Category Archives: BBC

Media Moment: BBC expansion in Nairobi

BBC Hub: Monday, November 5 saw the BBC launch their largest news bureau in the world outside the United Kingdom with Nairobi now being the home of the 300 of the network’s 600 journalists working in Africa.

This is all part of the W2020 project that aims to increase the impact and reach of the BBC.  Rachel Akidi, Head of East Africa Languages, said that in the last year, staff numbers in Nairobi has grown rapidly and significantly from 80 to 300 as several journalists who were familiar faces on local channels are now on BBC. The World Service team now produces 800 hours of new content comprising news, investigations, health, women’s discussions, sports, business etc, broadcasting in 12 languages, 6 of which are African, with the content distributed via TV, digital and radio.

The day also saw the launch of a fourteenth local program called “Money Daily” and the BBC has also set out to tackle the problem of fake news with a dedicated new program about this that launches on November 19.

TV stats: Meanwhile, Kenya has also seen some new television channels launch recently including Fanaka TV, an all-business channel, and SwitchTV. Another of the new channels has released some interesting statistics on TV viewership in Kenya:

  • Friday to Sunday has the highest TV viewership, in terms of hours consumed daily. But within a month, the period between the dates of from the 12th to the 25th of the month sees the highest number of hours consumed.
  • Live viewership of events (e.g. sports, award shows) results in a significant decline in watching traditional media e.g. news and feature shows. Reality TV is mainly watched live due to social media engagement.
  • Wireless streaming does not work on all fixed wireless ISP’s in Kenya. It works over 3G and 4G, which offer a more reliable, but pricier, delivery model.

Kwese Goes Digital: Kwese, the Pan-African digital channel, pulled the plug on its satellite broadcasting services as it announced a switch to focus on digital broadcasting its Kwesé Free Sports, Kwesé iflix and Kwesé Play.

Kwese’s free-to-air service was in 11 African countries, but going forward viewers can download the Kwese app to their phones and subscribe for content, with Kwese iflix being free for 12 months.

GAA: Several people including a current Member of Parliament (MP) and a former Permanent Secretary were charged with obtaining money by false pretences and fraud.

This relates to a Government Advertising Agency (GAA) that was created a few years ago to handle all media advertising for the government. But for several recent months, leading media houses have been complaining about unpaid bills, with the Nation Media Group attributing its latest half-year profit dip to the Kshs 856 million (~$8.5 million) owed to it by the agency.

Political Moment: MP Salaries Performance & Debates

On Tuesday, after a day of street protests

@iGaddo cartoon in the Nation

and online petitions by Kenyans, upset over yet another initiative by members of Kenya’s parliamentarians (MP’s or MPigs – as they were called in the street) to raise their salaries, President Mwai Kibaki announced that he would not sign a bill into law and thus appearing to halt their greedy March.@Mzalendowatch has the hansard (transcript) of the debate on the fateful night that the salary increase was discussed, and while there was a lively debate with lots of MP’s contributing on matters like hides & skins, capital gains tax on land & shares, reopening Charterhouse Bank mining rights,  and capping bank interest rates –  on the subject of their salaries, no questions were asked on the complex motion which seems to imply that it had been agreed on to pass without much fanfare.

Kenyan leaders are overpaid


Turnover: These are interesting times in politics, and with Kenya’s 10thparliament  in its’ last few months, there appears to be in a grab & go mentality, given that many won’t be back in parliament. In the last election in 2007, about 70% of MP’s lost their seats, and with next year having the first election under a new constitution, many current MP’s are gunning for other newly created seats such as senators and governors.

Despite their high salaries, many MP’s have a track record of not managing their salaries well hence the push for a bonus send-off.

Performance Review: How can we judge how MP’s have performed over the last few years? There’s Mzalendo who have tracked key issues in parliament (publishing bills & hansards) and also rate all the current MP’s as either bad, average, or good for their online constituents to judge. 

Also, the Data Science blog came up with a performance with a scorecard using recently available constituency data to determine how much value some MP’s who led the controversial have actually performed for their constituents.

Debate Season: The BBC are in Nairobi shooting a month-long series of shows in Kenya including Hardtalk with leading Kenyan politicians and pieces on mobile communications and Lamu.

BBC Hardtalk anchor gets grilled in Nairobi

And yesterday, Kenya’s media owners announced that they would jointly produce and broadcast a series of U.S style presidential debates in the coming months.

 So how will the presidential candidates perform in a debate? The APSEA blog analyzed the communication styles of three of the likely contenders  – Musalia Mudavadi, Uhuru Kenyatta and Kalonzo Musyoka (who’s the current Vice President) and who are all likely to be on the debate stage in from November with some interesting findings.