CA issues 6 more broadcast licences

Regulation & Policy

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has awarded six firms broadcasting licences, stepping up competition in local content delivery.

In 2014, CA set June as the deadline for broadcasters to air 40 per cent local content under a new regulatory regime. The regulator has also compelled new broadcasters to commit to the rule as they seek licences.

In a June 19 Gazette notice, the regulator indicated that it had licenced Smart Media Colleges Ltd, BClimax Africa Ltd, Equatorial Multimedia Group Ltd, Mwanyange Television (MTV) The Standard Group Ltd and Neno Evangelism Centre.

“The reason for the grant of the licence is to enable the applicant to operate and provide services as indicated above (commercial free to air television on digital terrestrial television platform),” said the Gazette notice.

The licences are thematic with some stations focusing on sports and others documentaries. CA director-general Francis Wangusi said media owners are also required to present pre-aired content every week for vetting by CA as per new regulations.

He added that a majority of the media stations only air 14 per cent local content, with only two airing 51 per cent local content. Currently, there are over 160 media owners hence the need to regulate them.

2013/2014 financial year statistics by the regulator state that only 3 in every 10 local content programmes produced actually end up on Kenyan television. The statistics also show that KBC is the leader in airing local content at 50 per cent followed by QTV at 44 per cent. The rest are ranked below 40.

Bringing new broadcasters who promise to air local content into the arena is expected to stimulate and increase earnings from the local creative industry. Currently, the industry makes an annual revenue of Sh1.95 billion compared to Nigeria’s which makes around Sh50.7 billion.

Those who do not meet targets will be exposed to harsh penalties such as remitting more money to the Universal Service Fund (over 0.5 per cent of their annual revenue).
Source: Business Daily 29 June 2015