Kenyan consumers still fancy foreign entertainment content more than local content according to statistics released by Google last week.
The results of this year’s top searches on Google and views on YouTube point to a striking penchant for international content among Kenyans.
While six of the 10 most watched videos are from either America or Europe, only two Kenyan videos made the cut. Willy Paul’s ‘I do’ collaboration with Alaine was second on the log topped by Ed Sheeran’s sensation ‘Shape of you’.
Nyashinski’s appeal to local music enthusiasts propelled his ‘Malaika’ smash hit to the third spot of the top 10 favourite YouTube videos watched in Kenya in 2017.
Predictably, Tanzanian artistes continued to give their Kenyan counterparts a tidy run for their money. Diamond’s ‘Marry You’ megahit and Harmonise and Rich Mavoko’s eye candy track ‘Show Me’ came fourth and ninth respectively. The rest are by American artistes.
Despacito tops searches
Quite baffling though, Kenyan music band Sauti Sol fell short of the top-ten list despite their massive exploits on the local and regional music sphere.
Not even their show-stopping ‘Melanin’ chartbuster (with three million YouTube views) released three weeks ago could salvage a spot for the band in the most watched videos category.
Timeless Noel’s dance style christened the Odi dance, waltzed its way into second spot of the top trending entertainment searches on Google in Kenya in the list topped by Despacito.
Collo and Bruz Newton’s Bazokizo, also Kenyan, was third, Diamond’s ‘Zilipendwa’ fourth while Nyashinski’s ‘Malaika’ settled for the sixth position.
Star comedian Eric Omondi continued to tickle Kenyans on YouTube. His hilarious videos ‘Zilitemwa’, ‘How to be Joho’, ‘The Gods must not be Crazy’, ‘We Are’ and ‘How to be Vera Sidika’ warmed the hearts of most Kenyans to emerge third, fourth, seventh and eighth most favourite non-musical videos in Kenya this year.
JANET KANINI, MWAI KIBAKI TOP
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s dance fascinated most Kenyan viewers to sit at the summit of the list. TV journalist Janet Kanini was the fourth most popular person in Kenya. Former President Mwai Kibaki and controversial Embakasi East parliamentarian Babu Owino featured in the list.
Obesity is now a major concern for Kenyans as “how to lose weight” and “how to lose belly fat” featured predominantly in the top trending health searches.
Globally, Ariana Grande, Linkin Park band, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey and Ed Sheeran were the individual musicians searched most in 2017.
Despacito by Luis Fonsi was the obvious winner in the popular songs of 2017. Slightly over 11 months since its release, Despacito currently has more than 4.5 billion views on YouTube, a record that has perplexed not just viewers, but even Google.
“The popularity of this music video drew our special attention because it was the first song to cross the 4 billion views calibration in YouTube’s history,” said Dorothy Ooko, Google’s PR lead in Africa during the release of this year’s top searches.
“It was intriguing to see Despacito surpass even Gangnam Style which had topped the list of the most watched videos for more than four years,” Ooko added.
Ed Sheeran continued to rule the roost in the global music scene with his hit songs. The 26-year-old Brit’s ‘Shape of you’ and ‘Perfect’ tracks were second and third most searched songs on Google as ‘Havana' by Camila Cabello settled for number four.
Former TV journalist Matt Lauer (Matthew Todd Lauer) was the most sought personality on Google in 2017, after November’s revelation of his dishonourable past of sexual impropriety.
Meghan Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry in November elevated her to the second spot of the most sought personality of 2017. Italian television personality Nadia Toffa, 38, was the surprise third most searched person in the world this year.
Veteran film producer Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey were fourth and fifth following the damaging allegations of sexual harassment against them.
Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot was sixth on the list of top 10 personalities in the world. Meghan Markle, Kevin Spacey and Gal Gadot also bullied their way into the list of the top 10 most searched actors and actresses of 2017, coming first, second and third in that order.
Cost of data
On consumer tech, iPhone 8, its sister iPhone X and video game console Nintendo Switch topped the searches worldwide. The shocking entrant in a list that was dominated by smartphones is Nokia 3310, a reincarnation of the original phone.
According to Google Kenya, the cost of data is among the factors that influence the frequency of online searches. Research shows that the youth demographic spends a significant proportion of their time on the web.
Consequently, the availability of data therefore determines how much longer they would be willing to scour the internet. According to a 2016 report by ICT Africa (a technology business consulting firm), Kenya has some of the most expensive data rates in Africa while neighbours Tanzania have the cheapest internet data rates on the continent.
One gigabyte of data retails at Sh89 in Tanzania while in Kenya, 1GB of data sells at a dizzying Sh500. This, however, does not affect what people search online, said Ooko. Local artistes and video enthusiasts need not panic though, at least not yet.
Google has designed a new version of YouTube called YouTube Go, a cost effective mobile app that gives priority to local content. This lighter version of YouTube allows users to download and watch videos on their handsets without an internet connection.
“The app has been developed specifically for emerging markets in Africa and Asia both which have internet connectivity challenges. This is part of our project to reach out new billion users (NBU) that are unconnected,” said Rosemary Momanyi, the co-marketing partner manager in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Users need not worry about storage because videos downloaded on the platform are saved on the app as opposed to the device memory. Additionally, the user can choose the quality of videos they wish to watch. The options include basic, standard and HD (higher definition), all which vary in data consumption rates.
The ability to share videos, also without incurring data charges, is perhaps the breakthrough of the application which can be downloaded in Beta format on Google Play Store. This app may just boost the performance of video content by local producers.