The Nation Media Group has announced that it will pay bonuses to its employees at the end of this year despite going through a tough year due to the covid-19 p******c. Riding on improved profitability, the company said it was on course to reward employees with bonus after the last two difficult years, hoping the token will firm up their loyalty to NMG.
NMG, which surprised the market when it issued a profit warning in May 2020, has bounced back into the black this year. Like other media companies, NMG was hit hard by the shocks of the p******c in 2020.
It reported a 94.4% decline in net profit for the full year, plummeting on lower advertising revenues and falling newspaper circulation. But in the six months to 30th June, 2021, the firm posted profit after income tax of Ksh285.2 million compared to a Ksh375.3 million loss in the same period last year.
Growth was driven by increased revenues from print advertising, television, online advertising and e-paper subscriptions which rose 18%, 40%, 23% and 28% respectively.
The bonus pay, announced by NMG CEO Stephen Gitagama, is a painful but necessary decision by NMG to incentivize its staff who have been lately on the low. He did not give specific figures for the bonus but its usually a percentage of the basic pay.
The company has lost a number of journalists recently in what is seen as a protest against overpaid top managers and editors at the expense of the media house’s foot soldiers, mostly staff reporters and correspondents.
The company’s Business Daily newspaper has lost many journalists and just the other day NTV lost its news anchor Victor Kiprop to BBC. Business Daily reporters who have left include Annie Njanja, Edwin Okoth, Doreen Wainaina and Patrick Alushula, while the correspondents’ desk has lost James Kariuki and Salton Njau, a long-serving photo journalist.
Also with a general election coming up next year, the company is also keen not to lose staff in the talent wars expected in the next few months.