One of the biggest media companies in the East African region – Nation Media Group - is restructuring. From their words, they say that they are β€˜evolving into a fresh new brand’ and this will see them change a number of their products with a β€˜mobile-first mindset and with the versatile African youth in focus’.

This is a welcome move, considering the challenges that the traditional media has been going through in the recent past. Digital disruption has seen media companies lose on revenue as daily circulation shrinks and alternative forms of advertising eat into their revenue.

A major shakeup is necessary if the future of traditional media such as print newspapers is to be guaranteed.

Youth and mobile

There is still one question in my mind though, is it not a little late for a media giant like Nation Media to start talking about β€˜mobile-first’ and β€˜focus on youths?’

By all means, a media company in Africa should have had these at the core of their online presence.

In Kenya, 83% of the population access the internet through mobile phones. This forms a bulk of the people who would be interacting with their content online. This has been the trend for long and I would have expected the switch would have come earlier.

The focus on the youth is also the right thing and should have come even earlier.


Africa is a youthful population and 75% of the Kenyan population is age 35 years and below. These are the people that very media needs to focus on to thrive both today and tomorrow. This step should have been taken years ago, and the media should have been courting these young people.

However, better late than never.

The future of newspapers

There is still a lot more than Nation Media should do if they are to ride the digital tide.

At the moment, Nation Media is working hard to prop up the dwindling print circulation. Part of the strategy involves having exclusive content that they publish on print and not on their website, or publishing it on the website way much later after people have accessed it on print. For one to access the content, they have to buy the digital edition.

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Unfortunately, they may not focus on online subscription because many people in Kenya are not willing to pay to access the news online. The best they can hope to is to monetize the online content. To date, Nation Media still makes a significant portion of their income from print circulation where they have little competition.

While the new focus should help them rejuvenate their fortunes, they may need to think of how to disrupt themselves further before other players do. Already, news aggregators can personalize news so much better than the news producers on their own. It is time for the Daily Nation to think of how they can be better at recommending content to their readers.

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