Digital Migration: Over 27 new TV stations are ready

After going on strike for about 21 hours, the TV Stations that participated in the strike are back. Did they gain anything? Yes. They achieved an important feat, that of educating Kenyans on Digital Migration. This is one of those times that the saying “silence speaks louder than words” come true. At the end of the day, their strike achieved nothing for themselves.

What the media should realize is that Digital Migration shall come whether they fight it or not. Right now they are in the denial stage but as soon as they accept and move on the better for them. Even if they don’t accept it, they should look into the future and adopt competitive strategies as Digital Broadcast will open up the TV sector and bring on board very many players who will offer variety of competitive programmes even for nitche markets.

One important strategy they can adopt and adopt fast is aggressive digital migration campaigns. To effectively run this campaign, the media houses should:

  1. Identify a number of STB decoder vendors and run free to air ads on their behalf
  2. Encourage Kenyans to buy STBs every single opportunity they have
  3. They should start talking about the essence of Digital Migration in their talk shows, news bulletin interviews, and in programmes dedicated to digital migration.

These campaigns in support of digital migration will accelerate the preparedness of Kenyans to also digitally migrate by buying the decoders and installing them accordingly. Once almost every household as the STBs, then there would be nothing the media houses will fear regarding the switch off of analogue signals.

If the media houses had done exactly what I am recommending, so many households could be digital ready by now. The other day they wrote an article on Daily Nation that out of 8.5 million households with TV sets, only 175,000 had digital decoders; 120,000 of which are on Pay TV. In the article, it was argued that the low penetration rate of digital decoders is one of the reasons that makes the media houses fight digital migration.

But I would like to point out that it is the media houses that have not campaigned for digital migration and that’s why very few Kenyans have the decoders. With proper campaigns for digital migration, it is possible to achieve penetration rate of over 80% by mid January 2014.

The other thing the media houses should know, and I know they know, is that there are a number of TV stations most of which are unknown by majority of Kenyans that are ready to air once the analogue signal is switched off. When CCK was demonstrating the digital decoder late last month, I was able to verify about 27 Free to Air TV stations that are ready to go on air – these 27 new TV stations are simply waiting for the whistle to be blown.

That means we as a country can as well do without the orthodox media houses that are hell bent to drag us in the analogue age. The 27 new TV stations that are ready to broadcast digital signal come from a variety of sectors including entertainment, sports, news, religion, children, among many more. That is, there are a number of TV stations that will be dedicated just to offer you high class entertainment or children programming throughout. Expect to watch just what you want whenever you want it thanks to digital broadcast. As a matter of fact, there won’t be any big difference between Free to Air TV viewing and Pay TV.

Digital Migration is one way of bridging the gap between the poor and the rich.


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