The media blackout and #DigitalMigration



We have been talking about the digital migration for the last 3 months which have many benefits including  better picture quality and  more choice in channels. Some people thought it was just hype, a passing fad but that the CCK would not seriously cut people off from watching their favorite TV stations. Some the ones who knew that this process must take place and knew what the fuss about digital migration is went out to buy their set top boxes or decoders.

digital tv

The media stations on the other hand went to court which is their right. They were protesting loss of revenue from advertising for the customers who would be switched off and also the fact that they couldn’t get their own license. Which is all fine and legal we do not have a problem with that. But yesterday when the court ruling did not go their way they decided that they will not air content and only air their protests.

Find here the court ruling  PETITION 557 OF 2013 RULING 1

and the PETITION NO. 557 OF 2013 – JUDGMENT.

The blackout by the way is fine by me. I do not watch our local tv stations. They have a lot of Mexican and Pilipino programming which is really annoying. And when they are not playing that they are playing Nigerian movies. I do not generally watch the news. I find it to be a waste of time when most of the coverage is on politicians who prefer to talk rather than do their jobs. Or fight amongst themselves. I prefer to get news from the internet or radio. I get the facts minus the drama and all that. I find the lack of developmental news disturbing but that’s just me.

The person I feel pity for in this whole scenario is my mum. She is old school. She waits to watch the news on TV and read it in the paper. She is a fan of Citizen TV. Yesterday she had to watch news on K24 which is not what she is used to.

The blackout to consumers hurts those who had prepared for the digital migration. It hurts more those who knew that they have until next year to make the big switch. For most Nairobi residents they may have options for entertainment. Many have DVDs and they also have many other ways to entertain themselves or get news etc from the internet. Some have bought set top boxes or decoders to make sure they watch their TVs. Of course some also have illegal connections of GO TV or MultiChoice so they are not bothered. DStv/GoTv have also been busy making sure that they are selling their decoders before the switch off date. I am sure you have seen the GoTV tents everywhere in town.

While we understand that the media have a legitimate grievance this is not how they should deal with the issue. Christmas is tomorrow and many families would want to watch entertainment or news during this period. These are the people the media are punishing. The media have had since 2009 to prepare themselves for the digital migration so they should not say they are not ready. Read here an article by the Daily Nation on the same.

As part of their case they said that they would lose advertising revenues from the eyeballs they would lose from the switch off. Now that they have gone off air aren’t they losing advertising revenues? And eyeballs as well? Let them stop telling us that it is us who will lose out whereas they are only concerned about the digital migration from their business point of view but not from how it affects us as customers.

For advertisers please realize that the numbers those media stations give you to justify the huge amounts they ask for may not be factual. A lot of young people in Nairobi do not watch the major TV stations because the content is so monotonous and boring. How many soaps can you watch in a day or naija movies?

I remember growing up how I used to love watching TV. There were so many varied programs to watch. There were cartoons, music shows, different series and different movies. There were few soaps only bold and the beautiful, one or two Mexican movies, then there would be so much content. We used to look forward when we were in high school to come home and watch our favorite programs. Now during the day they have Nigerian movies, at 6 they all seem to have Pilipino soaps, at 730 is the only time when you get local programming, at 8 it is Mexican soaps and at 930 it is another Mexican soap.

Dear tv stations, you already lost us before the digital migration began. Don’t kid yourself that the youth are mourning the fact that you have decided to go on a black out. We have our movies, games, books, movie theatres, gargets, entertainment sports and the internet. We don’t watch your content anyway.

So don’t think we care. But for those who do, people like my mum and my older relatives, and my relatives in shags you are hurting them by not giving them the news. They may like your programming but guess what the main reason they watch is for the news. And if they realize they can get it elsewhere then they will move.

Related articles
Winners and Losers of Kenya’s digital migration

Media Blackout is good for Digital Migration

Kenyan media so called “blackout”

The good ol’ days when we loved to watch tv sometimes even sneaking in (Remington Steele)  to watch because it was late but we really loved watching tv.  Sadly those days are gone.

remington steele





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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]