Nation Media Group expands audience, influence with annual event

Building a digital brand is not only about know-how.

All through the two-day INMA Africa News Summit, sponsored by the Google News Initiative, Max Okeyo, head of method and innovation at Kenya’s Country Media Team, shared how NMG has employed an once-a-year dwell event to enable develop their electronic model and improve their viewers.

When NMG was launched in 1959, Okeyo stated the agenda was centered on “social justice, social effects,” and giving voice to the voiceless. It is grown to develop into the largest unbiased media house in East and Central Africa, with printed newspapers, radio stations, and Television set stations in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda. NMG also has a significant digital footprint, with a achieve of about 50 million across the unique brands.

Transformation possibilities and troubles

As with many news publishers right now, NMG has been pressured to reevaluate its company model in an at any time-changing media landscape, which Okeyo mentioned has spurred the corporation to rework how it operates. He explained several elements they get into thought as element of this transformation.

Max Okeyo, head of strategy and innovation at Nation Media Group, explained the media company's market footprint.
Max Okeyo, head of tactic and innovation at Nation Media Group, stated the media firm’s market footprint.

These aspects incorporate new revenue stream alternatives like subscriptions via reader profits, marketing, chances for marketplaces, information monetisation together the benefit chain, and activities that allow for advancement of audiences and rising prospects for partnerships and collaboratins.

There are challenges, as effectively, which Okeyo identified as the “wake of a thousand stings” — matters like a need to perform capture-up because of to underinvestment in purchaser details and technological innovation, disruptive systems, an ever more discerning audience, and a wish to harmony partnership with and regulation of Huge Tech.

“They’re having our lunch,” he quipped, “and evening meal, and likely breakfast.”

Collaborations are crucial likely forward, Okeyo explained: “Media corporations will not survive on our own. We have to determine strategic partnerships inside our house to help have interaction new audiences and inspire loyalty in our present viewers.”

Digital brand name developed on legacy

With circulation numbers declining “irreversibly” given that 2013, NMG redefined by themselves as a “content organization that builds on the legacy of our brand” to produce a new digital manufacturer which is definitely pan-African — Country Africa

The company relies on its history but moves toward its future with its Nation Africa brand.
The enterprise relies on its historical past but moves towards its long run with its Country Africa brand name.

Okeyo acknowledged incremental strategies to enterprise design transformation aren’t essentially heading to continue to keep speed with the fee of change, which he explained suggests “bold and confident leadership will become considerably a lot more important.”

Toward that conclude, in an effort to “engage consumers additional proficiently with new experiences, we will have to not only aim on the best levels of creativity but also make this motivation to connecting the dots for the purchaser through info and technological innovation.”

The possibilities NMG discovered to extend their footprint across the continent and also optimise revenue include things like a subscription product for high quality digital content, a deeper knowing of viewers segmentation to maximize benefit for advertisers, and a better expense in situations to become a genuinely Pan-African brand name.

“Events assist us develop a next, a society, a community that believes in us and our trigger,” Okeyo defined, “because it’s not just about income — it is about social impact, about making new price with shoppers beyond the commercial factors.”

Kusi Suggestions Pageant

NMG launched the initially Kusi Suggestions Festival in 2019, on the 60th anniversary of its founding, as a “pan-African suggestions transaction market” to capitalise on the alternatives and innovations out there to Africa. The celebration obtained a very first-place award in the INMA World Media Awards this yr.

The Kusi Ideas Festival started in 2019 and continues to draw a large audience.
The Kusi Strategies Competition started off in 2019 and proceeds to draw a significant audience.

Okeyo described the word “kusi” is from the Swahili term that implies “south” and refers to the southerly trade wind that blow more than the Indian Ocean, enabling trade between Africa and Asia. Beyond trade, above the centuries, Kusi and other trade winds built feasible cultural, intellectual, and technological exchanges, and significantly formed the background of the nations on the east aspect of Africa, its hinterland, and the broader Indian Ocean rim.

He explained Kusi as an “issue-associated forum” with these targets:


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    To reinforce the NMG brand name.


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    To make sturdy relationships with purchasers and audiences we could possibly not in any other case get to, these kinds of as coverage makers, intergovernmental organisations, and NGOs.


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    To produce alternate earnings streams, such as from new advertisers that want to be aspect of the function.


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The yearly event delivers together thought leaders to deal with difficulties that effects the complete continent of Africa, Okeyo stated, together with presidents and previous presidents. Discussions go over topics like healthcare, local climate modify, education and learning, governance, and stability, and what will come out of just about every function are termed “moonshots.” 

The Kusi Ideas Festival includes thought leadership discussions, leading to "moonshot" ideas for moving the continent forward.
The Kusi Ideas Pageant incorporates believed management discussions, primary to “moonshot” concepts for going the continent forward.

Following 1 Kusi, for illustration, a moonshot determined that: “Africa demands a post-COVID Marshall Program, as was the scenario in Europe at the conclude of World War II, encouraging the continent recuperate from the devastation of war. In our scenario, we would want a Marshall Prepare that recognizes SMEs and the informal sector, electronic gaps, inequality and obligations to the setting.”

Metrics and takeaways

Kusi demonstrates “there are possibilities within just the electronic space” for audience building, even however it is a physical party, Okeyo mentioned. Then, of class, all those electronic chances can be monetised.

“We create new content material value by making personalised ecosystems” for the viewers, Okeyo reported. Not only do they push value by way of advertising and marketing, as they’ve customarily accomplished, they also develop market opportunities for suppliers to join with shoppers. And the much more they are capable to have interaction audiences in the extensive-term, the far more details they can gather — which also makes monetisation options in the future.

Due to the fact the inaugural function, there have been almost 3,000 in-human being attendees and 31,000 digital attendees. Okeyo stated all those figures have developed each individual calendar year. He also stated that the conversion level for attendees becoming buyers of NMG products and solutions is about 5%-7% presently, like each Kusi and the community situations they do.

“That’s not terrible in the electronic place,” he reported, “but we can increase it.” 

Total coverage of the two-working day summit can be found here.