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A call for positive TV content to increase viewership

A Steadman Group report estimates that more than 10.7 million Kenyan homes have access to either radio or television.

But, despite owning television sets, the recent survey report by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) shows that over 40 per cent of Kenyans are shying away from watching TV.

Speaking to KNA, Nyeri residents shared their views on why more Kenyans were staying away from consuming TV content.

Nicholas Wambugu, a taxi operator in Nyeri town is not surprised about the drop of those who watch TV. Wambugu says that he does not watch TV but rather, he gets news updates on social media which according to him relays information faster compared to TV. Wambugu says media houses should put their content in a digital form to attract viewers.

“I neither watch TV shows nor do I watch news. I spend a lot of time online where I read a lot of stuff. Anything trending or causing a buzz is usually posted on different social media platforms either Facebook or Twitter. Since I am an active user of these platforms, I am informed about anything happening as soon as it happens. This is the reason I don’t need to watch TV. Let the media houses consider going digital,” Wambugu said.

“Technology has given us more options. You don’t have to watch TV to get news updates or sit down in front of a television to watch your favourite show. You can watch all these online anytime and anywhere you want. Technology has brought so much flexibility and maybe that’s the reason most of us are no longer glued to our television sets,” another resident, Samuel Wanjiru said.

Mercy Wambui, a fruit vendor in town, says that she does not watch TV. According to her, the TV programmes are monotonous.  Wambui says that the TV stations in Kenya have almost the same trend in their programmes which makes it difficult for someone to watch the same thing over and over again.

“A lot of people have shunned away from watching TV. I can’t sit down to watch a programme that I have been watching for a long period. When it comes to news, it’s all about politics and repetitive political interviews and a lot of adverts. There is nothing new. There is nothing educational or inspirational,” Wambui said.

Johnson Mengi, who operates a hardware shop in Nyeri town, says that he watches the TV but not frequently as he used to. Mengi says that he mostly gets depressed from the news he watches on the TV which makes him avoid watching TV frequently.

“Most of the news we watch on the screens is very traumatizing. You turn on a TV and the next thing you’ll see is someone has been killed, or reports of an explosion, bodies being retrieved from somewhere, some people being evicted from their houses, some public funds have been misappropriated or a certain politician has made discriminatory remarks. No one would wish to watch such negative news daily,” Mengi said.

“I don’t know who told the media personnel that negative news sells. I mean it’s good to report things as they are but they should also consider the people consuming such news. Let’s see something positive on the screens, something which will make me turn on the TV again and again. But if it’s all about negativity, I think most of us will completely do away with these screens. We can’t continue feeding ourselves and our families too much negative energy,” Mengi added.

On Monday, MCK released a report titled State of Media which shows that 58 per cent of Kenyans interviewed consume TV content on a typical day which translates to 16.7 million Kenyans aged 15 years. The figures represented a 16 per cent drop in viewership from 74 per cent in the 2020 survey.

By Ann Ngure

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