KBC Woos 4 Ex-NTV, K24 News Anchors in Rebranding Plan

  • KBC main office entrance located along Harry Thuku Road, off University Way in the Nairobi city centre.
    KBC main office entrance located along Harry Thuku Road, off University Way in the Nairobi city centre.
    File
  • Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) is in talks with a number of big-name journalists to join the national broadcaster in preparation for a re-brand.

    Kenyans.co.ke, in conversation with a number of people close to the matter, including the Corporation's CEO Naim Bilal, established that a committee has already been put in place to guide the broadcaster on strategy to grow its market share in the digital age.

    The broadcaster is reportedly in talks with former K24 TV anchors Ahmed Bhalo, Mwanaisha Chidzuga and Nancy Onyancha as well as Harith Salim who worked at NTV.

    A highly-placed source familiar with the re-brand plan confirmed to this writer that if the four are hired, they will be the new Swahili prime time anchors, each anchoring the news at least twice a week. 

    Former K24 TV Ahmed Bhalo in his office at Richland Properties in Nairobi on Monday, July 6, 2020.
    Former K24 TV Ahmed Bhalo in his office at Richland Properties in Nairobi on Monday, July 6, 2020.
    Kenyans.co.ke / Derrick Okubasu

    The source further confirmed that some of the anchors had already agreed to the terms.

    "They want to revamp the station. In terms of content and look. The contract requires them to work 2 days a week as Swahili anchors," stated the source.

    Going Digital

    KBC has been slowly transitioning to digital with the hiring of a fully-fledged team that has seen consistent publishing on its website and well-updated social media pages as well as live-streaming. 

    Naim, in a phone interview, disclosed that the committee set up to come up with new strategies for the broadcaster to explore, which is headed by Chris Mutungi. The committee is yet to conclude its deliberations. 

    "There is a committee around here that has been driving a much broader strategy for the corporation and it is yet to present its report to me in terms of the strategic direction that we are taking on matters content," he stated.

    former K24 TV journalists Joab Mwaura and Nancy Onyancha
    Former K24 TV journalists Joab Mwaura and Nancy Onyancha

    Mutungi, on the other hand, told Kenyans.co.ke that the committee was in the process of developing strategies to drive the corporation into the future.

    He further confirmed that discussions to acquire fresh screen talent were ongoing clarifying that the re-brand was aimed to boost the productivity of the corporation in all fronts, not just in broadcasting. 

    "It is actually not a new direction. What we are doing is a normal re-branding exercise which is part of the corporation's efforts to improve service delivery to our clients. It is a cross-cutting exercise not specifically to Channel One but a broader strategy for the corporation to grow in the market.

    "There is no definite decision so far, we are just working on this. We have not set a date. It is work in progress.
    These are discussions that are still taking place," explained Mutungi.

    Former K24 TV News Anchor Mwanaisha Chidzuga at the station's studios along Kijabe Street, Nairobi.
    Former K24 TV News Anchor Mwanaisha Chidzuga at the station's studios along Kijabe Street, Nairobi.
    Twitter

    Market Shift

    The broadcaster is following in the footprints of other leading media houses including the Nation Media Group and The Standard Group that have been repositioning themselves for the digital age.

    In August 2019, K24 TV changed its logo as well as studio set up in what its CEO, Ken Ngaruiya, termed as "a strategic response to the market needs in a disruptive digital era."

    "Our goal is to deliver content in real-time, shift from traditional programming style and push more videos,” added the CEO.

    Nation Media Group, on the other hand, is in the process of revamping its digital front as well as NTV line-up in response to the changes in the digital era.

    A reliable source informed Kenyans.co.ke that as part of the changes, Nation correspondents would no longer pocket the Ksh20,000 monthly retainer unless their earnings for the month matched that figure. This is a move by the company to further tighten its purse as revenues from advertising continue to dwindle across the insutry. 

    This is, however, not the first time the station is looking to re-brand having changed its name from Voice of Kenya (VOK) to Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) after the enactment of the KBC Act in 1989.

    The move was aimed to have the broadcaster commercialise itself but financial troubles have followed it all through with former top managers accused of embezzling funds.

    KBC CEO Naim Bilal addressing the press in his office.
    KBC CEO Naim Bilal addressing the press in his office.
    Capital Group