President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed government institutions to shift from advertising using the traditional media to digital platforms.
This is likely to hurt the revenues of local news outlets.
The President said cutting reliance on newspapers and television stations for advertisements and other communication would significantly bring down the government’s spending on media.
He directed ministries and state-owned institutions to turn to digital platforms, which are cheaper and more effective, given their wide reach.
He spoke at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi during the inaugural Kenya ICT Innovation Forum. At the conference, the president also launched MyGov – an online portal where citizens can access news and information about government.
“We are spending hundreds of millions of shillings in advertising through the media. Let the ministries and other public bodies advertise through the digital platform we just launched and save that money for use in other things,” said Mr Kenyatta.
“Those targeting government jobs and contracts can get that information on the new portal,” he added.
INCOMES OF MEDIA HOUSES
The move, if fully effected, could significantly weigh down the incomes of local media houses, which rely heavily on government advertisements for revenues.
This would worsen the situation for the three leading media houses — Nation Media Group, Standard Group and Royal Media Services — which have incurred losses after the Communications Authority of Kenya switched off their television stations three weeks ago.
However, director of public communications and head of government advertising at the Ministry of Information Communication Technology Dennis Chebitwey said media houses should not expect significant impact on their revenues since the government would also spend on their existing online platforms.
The government is harmonising advertising with a view to exploit savings derived from methods of advertising.
Savings will also come from renegotiated rates and strategic approach in use of government online platforms,” said Mr Chebitwey. He said the government was not completely desisting from advertising in the traditional media but diversifying outlets to increase efficiency.
The new website, www.mygov.go.ke, is meant to be the repository of government news and other information, including tenders and advertisements.
The plan by the government to conduct its advertising campaigns electronically was approved by the Cabinet in June last year. It is hoped that it will reduce the state expenditure on advertising from Sh2.8 billion a year to about Sh1 billion.