NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 30 – Nation Media Group on Thursday announced that it would be making staff cuts following the “scaling down” of its radio stations and consolidation of its two television stations NTV and QTV.
In a statement to the public, the group’s management said the rationalisation measures were effective immediately as it seeks to reposition itself in a rapidly changing media landscape.
“We are cognisant of the changing trends in which individuals are consuming our products. In line with this new reality, we are reorganising ourselves with the objective of transforming the group into a modern Twenty First Century digital content company embracing a digital/mobile first business model,” the communication read.
QTV will therefore cease broadcasting as NTV is transformed into a “multi-lingual television station.” Nation FM, QFM and KFM will on the other hand only be available for streaming online.
“We will keep a live signal and maintain and online presence in line with our digital strategy.”
The group which has been in the Kenyan news business for close to six decades – having been founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1959 – has been in flux ever since the competitive broadcasting edge it, Royal Media and the Standard Group had prior to the digital migration was levelled out.
The three had warned, in a long drawn out court battle, that unless the migration was undertaken gradually, it would lead to a drastic drop in revenue and inevitable staff cuts.
“We do recognise that today’s announcement will be difficult for the affected employees and their families,” Thursday’s statement reads.
Last year the Nation and QFM news team was rationalised with those left behind directed to source their news from the television stations.
The news business in general, globally, is changing with more and more people using their smart, digital devices, to access the news.
According to a report by Reuters, a third of the global audience now access the news on their smart phones but not necessarily to the exclusion of the more traditional media.
The traditional media is however struggling to compete with Poynter News University documenting a four per cent decline in newspaper readership in the US with TV and radio recording only a one percent rise in audience growth between 2010 and 2011 while the online platform grew by 17.2 per cent.
The Tampa Bay Times for instance, the biggest US newspaper South of Washington, has cut by more than half the number of its reporters from 400 to 180.
The Washington Post on the other hand was saved from financial ruin by Jeff Bezos of Amazon with political news website Politico now considered a heavyweight in Washington.