Study is a research about media responses towards the digital disruption ,a transformation process,in the West and Kenya

Home, - Comparison Of Media Companies Response To Digital Disruption In The West And Kenya.

Background Information
The term digital disruption is a constant buzz in virtually all industries, even the ones you would ordinarily not expect. A market driven by digital changes is quickly gaining momentum not only in Africa but throughout the world. Of these industries, none has experienced digital disruptions like the media companies. Both the entertainment and media industries have realized massive digital disruptions across print media, social media, Television, movies, and music (Karimi & Walter, 2015). While these disruptions are usually a welcome trend in light to the ever-changing dynamics of the media industries to conform with the emerging regulatory and consumer demands, media companies sometimes find it hard to adapt to such changes.

Closer home, from 2015, the Kenyan government made it mandatory for media houses to transform their operations from analog to digital during the much-hyped digital migration of June 2015. This process was meant to enrich the consumer viewing experience through improvements in programming quality and quantity. This digital disruption process has since drastically changed the media landscape regarding content development and advertisement although the major media companies initially opposed the idea. Initially, an impasse ensued between the government and these media houses which led to an impression that Kenya media houses were not in support of the digital migration process. However, this view is still debatable. All in all, thistrend has led to increased foreign investment, gradual rise in the number of the number of channels, and a surge in viewership numbers. In all these, focus shifts on how media companies in Kenya and the Western countries respond to digital disruptions. While it is believed that some of these companies embrace the changes for their betterment, there is abelief that certain media houses are not always so welcoming of these changes. This research, therefore, seeks to examine and compare how Kenyan media companies respond and if it is different or similar to how companies in the West do.

Problem Statement
On a broader perspective, digital disruption refers to a transformational process caused by the emergence of newer digital technologies or business models. These new innovative models and technologies then create an impact on the already existing services or products in the market (Gilbert, 2015). At a glance, most market player view disruption as a negative thing. However, this is not always the case as this term is used in this context to refer to the changes newer technologies causes in the market which leads to a re-evaluation of the services already in existence. In this new era, it is imperative that organizations gain a clear understanding of what exactly a digital disruption entails, as well as what it means for the survival of these organizations. Digital technology is constantly changing how organizations operate as evidenced over the past couple of decades (Stewart et al., 2015). Digitization provides a fundamental value to media companies since their ability to engage with the disruption with success can be the difference between sliding down a performance curve or thriving up the curve.

Digital disruptions create a ripple effect that media houses should be well preparedfor. Take the classic example of digital television that has completely disrupted the functionality of analog television in Kenya or the disruption that Netflix is currently creating in the media industry.However, these two scenarios represent the difference in the approaches to digital disruption. One of the examples is voluntary, where a media company decides on its own to embrace the changes, while the other waits for a government enforced directive before adapting to changing times. This study, therefore, seeks to make a comparison of media companies' response to a digital disruption in the West and Kenya.

Research Justification
The art of monitoring for and identifying digital disruption is not part of standard business practice for Kenyan media houses. As a result, media houses may be caught unawares or are at times slow to initiate responsive measures to a disruption. All that is done is wait until the disruption directs impacts their current state of the business. Perhaps the problem arises becausedigital disruptions are virtual these days, unlike in the past when it was technology triggered. It, therefore, takes a media company an array of appropriate techniques, tools, strategies to assessa potential digital disruption then overcome the challenges that come with it.

Putting the focus on digital transformations enables media houses to adopt a customer-centric business strategy as their core. This transformation gives them an edge regarding exemplary customer experience over competitors who don't. Digital disruptions are aimed at simplifying the listening and viewing experience of their customers. This customer-perspective is a business model that most media companies thrive on through a newer inside out business approach (Templeton et al., 2018).

Understanding the differences in approaches to digital disruption is therefore essential in knowing why media companies in developed countries are well-equipped while Kenyan companies are always ill-equipped for such eventualities. In the process, it can thenbe determinedthe best ways through which media players in less developed countries can better respond to disruptions.

Research Objectives
1. To identify digital disruption strategies employed by media companies in developed countries especially the West

2. To perform an analysis of the Kenyan media companiesresponse mechanisms to the digital disruption phenomena.

3. To compare and contrast the two strategies to gain a clearer understanding of the Kenyan and the West situation to highlight what could be done better.

Scope of the Research
The research focuses on the media companies in Kenya and developed countries, especially the West. Of particular interest will be media companies in the United States of America. The research will examine how these companies react to changes resulting from digital disruption, then make a comparison between the two. Media companies in Kenya such as the Standard Group, Royal media services, MediaMax Network Limited, Nation Media Group among a host of other companies will be adversely mentioned and scrutinized.

Significance of the Study
This study aims at creating a better understanding of the how various media companies respond to digital disruptions by askingseveral questions: Does digital disruption interfere with consumers right to information? What role does disruption play in the betterment of customer experience? What do the two groups of media companies do differently? Is there any hope for the future advancements? How well are media companies prepared for any future disruption? By providing the answers to these questions and achieving the set-out objectives, this research would have laid bare the essence of tracking and managing a digital disruption by media companies. It is a phenomenon that is common and may ultimately lead to the windfall of a company of appropriate measures are not put in place to respond to it. A technological change is always inevitable in as much as it is hard to predict due to how virtual it happens. Digital disruptors get into the consumer market at will, meaning even the most established media companies cannot keep track of it. The best way, therefore, understands the dynamics of digital disruption, and the response strategies you need in place to avert the same from derailing your company or preventing the disruption wave from sinking your ship.

Digital Disruption: What Does It Entail?
According to Kenney et al. (2015), in recent times, there is a major stir to normalcy in the digital world. Waves of newer technologies, new business models, and a necessity for business transformation are being realized in almost every sector of the world economies. This phenomenon is what is referred to as digital disruption. From media companies, entertainment industries, healthcare, education, manufacturing or professional services no sector is immune to digital disruption. When used in any context, disruption refers to the continuous innovation of better services and products which in turn leads to the re-evaluation of the status quo that had been in existence in the current market (Kenney et al., 2015).

A morebusiness specific definition would regarding tidal changes in the needs of customers and the subsequent creation of opportunities through dynamic business models (Gilbert, 2015). The resulting tide necessitates that businesses be prepared to ride it by fulfilling the emerging user needs, providing next-generation solutions while keeping their already existing customers satisfied and happy(Johansen et al., 2017).

Digital Disruption in the Media Industry
The media industry is by far the anticipator of digital disruption followed by telecom and traditional-based industrial business the one where the least amount of disruption is expected (Karimi & Walter, 2015). In comparison to other business models, media is, in fact, one of the most if not the most far-reaching businesses. It impacts millions of people around the globe as more people demand news and its supporting contents availed in different formats such as debates, videos, live coverage,etc.Audiences prefer smart enriched contents availed on the go channels. That is not all as Templeton et al. (2015) assert, authenticity or completeness of any such news or entertainment has to be top notch to maintain a lead in the media industry. Media houses that plan on surviving the digital disruption phase have to prepare accordingly to meet these ever-changing demands.

To illustrate why media industries have to be well prepared and responsive to digital disruptions, the case of Kodak comes into play. In the 20th century, Kodak was a monopoly in the camera mainstream market. Unfortunately for them, the company failed to heed to the changing dynamics among consumers alongside ever-changing needs as well as expectations. As time went by, needs to be changed from just a photography gadget into an indispensable, user-friendly, fun gadget. Camera culture soon spread to males unlike the past when Kodak had specifically targeted the female market share. Kodak stuck to their guns, fought the digital disruption that came along and eventually lost its market share.Other brands such as Canon and Sony swooped in with products that appealed more to photography lovers. Sadly for Kodak, it lost the battle by failing to respond adequately to digital disruptions,and in 2012, the company was declared bankrupt (Prenattet al., 2015).

In the history of the Kenyan media companies, the most noticeable, much-publicised event is the digital migration directive of early 2015. This process was started over the last decade, starting in 2006 and the June date was a deadline when all analog transmissions would have to shift to digital transmissions. Through this process, the government aimed to enable more people to access information through the use of mobile technology. This benefit would be realized by using a lower frequency Digital Dividend spectrum of between 700 and 800 MHz. This frequency broadband is ideal for those with mobile broadband which operate at lower frequencies, hence covering wider areas while utilizing a reduced number of base stations. People in rural areas where connectivity was anatural problem would have better, affordable coverages as well as indoor coverage for those leaving in urban areas since the wavelengths penetrate buildings with ease.

The Kenyan digital migration meant a Kenyans had to shift to pay-to-watch coverage from the previously used free-to-air (FTA) television. Consumers were given a choice of either purchasing DVB-T2, MPEG4 FTA, Integrated Digital Televisions (IDTVs) or subscribe to pay TV networks. To operate within the specified frequencies, media houses had to be licensed by the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK). As a digital disruption, the migration from an analog platform to digital disrupted the already existing status quo (Ndonyeet al., 2015). Major media companies in Kenya were caught unprepared by the new disruption as Nation Television owned by Nation media group, Kenya Television Network owned by the Standard Media group and Citizen Television and its subsidiaries owned by Royal Media Services remained offline for some days as what viewers felt was a resistance to the move ensued. As this went on, a newer trend developed. Media companies radicalized their online presence through the use of social media and Youtube where viewers could stream live television instead of relying just on television sets alone. Coupled with relatively low data prices Kenyans could still keep in touch with trending issues. The Migration created an avenue where viewers had more power to opt for better content. Social media broadcasting grew in popularity and even after complying with the government directive, almost all media companies nowadays have a robust social media presence to tap on the more tech-savvy viewers market (Ochieng, 2015).

After the endless court battles, media companies eventually complied with the directives and hadsince been enjoying the benefits of migrating to the digital signal transmission platform. Viewers enjoy the improved picture and sound quality, reduced interferences, and increased contents from which to choose from. For broadcasters, a digital signal allows for the transfer of increased volumes of data as each signal is splittable into twenty more. A single media broadcaster can then be able to run more channel varieties than before. Take the example of KTN which own both the KTN Home channel and the KTN News one. Researchers such as Wanjau (2016) have shown that advertising has also received a major boost, both for the media companies and content creators. An increased consumer reach means increased advertising streams which translate to increased revenues.

Digital Disruption Situation in the United States
Stocker et al.(2016) showed that the scenario in the United States is a little different from the Kenyan probably due to their advancement regarding technology. Digitization of media companies started in the 1950s, bouncing significantly in the 1990s largely due to the invention of the Web. These media houses have continued to thrive under the influence of the digitization revolution while keeping technology at the heart of their operations. In a way, this has helped media companies create more compelling content, reaching a newer audience each time. The single moto is that "content is king," as Bill Gates rightly puts it in his book (Stocker et al., 2016).

The biggest evidence to a response to a digital disruption has been the evolution of multi-platform content creation. It's a strategy that shifts from single delivery platforms like linear television to a wider range of distribution channels such as mobile, interactive games, and online streaming. This digitization is a response to a change in consumer expectations as well as behavior. The younger generation of consumers which is becoming a majority demands instant access to reputable content at any given time, wherever they may be. Disney owned ABC Networks, Time Waner's CNN, NewsCorp's FOX, and GE owned NBC are some of the leading media companies, alongside Google jostling for the millions of viewers in the United States and around the world(Stocker et al., 2016).

Another aspect of digital disruption has been the advent of streaming video media that is now threatening the dominance of traditional TV and subscription-basedcable TV. Through digitization, transmission of the large quantities of data involved in addition to the network capacity and bandwidth requirements are no longer an impediment to online television. Providers of over the top digital content such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu among a host of other providers are rapidly gaining ground on the traditional satellite and cable television companies. However, this trend seems not to hold true for longer though. Based on a 2016 report, newer digital disruption is reverting online media companies to television (Billings et al., 2018). The dominant online media powerhouses are trying out their hands on Television. Examples include the decision by NBC Universal to pump close to $200 million worth of investment into BuzzFeed, helping its venture into the movies and television business. Another company, Vice, launched its international cable TV called Viceland. All these come after a realization that most of the advertisers remain comfortable with broadcasting on television since television began to pack more advertisements into every hour of broadcast.

This change in trend does not mean online streaming is ending anytime soon. In fact, it is increasingly becoming more like television through the invention of live video. This digital disruption is quickly gaining popularity after the launches of Periscope that is currently owned by Twitter, and, the most recent launch of Facebook Live Video. This trend appeases the millennial who are not always keen on being tied to cable subscriptions but are always willing to pay for the over the top services such as Netflix which heavily relies on internet streaming.

Research Design
As a qualitative research, this study will use an explorative method of generating results. This method will, in turn, rely on a case study of the response methods applied by both Kenyan and the Western countries media companies in dealing with the emerging issues of digital disruption. It is a research design that has been applied to several studies of this nature including one by Muganda (2007), resulting in reputable findings. In his definition, Kothari (2004) indicates that a qualitative research through a case study is a powerful technique of understanding the dynamics of modern day society as a whole, a social unit, an institution, a culture, a family or the entirety of a community.

Research Population
The information for this research will be derived from peer-reviewed articles on the concept of digital disruption and potential response mechanisms towards the same. This would essentially be for the western media companies. In the case of Kenyan media houses, respondents would include the leading media houses from Standard Media Group, Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services, Radio Africa Group, and MediaMax Network Limited. These companies seemed to be the ones that were at the center of the digital migration tussles of 2015 meaning that their experience would be valuable to the findings of this research.

Sampling Design
Since they're not a lot of media companies in Kenya, the leading media houses included in the literature review will be used as a representative of all the other companies. Apart from National Broadcaster KBC, probably most of the other smaller multi-lingual media houses are owned by the major companies.

Explicit use of interviews with managers and communications experts would be most appropriate for this research purpose. For accuracy, interview guides will be utilized.

Plan of Analysis
For this research, content analysis will be the main method of analysis. The gathered information including published data, recorded information, and written data will be subjected to an objective and systematic analysis of their appropriateness for this research. For the interviews with top management personnel from the leading media houses, interview guides will be edited when processing the responses to ensure consistency of the provided information as well as maintaining completeness.

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