Technology

Why it is season for independent media in Kenya to stand out

TV

Summary

  • Outside of sports, politics ranks highest as a common interest denominator touching everyone from the oldest members of our communities to the freshly minted.
  • Independent media may be an oxymoron because everything is imbued with bias even when the desired outcome is a positive for the collective.
  • Traditional primetime still takes the majority share of attention, making for an interesting conundrum when targeting the critical majority.

Despite the barrage of depressing developments in the market that have raised the cost of living over the past few weeks, I remain optimistic.

We are now firmly into the election season, and I could not be happier.

The simple reason would make for powerful positioning by positive change agents, looking to harness the fervour the electorate interacts with on issues. With the reach, we now have with mobile phones, coupled with affordable data, and our thirst for news, information, commentary, and participation, innovators in media can now provide purposeful infotainment at scale.

Outside of sports, politics ranks highest as a common interest denominator touching everyone from the oldest members of our communities to the freshly minted, government-recognised adults who have acquired their identity cards.

The use of technology by way of data science, personalisation, and content delivery at scale has been frowned on in the past, given the many negative stories of how opinion is shaped by targeting micro-moments in the lives of millions of potential voters by nefarious factions.

I hold, however, that those with a more balanced and true-to-heart agenda, a debatable issue in itself, for our country, have refused to embrace the same technologies to push the positive and liberating. We have a healthy number of pundits, with deep competence and insight into matters economic and sociocultural.

Not all may be good storytellers and or well versed with technological nuances. Between them lies a pool of knowledge waiting to be distilled, packaged, and distributed to millions of potential listeners and viewers.

Independent media may be an oxymoron because everything is imbued with bias even when the desired outcome is a positive for the collective.

Critical mass

However, it should be the north-star supported by a critical mass of producers who believe in giving a balanced opinion supported by auditable facts. It makes it possible to counter the long tail of fake news bound to see an uptick as campaigns slowly build up. It is a function of quality, volume, and discoverability.

Kiswahili and vernacular are the preferred languages of content consumption. Traditional primetime still takes the majority share of attention, making for an interesting conundrum when targeting the critical majority, despite access to digital platforms. I am keen to see what the ‘good guys’ will build during this critical time using the technological arsenal available.

Njihia is the head of business and partnerships at Sure Corporation | www.mbuguanjihia.com | @mbuguanjihia