Graduate School of Media and Communications
Media houses globally are grappling with how best to produce quality content while at the same time remaining financially viable in the wake of shrinking revenues, technological disruptions, the emergence of peripheral content creators, competition for advertisement revenues from big tech platforms, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a myriad of other changes in the ecosystem. Despite these challenges, it is in the interest of the public that news media organisations (NMOs) produce quality content and do so in a financially sustainable fashion. Media viability, that is, producing quality journalism in a financially sustainable way, is, therefore, a growing area of focus. To this end, the Media Futures East Africa Project, jointly implemented by the Aga Khan University's Graduate School of Media and Communications and DW Akademie, set out to investigate the state of innovation and media viability in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. The research was conducted in two phases. The first phase studied the ecosystem – the political, economic, social, technological, and community environment – in which East African news media organisations operate at the national level. Generally, the findings indicate that the East African media sector is considerably young. Save for the print NMOs, which are predominantly 11 years and older, about 60% of the TV, radio, digital, and multimedia platforms have been in existence for just 10 years or less. This may be a disadvantage in terms of lack of experience and a high startup failure rate. However, studies have also shown that young media organisations are more likely to experiment with new areas and explore possible new business models without the added hurdle of undoing entrenched systems.
Owilla, Hesbon Hansen, Rose Kimani, Ann Hollifield, Julia Wegner, Dennis Reineck, and Schürhoff Roland. "The state of innovation and media viability in East Africa: from indepth media house surveys. The Media Futures Project." (2023).
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