Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Rosalind Raddatz

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Nancy Booker


Graduate School of Media and Communications


Digital media has opened up on new opportunities for content creation, distribution and monetization. Dwindling revenues in traditional mainstream media been brought by digital influx of content producers and competitors to media for the advertising cake where media houses now have to compete with content consumers who have become content creators and distributors for digital spaces. Increased penetration of mobile phones and the internet across most parts of the country has created opportunities in media content production and consumption as modes of content consumption have also evolved and innovated with time. It is against that backdrop that innovations such as Video on Demand (VOD) are being adopted to increase content distribution by reaching viewers via more gadgets and hence increasing revenue streams. This study sought to assess the sustainability and reliability of Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) platforms targeting the youth who are the biggest population demographic in Kenya by analyzing their consumption behaviour. The study was guided by the following objectives; (i) to assess the socio-economic factors to consider when establishing SVOD business model in Nairobi, (ii) to establish the choice of content they would be willing to pay-to-view (iii) to establish the penetration of necessary technology to support SVOD and (iv) to find out the frequency and access to SVOD platforms. Theoretical framework adopted the disruption of innovation theory and the diffusion of innovations theory. The study adopted a mixed methods approach. Qualitative study was carried out using case study research method guided by key informant interviews tool. The key informant interviewees were players in the SVOD industry in Kenya. A survey was carried out targeting University of Nairobi students aged between 18-26 years where questionnaires were issued to collect quantitative data. Being a two-step payment technology, as the researcher found out, makes SVOD an expensive technology that viewers will only consume when there is value for money. The findings indicate that availability of disposable income by the target population is a key consideration for one seeking to establish SVOD. It is also important to consider the social behaviour of communal content consumption considering that the target market is moving from FTA to subscription models. An increase in penetration of smart phones and internet as technology necessary to support SVOD has readied and enabled uptake of SVOD. The researcher also found out that consumers have a preference for long format content as opposed to initial belief that short form content sells more. It is also on the findings that the target population are willing to renew their subscriptions as soon as they can for continued and uninterrupted consumption of content that they find interesting. Conclusions drawn from this study are that there is a ready market for consumption of subscription media content and opportunities as aided by penetration of necessary technology. The research also identified opportunities created by this business model. The researcher recommends further study to clearly analyze the consumption habits of other population demographics.