When Kenya’s biggest media house launched its Video On Demand (VOD) service, Viusasa, it sounded like a bad bet for business.
However, with the media industry experiencing exponential growth in recent years, innovation will become the reason many survive the internet onslaught.
While revenues for legacy media continue dwindling, the internet is becoming the gold mine every investor is interested.
With the aggressiveness which Royal Media Services, which owns Citizen TV and several radio stations, is marketing its app Viusasa- it is no secret that the media house is not about to sit back and watch as its revenues decline.
Currently, Viusasa has been downloaded more than a million times and with the pay per view content, RMS can only get richer.
To bolster its productions, the media entity has poached several newscasters from other media houses with the most affected being the Nation Media Group (NMG).
NMG has lost a good number of its presenters to the rival. This comes after the group suffered another blow following the resignation of several opinion shapers who were columnists for the Nation newspaper.
RMS is owned by mogul Samuel Kamau, popularly known as SK Macharia. He suffered tough times during President Daniel Moi’s leadership. His Citizen TV and radio were shut down regularly during Moi’s tenure as he was perceived to be anti-government.
The talent poaching rampage is not the first and RMS seeks to increase its revenue channels by having the most notable faces within its pool. Already, presenters like Lilian Muli and Mwanahamisi Hamadi have segments on Viusasa.
RMS has poached anchors Victoria Rubadiri, Nimrod Tabu, Rashid Abdalla, Jamila Mohammed from NTV and KTN’s Mashirima Kapombe and Yvonne Okwara-Matole. This team could be another strategy to ensure that Viusasa stays ahead of the game with celebrities taking the centre stage.
Citizen TV was for a long time associated with mediocre content which saw it rank poorly among the other media outlets. The station used to broadcast its news at 8PM for a long time but with the rebranding, it established itself as a force to reckon with.
There are 14 radio stations under RMS and the group controls more than 60 per cent of all advertising revenue in Kenya.
Viusasa has taken the approach of RMS’ vernacular programming by welcoming all content and rewarding content creators. A statement on their website states, “Our commercial terms are based on a revenue share model. We will pay 40% of all Net Revenue generated by the Platform to all content producers.”
It adds that the net revenue is distributed to all content producers who supply content for the Platform based on the viewership received for their respective content.
Macharia’s strategy targets the common man which has paid off handsomely giving RMS massive support and popularity countrywide. This seems to be the same approach by Content Aggregation Limited (CAL) who own Viusasa.
A GeoPoll survey of the fourth quarter of 2017 showed that Citizen TV leads in audience share at 27%. KTN and its sister station KTN News followed with 13% and 12% respectively while NTV was trailing them with an audience share of 11%.
Viusasa promises the best in entertainment and information video content, Kenyan music and TV channels on any device.