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TV advertisers fear digital migration row will hit revenue

Advertisers are warning of huge losses running into billions of shillings following the digital migration standoff between the government and four leading broadcasters.

In a statement, the Association of Practitioners in Advertising in Kenya called for moderation and compromise to resolve the stalemate.

The agency said the television blackout would significantly hurt the advertising sector.

“TV advertising was valued at Sh41 billion last year, and a blackout of the major channels would cause large revenue loss with ripple effects to advertisers, the broadcasters, the advertising sector and the economy,” warned the chairman, Mr Lenny Ng’ang’a.

He said advertisers who are unable to drive their marketing campaigns on TV effectively may be forced to scale down investment, which in turn could reduce consumer demand and eventually slow down the economy.

AUDIENCE RATINGS

“The fall in television viewership occasioned by lack of pervasive set-top box penetration would, in the coming months, have far-reaching ramifications for the broadcast sector as it largely draws revenues from selling audience ratings to advertisers,” he said.

The association stated that while it fully supports government efforts to honour international treaty agreements and deadlines for digital migration, it insists that this should be implemented in a “phased, well-planned and mutually agreed approach for the benefit of all Kenyans.”

Mr Ng’ang’a said a disorderly migration would lead to huge losses in the economy.

EXECUTIVE BLAMED

Cord co-principal Raila Odinga has blamed the Executive for the forcible shutdown of the analogue broadcasting platform that has left many Kenyans with limited sources of information.

Mr Odinga, who was accompanied by the coalition’s co-principal, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, Narc Kenya Chairperson Martha Karua and more than 10 MPs, however, said those who think that Kenyans cannot “see” through darkness are misguided.

“As a nation, we are in darkness. Executive impunity is the cause of this blackout. But the darkest hour is always before dawn,” said the former Prime Minister.

He spoke at the Dinesh Mahesh Chandaria auditorium in Nairobi during the inauguration of a book, Two months in India, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Vice-President of the Republic of Kenya, authored by his father following his two-month experience in India from February 16, 1953.

Mr Musyoka warned that the blackout was punishing Kenyans and not the TV stations.