Streaming services become the norm in ‘new normal’



  • Local companies holding national meetings with their staff have also taken to live-streaming events where policy briefs are spelt out as well as feedback received from the field.

Macharia Weru, an English/French translator experienced a sharp earnings’ slump last March after Kenya reported its first Covid-19 case which saw international meetings cancelled.

Since returning to Kenya 10 years ago from Paris, France, where he taught English in a high school, Mr Weru thrived on offering interpretation and translation services to private companies and at international meetings attended by English and French-speaking audiences until Covid-19 struck.

“My world collapsed with suspension of meetings as every person across the world remained indoors. It has never been this tough,” he said.

With strict Covid-19 restrictions imposed, Mr Weru remained glued to his computer screen concentrating on smalltime jobs of interpreting commercial contracts between Kenyan and France-based companies.

Mr Weru said emergence of virtual meetings gave him a major lifeline after past acquaintances recommended him to online event planners.

“A steady internet connection and a quiet environment in a leased office or a quiet room at home offers me an opportunity to continue working,” he says.

“I worked for Great Lakes Youth Forum, Oxfam Kenya Land Forum, Forum for African Women Educators and the Africa Economic Research Consultancy among other international events.”

Multichoice general entertainment and connected video Yolisa Phahle said a steady internet connection saw their online entertainment platform, Showmax experience a strong growth in subscribers and usage this year, with record viewership during Covid-related lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.

“The uptake is looking very positive so far and we can see a spike in new subscribers every time a big sports’ match is live-streamed. Showmax, being a streaming service allows subscribers to watch movies and series safely at home,” she said.

Ms Phahle, a local content with global appeal proponent, said they were working on a new Kenyan Showmax production, which she believes will build a loyal local following.

“We are now increasing the Kenyan content catalogue and have started production on a Kenyan Showmax Original, which we will be sharing more details on shortly,” she said.

Enashipai resort and spa sales and marketing director Wanjeri Mahiti said the future is about live-streaming events as well as virtual shows where guests book into their hospitality facility to enjoy a quiet environment for international meetings.

Local companies holding national meetings with their staff have also taken to live-streaming events where policy briefs are spelt out as well as feedback received from the field.

The platforms have become a popular and a cheaper way for hosting meetings that also ensure an affordable and real-time opportunity to host meetings.

Events organiser and Extra Dimensions founder executive director Wambui Njoora adds live-streaming is “the new normal” where major investments are being made to avail steady internet broadband.

M Njoora, who hosts large events using loudspeakers and screens at strategic points in her 1,000 plus tents, says going forward top executives will prefer to deliver key messages via a web link.

“While meetings used to take days, virtual meetings take less than three hours where people meet on different timelines. Some now sit in their offices, hotel meeting rooms while others attend meetings in the wee hours of the night from the comfort of their homes,” adds Mr Weru.