Date of Award
Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)
Hesbon Hansen Owilla
Graduate School of Media and Communications
Digital native media platforms have grown and amassed massive audiences and readership online. Despite the audience growth, they have been experiencing challenges in monetizing and generating revenues. The objectives of the study were: (a) to establish monetization opportunities for digital native media houses, given their growing online audience numbers, (b) to determine strategies deployed by digital native media to help them monetize online content given the high numbers on the digital platforms, and (c) to establish challenges digital native media are facing in leveraging the online audiences and monetizing the content. The study adopted a qualitative research approach and employed multiple case study design. The study was anchored on two theories: disruptive innovation theory and media economic. The target population of this study was three digital native media houses: Kenyans.co.ke, Tuko.co.ke, and Pulselive.co.ke. The data generation of the study was in-depth interviews. Thematic analysis was used to code and present data. This study identified programmatic revenues from Facebook and Google, sponsored content from direct clients, videos and livestreaming on social media platforms as key opportunities. At the same time, the study established content development, segmentation, maximizing on sales team and livestreaming as the main strategies. Despite these opportunities and strategies, the study discerned a couple of challenges that impede the platform’s bid to optimally monetize their audiences. The key challenges included lack of diverse revenues sources, imbalanced relationship with Google and Facebook and the pricing of rate cards. The study recommends the following for digital native publisher for future sustainability: installing metered paywall for premium content, revising rate cards to offer packages for small businesses, maximizing on social media knowledge to offer support for clients and more livestreaming of events on Facebook which attracts better packages and coming together as stakeholders and policy makers to engage Google and Facebook for better pay rates.
Njoroge, Martin Wachira. (2022). Digital native media: growing online audiences and challenges of monetization (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). Aga Khan University. Graduate School of Media & Communications.