What you need to know:
- In the era of digital disruption, the media industry is now stratified into three broad categories – the winners, the survivors and the others.
- KBC, with all its legacy and impressive library stands a high chance of being a winner in this new digital era for three reasons.
In a much publicised relaunch, the national broadcaster announced plans for a new, revitalised phase teeming with industry legends including a personal favourite; Catherine Kasavuli.
Generally, KBC has enjoyed the support of Kenyans including journalists from other news media organisations and those working in the academia such as myself. We are all rooting for KBC.
However, KBC needs more than the collective goodwill of Kenyans to truly succeed. Beyond the razzmatazz, what the national broadcaster needs is a robust digital business strategy to insulate it from the devastations of digital disruption.
I know we have largely discussed the digital disruption within the context of print media but I can assure you that the next frontier for this disruption will be on linear broadcasting such as KBC, NTV, KTN, Citizen, etc.
In the era of digital disruption, the media industry is now stratified into three broad categories – the winners, the survivors and the others.
KBC, with all its legacy and impressive library stands a high chance of being a winner in this new digital era for three reasons.
First, KBC appeals to our national consciousness. It was for many of us our first interaction with television and I will not be pushing it if I say we all have a soft heart for KBC.
Secondly, KBC has a wide reach across Kenya, possibly the widest by far compared to other channels, not forgetting the raft of vernacular stations.
Third is the fact that everyone loves a comeback story. To succeed, KBC must consider several things. First and most importantly, it must be well-funded. This is a capital-intensive phase for media globally and KBC should not be left behind.
Studies have shown there is a growing demand for high quality news and KBC must be on the frontline of funding for high quality journalism. KBC must focus on original reporting particularly on human-interest journalism free to the public.
Secondly, KBC must become a completely new organisation. To achieve a truly digital business, the national broadcaster must tear down the traditional departments with all the pyramidal rankings and territorial hierarchies and build cross functional teams working towards a common goal. This will mean bringing in fresh talent including technology experts, specialised reporters, product people and innovators who will deliver a successful business.
Lastly, KBC must tap into the burgeoning creative industry to showcase local content. KBC must get into partnerships with like-minded organisations such as the Kenya Film Commission and other creative groups to create a pipeline for high-quality entertainment content for its national audiences.
As a scholar, I cannot end this without arguing that the success of a national broadcaster is founded on a national policy that compels Kenyans to support KBC either through licence fees or other form of tax. That is a conversation for another column. For now, I wish KBC all the best in this new voyage.
Dr Chege is the Director, Innovation Centre, at Aga Khan University; [email protected]