Monday, October 30, 2006

Kenya's Digital Newspapers: A Rip Off

This is a follow up to last week’s Kenyanomics post on Why Pay for Internet News. Excellent comments from KBW members like the girl next door and bankelele advised Kenyans abroad to subscribe to The Nation’s digital paper, a replica of the print edition. Taifa Leo and The East African Standard are also available in their digital forms.

Kenyans abroad can now read home newspapers page by page on their computers. But they will have to face unfriendly prices. The Daily Nation readers will have to pay US 75 cents or Kshs 53 for the paper. The Standard readers will pay a modest US 63 cents or KShs 44. Both newspapers sell at KShs 35 in Kenya.

The idea of selling Kenyans abroad digital newspapers is great, but poorly executed. According to a report by the Online Journalism Review magazine, most digital newspapers cost between 75 to 100 percent of their print editions. But that’s not the case with the tenants of I&M Towers and The Nation Centre. The Standard’s digital paper exceeds print edition by 125%, whereas The Nation’s digital paper is selling at 151% above its print edition.

The annual cost of reading The (Digital) Standard stands at USD $216 and USD $273.75 for The Nation. Just for comparison purposes, the annual cost of reading the New York Times digital newspaper is US$ 160 and that of the USA Today, America’s largest newspaper, is US$ 146.

Good luck to the two media houses business plans. But I don’t think Kenyans will be bought into “the great digital newspaper rip-off”. Ama niaje?

95 comments:

Josh said...

i feel you on that. i really do not know how they come up those ridiculous charges ... but i guess they will soon learn we are not as gullible as they may have thought

Kimani Njoroge said...

No worries, Josh. Kenyans are smart enough to outwit the media. Some guys in St Louis, Missouri, are talking of a joint subscription. They would then distribute the newspaper among themselves. That's a crude way to deal with the situation, but their needs will be met.

coldtusker said...

I think they have a market that will pay up BUT that is only until someone else comes up with a smarter solution!

As is one will get more news from bloggers than the newspapers!

Majonzi said...

ditto all above! Nation will lose a huge market, but its good news for some us of who are working on taking advantage of the situation. Watch out, for alternative Kenya news media! :)

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Kadipo said...

I support charging of online newspaper readers when they read news online. But i do not support the ridiculous charges by Nation and even standard. They should be minimal to enable kenyans within the country and abroad be up-to-date with the current affairs in their coutry.

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