Swahili station QTV to return on air after three years

Media house banks on technology to serve its 37  million consumers with world-class content.

Nation Media Group (NMG) has announced plans to relaunch its QTV station and introduce more digital products in a rapidly changing media environment.

Chairman Wilfred Kiboro told shareholders at the 56th Annual General Meeting held in Nairobi yesterday that the management wants to give the station a fresh look, in addition to investing in NTV Kenya and NTV Uganda.

“We want to refresh the format of our broadcast content to world-class standards. We will be relaunching QTV as a standalone channel and we are confident it will be a significant contributor to revenue streams,” said Mr Kiboro.

“We are cognisant of the fact that the future is digital and we will continue investing in it and leverage technology to create new revenue streams.”

The relaunch of QTV, whose programming was stopped three years ago, will be accompanied by more investments in other digital outlets that now serve over 37 million people monthly across the world.

Mr Kiboro assured shareholders that the  Group will remain steadfast to surmount any challenge and seize opportunities that will safeguard the sustainability of NMG as the leading, independent and most trusted media house in the region.

The company has been investing in digital products to match the changing needs of customers. Last year, it started Lit Music label, which closed the year having listed 16 Kenyan artistes.

Other digital products including KenyaBuzz, Nairobi News and Instascoop were also on a rise. These initiatives resulted in a 19 per cent growth of the Group’s digital footprint to 37 million users a month while e-paper subscribers grew by 12 per cent during the year.

“This is an indication that the future is driven by digital and is looking bright. We believe that we have the right strategy to navigate the fast-changing media marketplace,” Group CEO Stephen Gitagama told shareholders.

He added that as NMG marks 60 years under the theme ‘True & Timeless,’ it will continue investing in telling impartial and impactful stories that shape the region.

During the AGM, Mr Kiboro was unanimously re-elected by shareholders to serve for another year as a director and chairman while Prof Lee Huebner and Anwar Poonawala were also re-elected to continue serving as directors.

“I thank you for the confidence you have shown in me. I give you my commitment that I will continue to serve you diligently,” Mr Kiboro told shareholders.

Mr Poonawala, Dennis Aluanga, Simon Kagugube and Leonard Mususa were also endorsed to continue serving as members of the audit, risk and compliance committee.

The shareholders approved payment of a final dividend of Sh3.50 per share as had been approved by the board. This, added to interim dividend of Sh1.50 per share, totals Sh5 per share compared to Sh10 that the company paid out the previous year.

The management said the payout reflects last year’s tough operating environment as well as the need to preserve cash for investment in future digital revenue streams to diversify NMG’s product offering.

NMG posted after tax profit of Sh1.1 billion in the financial year ended December 2018, being 14.7 per cent below the previous year due to a challenging business environment across East Africa.

By Patrick Alushula