Companies

NMG’s digital plan takes shape as new press starts rolling

JOE

Nation Media Group CEO Joe Muganda. PHOTO | FILE

Summary

  • NMG's digital business currently accounts for about five per cent of revenue, riding on the flagship portal , www.nation.co.ke, which has an average of 90 million views every month.
  • The company now plans to leverage on this Internet traffic and 15 other websites to turn its online audiences into sustainable revenue streams.
  • NMG has nearly 120,000 e-paper subscriptions every month across its stables, helped by the availability of its print publications on e-paper formats — PDF, Android and iPad. 

Nation Media Group is banking on its large online presence and a revamped digital plan to double its revenues from advertising and e-papers, the management said.
The company’s digital business currently accounts for about five per cent of revenue, riding on the flagship portal , www.nation.co.ke, which has an average of 90 million views every month, making it the biggest website in the region in terms of traffic.

NMG now plans to leverage on this Internet traffic and 15 other websites to turn its online audiences into sustainable revenue streams.

The group also runs the most successful SMS-based news alert subscription service in the region.

East Africa’s largest media company is rolling out a double-pronged approach that includes renewed presence in the digital space and a revamp of its print business with the launch of a $20 million state-of-the-art printing press.

“We shall continue to invest in digital platforms knowing fully well that this is the future of media,” said Joe Muganda, NMG’s chief executive officer. “But people are still buying newspapers,” he added.

With seven out of every 10 Kenyans having access to the Internet, especially through mobile phones, online marketing and web listing sites are fast gaining currency in the country with big media houses like NMG leading the charge.

Kenya had 29.6 million Internet users as at June 2015, with mobile data accounting for 99 per cent of the total subscriptions, according to data from the Communications Authority of Kenya.

NMG has nearly 120,000 e-paper subscriptions every month across its stables, helped by the availability of its print publications on e-paper formats — PDF, Android and iPad. 

READ: Nation Media Group grows its online platforms in leaps and bounds

With the new press, NMG expects to realise a 45 per cent improvement in speed — printing up to 86,000 copies per hour — and allowing the editorial team more time to refine content, turn around editions and improve market arrival times.

NMG’s half-year profit before tax dropped to Sh1.43 billion from Sh1.56 billion posted in the first six months of last year, reflecting significant disruptions to its TV business between February and March at the height of the digital migration stand-off with the regulator.

Experts reckon that one major advantage of online advertising is that it is real time and not hampered by geographical boundaries. Internet listings can also be tweaked to suit the target market by use of multimedia and language translations.

The Daily Nation website receives more than five million monthly unique visitors — a pointer to the estimated number of real people who visit the site — with 70 per cent of readers accessing the site via mobile devices.

The average time spent by readers on the site is eight minutes, analytics show. The portal has 1.7 million fans on Facebook and its Twitter handle has 0.7 million followers.

The Daily Nation’s premier news site attracts more than 150,000 readers’ comments every month on stories posted online, making it the most interactive news portal.

A total of 20 million users visit the assorted NMG online platforms, including www.businessdailyafrica.com, NTV, QFM, Swahili Hub, and online classified site N-Soko.

NMG is also riding on its social media following on Twitter and Facebook to connect to readers and traders while at the same time disseminating news and information.

NTV has the biggest following on Twitter with 0.979 million followers, according to a research report by Socialbakers dated November 20, 2015; ahead of rivals such as Citizen (0.94 million), KTN (0.89 million), and K24 (0.5 million).

N-Soko is an online platform where users can advertise for vehicles, properties, jobs and tenders across East Africa. It currently records more than 1.5 million page views monthly.

It has been split into distinct lines to cater to each niche market — jobs.n-soko.com, properties.n-soko.com, motors.n-soko.com and tenders.nation.co.ke.