled by an elephant during his live report, for example, went viral this week with millions of impressions between the countless social media accounts who shared it, the KBC account was late to the party and got little traction from the video.
The rebrand saw KBC introduce new branding and a star-studded line up of presenters, that included new talent and a team of legends who dominated the media landscape for years.