Kenya’s radio queen Caroline Mutoko has today penned an article flaying three television stations for switching themselves off. Since Saturday, NTV, KTN, Citizen TV and QTV have been off-air after Communications Authority of Kenya dismantled their broadcast equipment, switching off their analogue signal.
The stations responded by switching off their digital signal too. The attrition battle continues.
Caroline Mutoko’s barb is published in the Star newspaper today. Read on:
I have had a lot of feedback since my three-week-old Youtube piece went viral – thank you, K24. Please note, I can’t claim to have been bold or smart. I simply said what was on my mind.
But I need to state a few things that need saying boldly right now. First and foremost, there is no darkness and there are no dark screens. On the contrary, our screens are bright with the light of local TV channels we ignored and that are brilliant. I can’t get enough of Ebru TV, 3Stones, NjataTV, Kingdom TV or Property TV. I didn’t know any of these until Sunday. As for K24, you guys owe everyone a drink. Send the self-switch-off three a hearty thank you note. You are now front and centre. This is your moment to shine.
Don’t waste it. Of course, my colleagues at Bamba TV are thrilled. The self-switch-off is a blessing to many.
For news – heck I’m a radio girl – we’ve got this. Radio gets you news on the go and now more than ever. We are no longer confined to waiting for news at 7pm and we won’t be and shouldn’t be. News happens where we are. On the phone, on the radio, in the car or matatu. Here’s the killer punch: Alai media is alive and well. Mpasho, Ghafla, Kenya Daily Post et al are so busy, nobody is making up silly stories about me. They’ve got serious stuff to do in between Huddah. Someone has to step in the gap. Best of all, the views on my Youtube channel have risen massively. Can you actually tell me this self-switch-off is not a blessing? Add to that the genius and humour of Ma3Route on Twitter, and truly new media has been born.
Eric Latiff said in December 2013: “This is the beginning of end of the old ‘big media’ in Kenya and the birth of new ‘big media’.” The audience wins, though. It has always been said content will rule. The self-switch-off brings Latiff’s sentiments sharply into focus.
However, what’s really interesting to see, is what’s happening to the business of media and media buying. I love sitting with my media buyers because they are charged at the moment. Their jobs just took on a very serious meaning. They are so busy they can’t breathe and they are happy. Do you realise that advertisers who never used an agency to book on the “self-switch-off three”, are now calling media planners to ask them “where do I put my money”? Do you realise with 40 new channels all of them focused and targeted, media buyers and planners are finally learning about new media options and new products? Incidentally, my Youtube channel is open for business. Let no one kid you, business and time waits for no one. Agencies bill on what they spend. No one is going to be unable to meet their targets or payroll needs this month because you are having a tantrum. Eish!
But in the midst of all this, I hope sanity prevails soon — before there’s a run on Nation and Standard Group shares at the NSE and before the NSE is forced to de-register these two.
I still don’t understand for the life of me why they’re at the table with the super sharp SK Macharia. The man has no board and his company is not listed: he has no public shareholders to answer to. He also loves courtroom battles; it’s one of those things I admire about him. I hate courtrooms. I worry there will be tears and it won’t be SK crying. Bamba TV can’t wait to welcome KTN on board – just saying.
Here’s what I know for sure: the benefits of going digital are good for many people including Farmer’s TV. I did say those who stand to gain outnumber those who stand to lose; I never thought my words would be apparent so soon.
To the self-switch-off three: we were here in December 2013. In fact I remember an awesome tweet from that last self-switch-off that said, “Kenya Power moves to court to sue NTV, KTN and Citizen for infringement of copyright. The word ‘blackout’ is exclusive to the power company.” Priceless. The sentiment holds true even today.
Time and money wait for no one. Brand value is being eroded as we chest thump. The talent that wakes up every day to do a job is slowly having their self-esteem eroded as people move on to other things, as we chest thump. The business relationships built over time are being destroyed, as we chest thump. Eric Ndavi once told me, “media is the single most thankless industry there is. We build ourselves anew everyday and as such you’re as good as your last show”. Dear self-switch-off, when was your last show?
The writer is Radio Africa’s group marketing manager.