Massive dip attributed to declined revenues from advertising due to the pandemic.
Revenue shrunk from Sh. 9 billion in 2019 to Sh. 6.8 billion. Net assets fell in value from Sh. 12.1 billion at the end of 2019 to Sh. 11.82 billion at the end of 2020.
The media house has been digitizing its products and has already launched paywalls to boost revenues. Its flagship paywall currently has a reported 50,000 paid subscribers.
NMG has been on the decline for many years now. Profits have been tanking since 2013, which was their peak.
Part of the reason is the digital disruption brought about by the internet and its impact on the consumption of traditional print, radio and TV media. This has affected all traditional media houses across the world.
Secondly, NMG’s BOD is notoriously composed of myopic old wazees who are resistant to change. Board chairman Kiboro famously quipped that his grandson has no time for the paper and traditional news consumption. Shortly thereafter, he commissioned a sh2bn expansion of the Msa Rd printing press. You might also remember NMG pioneering products like N-Soko (before OLX) and Nation Hela (before e-commerce really took off). But the products never got wings because they were not given the full backing to grow and the right teams. Look at KTalk. Instead of outrightly fighting Mandazi Moto, they should have realized that yenyewe, there’s demand for ePapers but not at that current pricing. They should have approached the same market with same content but at very affordable, if not rock bottom prices. Right now every Kenyan who read gazetis would have been rocking their ePaper app (kaching!!!) but in that period, Kenyans found a myriad of other ways of getting their news.
Another tragedy for NMG is that they have never gotten it right with Radio. Nation FM, Easy FM, QFM etc have NEVER made any return for NMG in 20 plus years and at some point NMG were even contemplating closing Nation FM altogether. However, radio is KING in Kenya as evidenced by RMS, Radio Africa etc.
Finally, NMG has been having struggles with the State in recent years and any business in such a position here in Kenya is doomed. It started with them fighting the Digital Migration in Feb 2015. NMG, with all their might, did not even bother to make a decent application to be the Digital Licence Distributor coz they were fighting the change rather than embrace inevitability which had finally come. NMG is also a direct competitor to Mediamax, owned by the President’s family, who print a free newspaper that directly hits NMG’s DN, it’s main cash cow. Govt also decided to print its own paper (MyGov) and not commit to clear hundreds of millions of NMG advertising debt accrued over years.