10 Tycoons Who Own Kenya’s Biggest TV Stations
The media industry in Kenya has experienced a rapid growth since the country migrated from analogue to digital broadcasting. This has seen the number of investors in the sector grow exponentially, to an extent of attracting foreign business persons, in turn leading to the surge in number of TV and radio stations.
According to a recent report, there are close to 70 local TV stations in Kenya, many of which are owned by deep-pocketed business people and who have been registering good returns on their investments.
Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at the wealthy tycoons who own Kenya’s leading TV stations.
TV47, a free-to-air 24-hour television channel, was launched in 2019 and broadcasts mainly in English and Swahili.
The station has grown steadily over the years and attracted top talents such as former Switch TV news anchor Fredrick Muitiriri and former NTV journalist Lolani Kalu.
TV47, which has studios in Nairobi and Mombasa, has invested in modern equipment to deliver news and other programmes to its audience across the 47 counties.
A 2021 report by Geopoll revealed that the television station has a terrestrial reach of 1.4 million viewers in Nairobi and 3.6 million in Central Kenya.
Businessman, philanthropist and politician Sam Omukoko is the Managing Director of Metropol Corporation – the parent company of Metropol TV.
The station, which focuses on business news and analysis, was launched in March 2018 with former Citizen TV anchor, Terryanne Chebet, as its manager. She, however, resigned from the station in 2020.
Renowned stock market trader, Aly Khan Satchu, also had a show dubbed The Smart Investor before Capital Markets Authority (CMA) warned the station to take it off air.
Metropol TV continues to carve a niche for itself as it’s one of the few stations, if not the only, that is dedicated to providing business news and analysis 24/7.
As of 2021, Kirinyaga businessman Andrew Ngirici and his wife Kirinyaga Woman Representative, Purity Ngirici, owned Mt Kenya TV through Slopes Media Company.
The station witnessed a mass exit of anchors, reporters and producers between May 2020 and December 2021, some of who complained publicly that they had not been paid for many months.
The Ngirici’s have allegedly been looking for an investor to take over the business which has not made any significant revenue since it was launched in 2018.
Former Citizen TV Head of Camera unit, John Marete, owns Weru TV, which broadcasts in Meru dialect and Mutongoi TV – broadcasting in Kamba and Swahili languages.
Marete was sacked from Royal Media Services LTD (RMS), a move that prompted him to venture into the media industry on his own.
Weru TV was launched in December 2016 and has grown to be a market leader in Meru, Isiolo, Embu and Tharaka Nithi counties.
The station focuses on Meru culture and has maximized on getting the attention of the local population by tailoring its content to suit what they want to see.
Kass TV, which broadcasts in the Kalenjin language, is owned by businessman Joshua Chepkowny through Kass Media Group.
In a past interview, Chepkowny revealed that he opened the station in response to requests by the massive followers of Kass FM radio station.
Kass TV was Kenya’s first vernacular television station and according to a report released in 2021, it enjoys an average of 5.1 hours of views per week.
Family TV is owned by Leo and Anneke Slingerland, through the Family Media Group. It is one of Kenya’s oldest television stations having been launched in the early 2000s.
The station prides itself in being East and Central Africa’s biggest Christian television broadcaster and Kenya’s most-watched faith channel.
It has several exciting programs such as Man Up, Jam 316, Prayer Circle, Youth On The Move, She, Nderemo, Sounds of Africa, Shake, just to name a few.
Ali Jamah, a little known Kenyan tycoon, owns Ebru TV after acquiring it from the Turkish owners.
The station is run by Jamah’s wife, Anab Mohammed, who resigned from her job at the United States International University (USIU) to serve as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
A number of Kenyan media personalities who cut their teeth at Ebru TV include Kamene Goro, Joan Obwaka, Milliah Tabitha Kisenya, Doreen Gatwiri, and Diana Rachel among others.
A report released by the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) in 2020 revealed that it enjoyed a viewership of between 3 and 4 per cent of the total market share.
Political analyst and the former University of Nairobi don, Mutahi Ngunyi, launched 5th Estate TV in 2019.
The station, which airs on free-to-air channels (PANG), StarTimes and GoTV, was born from the weekly shows that Ngunyi and his panelists held on his YouTube channel in which they analysed and assessed the political situations in the country.
5th Estate TV has grown over the years thanks to its programs that analyse happenings in the political world and what top leaders have said.
Billionaire Samuel Kamau Macharia owns three television stations under Royal Media Service (RMS) group. The three are Citizen TV, Inooro TV and Ramogi TV which were launched in 1999, 2015 and 2021 respectively.
Citizen TV is the most-watched local TV station with an average of 1.7 million viewers per 30-minute time block, representing 35 per cent of all viewers in the country.
Inooro TV also features among the biggest TV stations in Kenya with a 17.2 per cent reach in Central Kenya and 5.1 per cent national reach, according to a KARF report that was released in 2020.
The Moi family led by Gideon Moi owns Standard Media Group which runs KTN Home, KTN News, Burudani TV and Farmers TV.
According to a Geopoll report released in December 2021, KTN Home is the third biggest station in Kenya with KTN News taking the fourth place.
KTN was launched in 1990 while KTN News, which focuses on news, current events and affairs facing Kenya, documentaries and investigative pieces, was unveiled in 2015.
Nairobi-based businessman and Mount Kenya University founder, Prof. Simon Gicharu, owns TV47 which is operated by Cape Media Limited.