The Standard newspaper, Kenya’s oldest publication is going through a rough patch, a decision that could have forced the Board to look outside in hiring both the Managing Editor for Daily and Editorial Director. Dennis Galava and Ochieng’ Rapuro occupy these positions respectively.
The Board side stepped Kipkoech Tanui and John Bundotich who now manages the weekend editions. The two are insiders have spent a longer time in the newsroom and considered close to the owners, the Moi family.
Newspapers make money in two main ways; sales and advertisements. In the old newspaper business, sales used to be king, which would give more freedom to editors and managers to decide whatever goes in the paper. But that’s history now, today, advertising is king, generating more than 80 per cent of revenues they make, generally in the country.
But all is not well in terms of numbers. Standard Daily Editions makes an average sale of 46, 000 copies a day. Of these, 26, 000 go to government institutions and a few corporate subscribers like hotels. Only 20, 000 copies are sold.
The weekend editions are worse. Since government is closed on weekends and too few government officers buy them, they sell less than 25, 000 copies.
Some pundits have argued that the Mombasa based publication could have swapped Galava and Rapuro’s positions, to enable Galava to have more liberty and control on the entire landscape. Already, his eye-popping headlines and generally lead stories are showing there is a new sheriff in town.
A few months ago, Standard Group invested close to sh400 million in Vybez Radio and Spice FM. It could be a realization by the owners that radio is still king in the media landscape. It just needs to be served more niched content. This brought their radio stations to three, where Radio Maisha is thriving.
The Group’s weekly, the Nairobian is not doing very well either. The sleazy-affairs laden weekly publications today sell 80, 000 copies a week from a high of 140, 000 three years ago. But it isn’t attracting as much advertising because brands do not necessarily want to associate themselves with such content.
It also bought Mt. Kenya Star two years ago.
Their TV outlets include recently launched Farmers TV together with KTN and KTN News.