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Star newspaper in crisis as business desk collapses



The newspaper has been limping since the March 2016 redesign.

The Star newspaper is faced with a crisis after the exit of journalists that has left its business desk nearly empty.

Two business reporters – Richard Mungai and Martin Mwita – have resigned over the past one month in unclear circumstances and it is understood that even the acting business editor Constant Munda is on his way out.

Insiders at Radio Africa Group say Munda, who has been acting for eight months now, after the exit of Lola Okulo in October last year, is serving notice and will be out soon.

The exodus appears to be a protest against management which, it is said, has been micromanaging the desk and giving them “unrealistic targets” on delivery of stories.

The desk is running with a business editor managing interns. When Munda leaves, the desk will virtually be empty.

READ: How Maina Kageni took his fans for a ride

Munda could be frustrated by acting for too long without substantive powers and job description, while the reporters felt a vacuum on the desk which had led to ego fights.

“And then there was too much pressure and micromanagement,” said a Star journalist who has been closely following events on the business desk at Lion Place. “The top editors and management are always on their necks for big stories.”

Next: DStv sweetens its deal on HD decoders

The Star newspaper has been shaky over the past one year due to falling circulation and ad revenues. It was forced to sack a good number of employees in February this year to stay afloat but that has not lifted revenues.

The newspaper is said to be surviving on the government newspaper insert, MyGov which is the only assured commercial in the Star these days.

There has been talk of the newspaper folding up after the next elections to let the group focus on digital and radio.


Business Today is the leading independent online business website in Kenya. Started in 2012 by a veteran business journalist, it has a huge following both in Kenya and abroad. It covers various business and related issues. Email editor at: [email protected]

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Media Review

Former KTN anchor James Smart launches digital TV show



TV personality James Smart (right), a renowned journalist has teamed with political strategist Marvin Tumbo to launch a new show.

Two smart guys with an unhealthy appetite for Afro-Politics and unmatched knowledge of International politics have come together to produce a TV series that captures African politics in the most hilarious fashion yet.  Simply, its two guys, two beers and their views…. in a bar!

These guys would be enemies if they were actual politicians but instead they are political pals because they don’t know who else to turn to with their constant brain surges of why the world works the way it does and what that means for Africa.

They don’t need to agree, they just need therapy. These guys are James Smart and Marvin Tumbo.

TV personality James Smart, a renowned journalist,  and Marvin Tumbo, a political strategist, have combined their expertise to come up with a political programme that’s gaining ground among audiences across Africa.

Marvin Tumbo is a well-respected political strategist having worked for three heads of state.  He has led many high profile projects including visits to Kenya by Obama and the Pope. Marvin helps government departments execute social media strategies to engage the public on various civic initiatives.

Having been a behind the scenes force for most of his career, Marvin is ready to share his political views with audiences everywhere. The two are working under What’s Good Networks, an online entertainment network run by young African creatives, which seeks to connecting young urban audiences through dedicated lifestyle channels featuring the next wave of African talent.

READ: Citizen TV’s Lulu Hassan lands a new job
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James Smart is one of Kenya’s most prolific political commentators popular with wide audiences, particularly on Twitter @JamesSmart.  Having started The Trend at NTV in 2009, he then moved to KTN in 2013 to start three new shows: News Sources, KTN Live Wire and The Breakfast Show.

James Smart’s new passion is engaging young audiences with political affairs in a digitable way and reaching them where they are: on mobile watching what they want when they want it.

Each show is themed towards current affairs with five segments featuring other topical issues. The hosts source one final topic from trending social news.

Show is recorded as live in a modern ‘local’ called J’s Fresh Bar & Kitchen, which is a sports bar popular with residents in the Lavington/Westlands/Kilimani area.

The show is filmed with the natural bar interactions- friendly conversations in the background complete with bar sounds because let’s face it- you wouldn’t have a natural conversation about politics in a studio, you’d be in your local.

SEE: Nation Media rehires form top editor as director


Thursday 8:30 pm – Africa & Global affairs

Sunday 8:30 pm – Kenya Affairs

Show format : 24 min

Show Milestones: Facebook

Episode 1 – 10.7k views

Episode 2 – 23k views

Episode 3 – 26.4k views

Episode 4 – 14k views

Epidoe 5 – 26k views

Episode 6 – 27k Views

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Executive Decision

NMG rehires former senior editor as director

Veteran editor rejoins media house’s board in an advisory role at a time its products are under the microscope over alleged political bias



Former Nation Media Group Editorial Director Wangethi Mwangi. He has rejoined the company as a non-executive director.

Former Nation Media Group (NMG) Editorial Director Wangethi Mwangi has made a comeback as the media house seeks to revamp its editorial output to boost revenue.

Mr Wangethi, who left the twin towers nearly 10 years ago, has been appointed as a non-executive director and will be playing an advisory role. NMG, the region’s largest media house, has seen its revenues decline over the years amid a squeeze in advertising spend by the government and major corporates.

Last year, former Special Projects Editor Macharia Gaitho was also recalled out of retirement to head the political desk at Nation Centre as the country prepared for the August 8 General Election.

However, the media house has been under the microscope both internally and externally, due to perceptions of bias in the coverage of issues emerging from the contested presidential election.

READ: Sh1 million up for grabs in Churchill comedy talent search
SEE: Standard top editor on the spot as layoff looms

On Thursday, for instance, questions were raised after the Daily Nation went to town with a splash headline indicating the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had been let off the hook while, in actual sense, the majority of the Supreme Court judges based their decision to nullify President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win on account of illegalities and irregularities it committed during the transmission of results.

The headline was based on the four judges’ view that though there were “systemic institutional problems”, they could not finger anyone to have been personally culpable for the same.

What raised more questions was that the headline was at variance with the paper’s editorial, which demanded that “IEBC must get it right in the repeat poll.”

In the newspaper industry, an editorial, also known as the leader, is the product of deliberations by the editorial board regarding which issues are important for their readership to know the newspaper’s opinion.

At other times, an editorial presents the opinion of the publisher, manager or the editor himself.

The question that then arises is at what point did Daily Nation’s editors decide to lead with a story exonerating IEBC when they had already made a decision that more was needed from the electoral agency ahead of the fresh election?

Related: Macharia Gaitho returns to Daily Nation as political reporter

The story was also at variance with a piece done by Gaitho on the same. Some critics have offered that the decision could have been informed by an attempt at product differentiation but still, this does not reflect well on the media house, which only recently had to reach out to Nasa after Siaya senator James Orengo asked Opposition supporters to boycott its products.

These are some of the issues Wangethi is expected to confront if he is to enhance NMG’s fortunes.

Currently, he is a member of the Media Complaints Commission (MCC), a position he was appointed to by Information, Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru on September 6 last year for a period of three years.

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Media Watch

Kenyans spent Sh217b on adverts last year

PwC report forecasts revenue to grow at an 8.5% CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) over the next five years, hitting the Ksh310 billion by 2020



The Kenyan Entertainment and Media industry was worth Ksh217 billion (US$2.1 billion) in 2016, up 13.6% on 2015, according to the latest PwC’s Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2017 – 2021: An African Perspective report

Revenue is forecast to grow at an 8.5% CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) over the next five years, hitting the Ksh310 billion (U$3 billion) mark in 2020, and totalling Ksh330 billion (US$3.2 billion) in 2021.

Total advertising revenue reached US$1.0 billion in 2016 and is set to grow at an 8.0% CAGR over the next five years, fuelled by Internet advertising’s CAGR of 13.6% over the forecast period.

Prior to 2016, Kenya’s largest advertising market was radio. Considering its small economy, the report says Kenya has the largest radio advertising market in the Middle East and Africa region, and the 14th-largest in the world.

According to analysts at Bizna Kenya, low costs and robust listenership are key pull factors to businesses looking to advertise on Kenyan stations.

Due to the range of radio stations in the country, advertisers can reach key demographics, meaning targeted and more effective ad campaigns.

During the year under review, radio ad spent stood at Ksh35.3 billion a 9.2% increase from Ksh32.3 billion generated in 2015. It is projected to hit Ksh51 billion by 2012, which the report says will be more than ad revenue generated in Italy, a country with a bigger population and an economy 20 times larger than Kenya.

Ad spend on television and video also stood at Ksh35 billion in 2016 compared to Ksh31 billion the previous year, an increase of 14.1%. By 2021, this is projected to reach Ksh53.6 billion.

Year-on-year growth in newspaper advertising revenue rose from Ksh12.7 billion to reach Ksh13.1 billion in 2016, an increase of 3.0%. It is projected to reach Ksh14.1 billion by 2020, same as 2021.

Internet advertising is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the market. By 2021, revenue will hit Ksh23.4 billion from the current projection of Ksh14.6 billion for 2017, making it the third largest advertising category in Kenya.

The report notes that international players have begun to rear their heads, with Swedish phone-call filtering firm Truecaller announcing in May 2017 that it would begin offering ad opportunities to local Kenyan companies on its mobile app.

Related: The carrot and stick in Govt withdrawal of direct advertising

Despite year-on-year growth beginning to slow by 2021, the PwC report says advertising revenue is set to increase as Kenya’s media industry continues to expand.

“There remain several small, but growing untapped areas, such as the cinema market, which will rise quickly, while the emergence of global corporations in the country will help to propel revenues higher still,” it says.

The report shows internet access is the most established industry within the Kenyan market and will also be the first subsegment in which revenues hit US$1.0 billion, which it will reach in 2020.

Kenya-ad-spend-294x300 Kenyans spent Sh217b on adverts last year

Source: PwC’s Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2017 – 2021: An African Perspective report

Mobile Internet access is the main revenue driver, as smartphone adoption increases in popularity. Over the forecast period, high-speed mobile Internet connections will rise at an impressive 84.9% CAGR, while the number of mobile Internet subscribers is set to more than double over the next five years, reaching 33 million in 2021.

ALSO SEE: Digital media devouring TV and newspaper ad revenues

“In response to increased mobile Internet access, Malaysian video streaming service iFlix announced in June 2017 its plans to enter the Kenyan market. Following the lead of SVOD giants like Netflix and Amazon, iFlix hopes to capture a slice of the market, offering both local and international content to the Kenyan audience, at a significantly lower price than other subscription-based services. iFlix will cost between US$2-US$4 a month and allow consumers to download content in low, medium or HD format,” says the report.

It adds that the rise of the smartphone in Kenya will also contribute to growth across other media sectors, with the Nation Media Group developing a mobile-friendly app to encourage digital readership of its news content and the social/casual gaming market expected to rise at a 22.4% CAGR to 2021, as Kenyans gain access to mobile app stores and mobile data costs fall.

The report, however, shows that user experience is taking centre stage in the media industry and companies that seek to compete and generate value must put consumers as the primary basis for strategic differentiation and revenue growth.

“To thrive in a marketplace that is increasingly competitive and crowded, companies are focusing on implementing strategies and building capabilities to engage with consumers,” the report says.

The Outlook is a comprehensive source of analysis and five-year forecasts of consumer and advertising spending across five countries ( Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania) and 14 segments; Internet, data consumption, television, cinema, video games, e-sports, virtual reality, newspaper publishing, magazine publishing, book publishing, business-to-business publishing, music, out-of-home, and radio. See the full report here. 


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Media Watch

Supreme act: KBC journalist who rescued beggar from bees

KBC’s Victor Mukayane abandoned his equipment and carried the begger, who was on a wheel chair to safety hence saving his life.



A photo of a journalist with national broadcaster, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), carrying a disabled beggar following an attack by bees at the Supreme Court in Nairobi on Wednesday has gone viral on social media with many hailing his heroic act.

While fellow journalists, protesters and security agents scampered for safety, Victor Mukayane, abandoned his equipment and carried the beggar, who was on a wheel chair to safety hence saving his life. Both were later taken to hospital by first responders for treatment.

“Victor Mukayane risked his life to help a person with disability when a swarm of bees unleashed terror during Supreme Ruling. #SupremeAct,” tweeted NTV news anchor Jane Ngoiri.

Related: Kenyan journalist highlights conservation dilemma
SEE ALSO: Standard to fire top editors in fresh retrenchment

Sports journalist Michelle Katama wrote: “PRICELESS!Photo of a journo carrying a physically challenged begger who was attacked by bees..Hero..(Pix/ Fredrick Onyango)#SupremeRuling.”

“This man surely deserves a presidential award…. Victor Mukayane MBS,” N. Nixon tweeted.

“Wow am touched.. Victor Mukayane risked his life to help a person with disability when a swarm of bees unleased terror during Supreme Ruling. Holiday ya kumwambia asante itaweza ama mnasemaje wakenya wenzangu.. #CelebrateHeroes,” Kabu Simon wrote on Facebook.

It is said that the bees attacked when police, who had lobbed tear gas canisters in a bid to create a buffer zone between NASA and Jubilee supporters, disturbed their beehive.

Some, however, claimed they were unleashed by Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.

Related: Bees invade William Ruto’s meeting
Read: Bees are the unsung heroes of nut business
See: Thieves unleash bees on police officers

Bee stings can be lethal if one is allergic or is stung inside the mouth or throat and would need to be taken to hospital for emergency attention. Bee poisoning can lead to abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, hives, itching and swelling and pain at the site of the sting.

In more severe cases, the venom can lead to a severe decrease in blood pressure and collapse by affecting heart and blood vessels.

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