BUSINESS FOCUS: The Impact of the Emerging New Media and need for Africa’s Media to Leverage

The New Media have quickly taken over the global markets as the preferred platform of communication. Africa remains not fully exploited, and thus provides lots of opportunities for media companies. With continuous development of technology, Africa’s media space provides a unique challenge and opportunity for businesses in the industry to take up. The traditional industry, which has long served Africa’s economy is facing many challenges, in the face of the changing global communications.

New emerging media platforms have reduced revenues of the traditional media, and thus technology needs to be embraced and efficiencies taken into consideration. These were sentiments expressed by Mohamed Nanabhay, the Deputy CEO OF Media Development Investment Fund at the concluded 2018 Bloomberg Africa Business Media Innovators forum, and shared by Mapi Mhlangu, the MD of ENCA of South Africa. The 3 day event, held in Livingstone Zambia, ended on Tuesday.


Modern global trends in all sectors demand a shift in approach and use of resources available so as to remain reliable, authoritative and authentic. The changing media landscape thus demand that Africa’s media adopt new technologies and competencies to be in sync with the global standards. Old strategies will not work anymore, and the current situation demands adjustment to new strategies which are in line with modern trends, in terms of customer expectations, advertisers, media content, and return to investment. Limited resources, especially for independently owned and run media houses make it increasingly difficult to adopt new technologies and strategies. They are in turn affected by decreased revenue, relevance and end up in wounding up business or being acquired by other financially sound media corporates. While stressing on the issue for the need of change and embracing of technology, the CEO of Brodkast Group, Mr. Andile Khumalo reiterated that the media companies which invest in modern technology are assured of survival on the market in the long-term. He gave a good illustration of the radio and social media. Social Media, which is the best form of innovation in the modern market works tremendously well when paired well with radio, to reach out to target audiences. Word of mouth resonates well with people and as a marketing strategy through which companies tell their brand stories, and millions share news and stories as they unfold. Thus, social media, if well used can serve as a cost effective marketing platform especially with radio.

Looking at social media as a communication platform, its power and impact canot be denied. Many people and businesses are slowly find its true power, in building their brands and telling their stories. New media chnnels such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber, WeChat, Instagram and Twitter were until recently misused, overlooked and underutilized in Africa. Some of the media platforms, such as WhatsApp and Twitter  have been become primary sources of news and entertainment for newsgroups. Increasingly, having outlets that share news has become important, and media companies in Africa are realizing this fact, especially when it comes to the news hungry, dynamic young audiences. Smart mobile phones are having a higher penetration level in Africa, and channels such as You Tube have become a great source of news, entertainment and sharing. TV is not reaching everyone but this new gadgets penetrate even the remotest of villages. Understanding the trends and being able to invest in new technologies will help media companies catch up with the new transformations, and have an impact. The power of media and communication is being decentralized from those who initially controlled it, and as such the media companies in Africa need to find a way to tap into lives of people and collaborate through social media, as they leverage on their other competencies.

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