NMG uses Augmented Reality to launch new Nation.Africa

Nation Media Group (NMG) on Friday, 4th September, used Augmented Reality (AR) to launch its new platform that aims to advance the company from East Africa’s largest media house to Africa’s leading mobile content provider, a centre of technological innovation and customer excellence.

To showcase the new portal’s promise of cultivating a culture of innovation, there was no better way than using AR, a technology that brought the experience of an immersive 360 degree environment inside Serena Hotel, Nairobi, where Nation.Africa was unveiled.

A lion depicting the company’s prowess in Africa’s media landscape roared into the audience, followed by beautiful pyrotechnics that welcomed a new era of reportage that will focus on empowering the continent as the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds.

Having used the same technology in 2017 during the launch of the 2016 annual report, NMG wanted to apply it again in announcing the beginning of its digital transformation journey and show how tech can be used to drive Africa’s agenda in the global digital economy.

“We decided to use AR because NMG is repositioning itself to a modern digital content company. The use of emerging technologies is the future and AR is the best way to communicate to the masses that this is a new face of the brand,” said Mr Clifford Machoka, the company’s Head of External Affairs and Marketing.

Group Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gitagama said the shift towards a digital business model was inspired by the ever increasing obsolescence of legacy business frameworks that are finding it difficult to survive in the current disruption.

“Nation.Africa will enable us to create and deliver quality content in the continent, from news as it happens to in-depth reporting and stories about Africa, all brought to you on a cleaner and more user friendly modern platform that enables the consumer to share feedback directly with us,” he said.

“This comes on the back of several initiatives and innovations that the group has invested in to give our consumers engaging content across our various platforms.”

Group Editorial Director Mutuma Mathiu said the launch marked the end of the season of despair in the media and the beginning of hope for the future.

“What we have launched is not a website. It is our digital brand; our identity in the digital space, and that is how we want to represent our values in that space. Our intention is to bring all our 69 brands and contain them within one house to create possibly the largest digital media brand in Africa,” he explained.

Pamella Sittoni, Executive Editor of the ‘Daily Nation’, said it has already started the journey by coming up with an initiative that empowers young journalists to tell stories.

The programme obtains stories written by the youth for their age mates and helps showcase their perspectives on global matters even as Generation Z population soars, giving rise to a new popular worldview that will determine the future of businesses.

Over 75 per cent of Kenya’s population is of people aged 35 and below, according to the 2019 census report, and this is the audience whose tastes and preferences are changing how companies think about the consumer of the future.

NMG board chairman Wilfred Kiboro said for a long time, the group’s tagline has been ‘Media of Africa for Africa and that this will now be actioned as the company repositions itself as a pan-African brand.

“Nation.Africa will empower Africans for their emancipation while decolonising the African mind that has kept the continent poor despite the abundance of resources and intellectuals in the continent,” he said, adding that the platform will help Africa play its rightful role in the global gig economy.

ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said NMG’s transformation began 15 years ago, and that with a higher internet and smartphone penetration, the company stands to reap from the more than 1.3 billion Africans who will be impacted by its stories.

“NMG is moving in the right direction by scaling up its reach. It is the second in Africa to do this and I challenge it to be the best given the conducive technology infrastructure in Kenya,” he said.

His Interior counterpart and predecessor in the ICT docket, Dr Fred Matiang’i, admitted that no serious government can run its functions well without technology.

“If you are not running a digital government, then you are running a government for yourself or digital immigrants. The government supports this initiative because NMG has been a critical part of development. Nation is to Kenya what the New York Times is to the United States,” he said.

He urged the media house to help in the war against fake news, when the truth comes under attack, especially as the country gears up for the electioneering period.