The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has instructed television broadcasters in the country to increase local content in their shows to 60 per cent in four years’ time
Currently, only about 36 per cent of programming is local content, which according to the regulator’s new conditions, excludes news and advertising.
“Within one year of the award of a broadcasting license, operators must ensure local content is above 40 per cent but must attain the 60 per cent threshold in four years,” said Leo Boruett, CA director of multimedia services at a recent press briefing in Nairobi.
The authority believes the new regulations will drive growth in the local film industry and create employment in the country.
Over the years, foreign soap operas and films have dominated local programming- mainly due to their better quality and low cost.
Shows from South America, India, Nigeria and the US are common place on local stations and are popular with viewers.
“Local content will help promote our artists to boost their incomes. It will also create jobs for our college-leaving youth,” said Ben Gituku, CA chairman.
Also under the new regulations, advertisements will be allocated 14 minutes per hour.
During the 2015/16 budget announcement, treasury secretary Henry Rotich zero-rated film equipment imports aimed at driving production of local shows.
Film making equipment such as cameras, lenses, editing suites, lights, dollies and studio facilities would be sourced cheaply.
The country has more than 15 television stations but only about five dominate the viewership. Citizen TV, owned by Royal Media is the market leader, followed by the KTN, NTV, K24 and KBC respectively.
KTN is owned by the Standard Media Group whose flagship includes a daily newspaper and radio stations. NTV is owned by Nation Media Group which also has a leading daily newspaper, and stable of media interests in Uganda and Tanzania. K24 is associated with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family while KBC is state-owned.