Kenya profile - Media
- 2 December 2014
- From the section Africa
Kenya has a diverse media scene, supported by a sizable middle class that sustains a substantial advertising market.
A handful of major players dominates the industry. One of them, Nation Media Group, has extended its operations to neighbouring countries.
The state-run Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) is funded from advertising revenue and a government-provided budget.
Television is the main news source in cities and towns. The spread of viewing in rural areas has been slower, hampered by limited access to mains electricity. A switchover to digital TV is under way.
The main satellite pay-TV platforms are South Africa's MultiChoice and its Kenyan rival Wananchi Group, which operates Zuku TV.
Entertainment, music and phone-ins dominate the vibrant radio scene, which includes Islamic stations and those broadcasting in local languages. Radio remains the main medium in rural areas, where most Kenyans live.
Full-time FM relays of the BBC World Service are on the air in Nairobi (93.9), Mombasa (93.9) and Kisumu (88.1).
The highly-competitive press sector is the most sophisticated in the region. The print media are dominated by two publishing houses, the Nation and Standard.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Kenya at 90th (out of 180 countries) in its 2014 global Press Freedom Index. A controversial new system of media regulation introduced in 2013 has drawn protests from media organisations and human rights groups.
Internet use is high by regional standards, and submarine cables have boosted Kenya's global connectivity. The widespread use of mobiles enables millions to access the web. The platform is particularly important in rural areas. There were 21 million internet users by December 2013 (via Internetworldstats.com).
Many Kenyans have embraced social media. Facebook is said to be edging out email as a preferred mode of communication.
- Daily Nation - market-leading daily published by the Nation Media Group
- The Standard - privately-owned daily, Kenya's oldest newspaper
- The Star - privately-owned daily
- East African - weekly, published by the Nation Media Group
- Taifa Leo - Swahili daily published by the Nation Media Group (subscription website)
- Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) - state-owned
- Kenya Television Network (KTN) - private, operated by Standard Group
- NTV - private, operated by Nation Media Group
- Citizen TV - private
- K24 - private, news
- Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) - state-owned, networks in English, and Swahili and other indigenous languages
- Capital FM - private, music
- East FM - private, for Nairobi's Asian listeners
- Easy FM - private, owned by Nation Media Group
- Kiss FM - private, music
- Radio Citizen - private, also operates Kikuyu-language Inooro FM and Luo-language Radio Ramogi
- Milele FM - private, Swahili
- Kenya News Agency - state-owned, English-language