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Digital media eat into radio listenership in Kenya

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By KABUI MWANGI

Radio listenership in Kenya has taken a hit, courtesy of accelerated digitisation of media, dropping from an audience base of 92 percent of the country’s population in 2014 to 77 percent as of last year.

New data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows that, on the other hand, television viewership and online access surged from 46 percent to 74 percent and from 27 percent to 57 percent respectively over the same period, while newspaper readership dipped to seven percent, from 21 percent in 2014.

“This shift in preferences suggests a dynamic transformation in the way Kenyans engage with media, with television and online platforms playing an increasingly prominent role in shaping the country’s media consumption habits,” said CA in its latest Kenya Media Landscape Report.

Read: On-air legend Fatboy on how to run online radio

The count of operational radio stations has, however, grown from 120 in 2014 to 228 last year, while TV stations increased from nine to 182 as newspaper publications only rose marginally from nine to 13. The report notes that newspaper readership only attains its peak in the Nairobi and Western regions.

“This surge in TV stations can be attributed to the proliferation of digital media, with an increasing availability of stations across various platforms, including set-top-boxes and online streaming,” CA said.

During the three months to September 2023, CA says it issued 15 licences to broadcasting service providers for radio and television, bringing the number of licensed broadcasters to 655 at the close of the quarter.

In terms of gender and age demographics in media consumption, male users and the elderly posted a high percentage of those who listened to radio and those who watched TV.

Internet usage, on the other hand, was more pronounced among younger audiences, hitting its peak among those aged between 18 and 24, where it enjoys 72 percent consumption, trailed closely by the group of those aged 25 to 34 where 69 percent are regular users.

“Respondents from urban setting had a high percentage of those who watched TV while rural setting had a high percentage of those who listened to radio,” said the Authority adding that a combination of radio, TV, and internet was consumed by 22.6 percent of all the respondents.

CA says traditional radio sets remain the premium medium for radio consumption at 78 percent, with mobile phones fast-rising to claim the position of a significant alternative at 30 percent, a trend duplicated in TV content consumption where TV sets remain dominant tools at 93 percent while mobile gadgets account for nine percent.

Social media, on the other hand, is predominantly accessed and consumed through mobile devices at 96 percent, with a minimal 12 percent of users consuming via laptops or desktops.

“Roughly 50 percent of the participants reported daily engagement with both radio and television. Social media usage was a daily habit for nearly half of the respondents. In contrast, more than two-thirds of the surveyed individuals admitted to not reading newspapers,” said CA.

About The Author

Yvonne Nyaga
Yvonne Nyaga
I am a versatile writer and UX designer. I contribute to various websites by writing and uploading engaging articles. I also create impactful newsletters that connect with audiences. Currently, I am expanding my expertise in website development, bringing creativity, technical skill, and a keen eye for detail to every project. In collaborating with clients, I am dedicated to delivering high-quality content that informs, inspires, and captivates.

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