World Cup Boost For NTV Ratings, as the Station gains over 400% Viewership increase

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So this week while thinking about a few topics to be used on the project that we want to introduced on, I went to Google trends for some inspirations. Since my interest was to look for the technology trends, I was a bit surprised how a cross the world nobody is talking about anything other than the World Cup.  The top ten trending topics in Kenya are either out right about world cup or some version of it. This left me thinking, about the impact of the world cup on the different media channels traffic and viewership.

From the bar, to church, to radio stations, to social media and blogs it is all about the World cup. What I like most about football is the range of emotions which comes with it. As a football fan one of the saddest videos I have watched online is the faces of famous players crying after losing final or a knock out game or being taken off through injury. Who would forget the sight of Messi crying after losing South American Football Championship (Copa America) final or Ronaldo after being injured during Euro 2016 or Neymar after Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany. During this world cup, we have seen Germany players crying after getting eliminated, despite their poor showing, and that is just the beginning.  I would say wait and see what will happen during the knock out stages.

But I think the people affected most are the fans.  I remember how I cried when Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty that could have taken Ghana to semi-finals in South Africa 2010 World cup. And it is not only about being sad, the joy of scoring or winning a match is just in another level. That is why I feel Africans are missing out especially at the world cup stage when the teams which are universally supported across the continent all get eliminated at the group stage. At this point, Africans and African leaders need to ask themselves a fundamental question, what are we doing wrong. The fact is, it is not due to lack of talents, it is not due to lack of passion, it is not due to players not competing at the highest level, the answers is, it is lack of seriousness and investment from different African states. Anyway this is a story for another day.

From the TV perspective, NTV has to be smiling all the way, the decision to compete and win the right to show 32 of the matches a head of the KBC must be one of the best for the station this season. It was evident that NTV was the obvious choice to watch the World cup for many football fans right from the beginning when they faced backlash due to the fact that some fans did not know that they would not show all the matches.  They took it in stride and after a while the fans understood the situation. After the group stages of the world cup, it is not rocket science that out of free to air and pay-tv channels accessible in Kenya, NTV has enjoyed the biggest following during the World Cup matches.  According to the analysis by Geopoll on the TV viewership during the group stages of the world cup

NTV Kenya had the highest viewership in Kenya, capturing over 30% of TV audience in Kenya during the time of the match. This is an increase of over 400% of NTV’s typical audience during the same time period.”

From that Geopoll stat and others that I have seen, the following are some of my observations:

  • The content is king. Do you remember when some Kenyans used to say that they no longer watch TV. Well, that has been like a badge of honour for many and the reason given is that whatever is on tv, they can get it from online. But world cup is a different animal, though there are running commentaries about the games online and you can tell exactly what is going on through your phone, the reality is, you can only enjoy it completely by watching it live. That explain the increase of over 400% viewership for NTV.
  • Social media perfectly complement the traditional Media. It is interesting to note that people watch NTV , Dstv and other streaming services but use Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to do their commentaries about the games. The growth of viewership of NTV also went hand in hand with the growth of NTV mentions online. NTV had the highest Share of voice SOV during the days African matches aired – June 19 being the highest when Senegal and Egypt played.
  • Unique content is the key for the future survival of the media in general. World cup is a hit with all generations, but FIFA has packaged in a way that you can only accessed it through  a few licensed channels.  That makes it completely  a unique content for NTV and Dstv  in Kenya. But Dstv being a pay-tv service, means it is not for the masses.
  • The creativity of Kenyans online is unmatched, the memes and jokes shared about world cup is as entertaining as the world cup itself.
What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at
Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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