Is this the end of Kenya's traditional newspapers?

Kenyans would remember in 2015, when President Uhuru Kenyatta infamously said “Nitarudia kusema kila siku kwamba gazeti ni ya kufunga nyama,” how true was he?

What however was not prophesied is when the newspaper would die; the death of the newspaper may actually be more sooner than earlier thought. According to the Kenyan economic survey, 2016 report released yesterday the number of Internet users raised by 10.7 per cent from 35.6 million in 2015 to 39.4 million users in 2016.

Kenyans would remember in 2015, when President Uhuru Kenyatta infamously said “Nitarudia kusema kila siku kwamba gazeti ni ya kufunga nyama (I will repeat what I said before that newspapers are meant for wrapping meat),” how true was he?

Thanks to cheap data bundles offered by telecommunications giants like Safaricom and Airtel, the number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) increased from 221 in 2015 to 242 in 2016.

Circulation of daily English and Kiswahili newspapers continued to decline mainly attributable to increased online readership of newspapers with the average online newspaper readers increasing by 18.3 per cent to 1.9 million per day in 2016, the report went on.

As a result media houses such as Daily Nation and Standard (Kenya’s two main newspapers) who heavily rely on newspaper sales to operate have had to drastically adapt or risk going extinct.

Daily nation late last year unveiled NTV sasa, an online platform to report news events as they happened in a bid to keep up with Kenya’s tech-savvy population.

After registering losses from its inception, Daily nation finally also called it quits and relegated Nairobi News to strictly its online platform.

Standard group also recently added another online platform called Ureport to give Kenyans online consumers not just a platform but also tools to report news events as they occur by the minute.

The situation has been further worsened by Blogging in Kenyan which has steadily grown over the years, according to Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE), Chairman Kennedy Kachwanya, there is an estimated 15,000 registered blogs in Kenya with 3,000 being active blogs registered blogs by Kenyans on the Wordpress, Blogger and Tumblr platforms as of 2015.

Now add ‘struggling tech-savvy’ Kenyan legislators with their assistants in the mix who now whenever they are crisscrossing the country insist on taking Selfies, posting their speeches online and even live stream on face book and you get it why Kenyans no longer rush home to catch the 9pm news bulletin.


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