The Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications' Media Innovation Centre (MiC) has launched its latest report on media innovation in East Africa that sets out to examine factors at the organisational level that impact media viability.
Dubbed 'The State of Innovation and Media Viability in East Africa', the report specifically analysed eight major variables which include: newsroom structure and resources, media ownership and business models, organisational capacity, innovation culture, journalism culture, financial trends and results, content quality and COVID-19.
Termed as timely and informative, MiC's Interim Director, Clare Mogere, noted the importance of the project's role in carrying out such research that helps media houses understand the changing landscape.
“After six months of interviews, data analysis and interpretation, I am happy to announce the launch of this report. The report has come at a time of need to provide more information on the various areas that can help the media clearly understand the ever-changing landscape. Our mandate as the MiC, is to carry out such studies that will, in the long run, provide a supporting arm to the media industry," she said.
While highlighting some of the findings, Clare mentioned that the young generation is actively getting involved in the media sector as more media start-ups begin to spring up. She ties this to the need for MiC to support such start-ups through their incubation or acceleration process.
“Generally, the findings on age of the media indicate that the East African media sector is considerably young. Save for the print News Media Organisation that are predominantly 11 years and older, about 60% of TV, radio, digital and multimedia platforms have existed for 10 years or less. Young age of media firms may be a disadvantage in terms of lack of experience and high start-up failure rate, but studies have also shown that young media organisations experiment more with new areas and explore possible new business models without the added hurdle of undoing systems entrenched for decades. This clearly shows the need for an organisation like MiC that helps several media start-ups get on their feet," added Clare.
State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary (PS), Esther Koimett, lauded the MiC for taking strides in conducting research that support growth of media sector in East Africa.
“I note with satisfaction the good work done by MiC in supporting the media in East Africa by churning out reports and research outputs rooted in the rigors of scientific research. I am also reliably informed that in a few weeks the Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) will be launching the findings of yet another study that focuses on the media consumption habits of millennials and digital natives. These are two very timely and important studies and the Media Futures East Africa Project that is making immense contributions in creating an informed society in East Africa."
GSMC's Interim Dean, Prof. Nancy Booker, reiterated the school's commitment to continue churning out research that seeks to critically understand the media landscape whilst teaching young journalists and senior media managers.
“I am delighted to see this day where scientifically based research is disseminated and discussed among peers, media scholars, media practitioners and students. We continue to serve journalists and the broader communications industry in East Africa, and beyond, as part of a university that straddles borders, cultures, and continents. We shall continue in our efforts to better journalists through our various programs such as Masters in Digital Journalism that hones the skills of young journalists in digital story telling."
The report data was gathered via an in-depth survey of media managers and journalists from a total of 437 media houses in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania from 2020 to 2021. The report can be accessed here.