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Creative artistes count losses from analogue TV switch off

The financial impact on the local creative industry that relies on the three main television stations shut down by the regulator is starting to bite as the standoff persists.

Local actors, comedians, musicians, production crews and other stakeholders who largely depend on the major television stations, NTV, QTV, Citizen and KTN, operating under the African Digital Network, to pay them when their programmes are aired, have now raised concerns that the industry could be crippled by the row over digital migration.

This comes at the end of a week in which the Senate and the National Assembly have stepped in to try and resolve the crisis that has left more than 80 per cent of television viewers in the dark.

The major media organisations, who have maintained they are not against digital migration but insist on more time to set up equipment and get clarity on the distribution of their content, have protested the manner in which the Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya has handled the important technological shift.

Last week, popular programmes such as the Churchill Show, Aunty Boss, Papa Shirandula, Gavana, Beba Beba and Mali were off air, meaning that those involved in their production and related work will go unpaid.

Every week those who run Churchill Show that airs  on NTV every Sunday night, pay tens of people involved in the programme — ranging from comedians to the technical crew.


To further underline the crisis in the sector, Mr Daniel “Churchill” Ndambuki, the name behind the highly rated show, announced the cancellation of last week’s live recording of the programme at the Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi that is usually attended by scores of fans.

Last year, the show also spread its live recordings to major towns including Mombasa, Nakuru and Eldoret, reaching thousands of Kenyans.

“This week there will  be NO#LiveRecording of #ChurchillShow… apologies for inconveniences caused…#SpreadTheWord,” tweeted Mr Ndambuki on Thursday.

Charles Bukeko aka Papa Shirandula says the shutdown will have a negative financial impact on performing artistes.

“All artistes performing on screen will be affected by the shutdown. It touches on what you earn and if it continues the impact will be huge,” says Mr Bukeko.

With the ongoing switch off, advertisers are also postponing their campaigns because they are not visible to their target market, says television and commercial manager Peter Njigua.

He gives the example of companies like Unilever and Coca-Cola that market fast moving consumer goods by advertising on television.