By Whitney Akinyi

Contrary to the popular belief, young Kenyans famously called millennials and Generation Z (Gen Zs) rely on traditional TV as their main source of information rather than social media or radio stations.

This is according to a recently released study by the Aga Khan University Media Innovation Center (MiC), aiming to provide insights into the media consumption habits of urban Kenyans between the ages 18-35 and guide media organizations in developing engaging content and programming that addresses their needs.

According to the study dubbed “Media Consumption in an Evolving Digital World: Millennials and Digital Natives’ Consumption Habits and Implications For Legacy Media In East Africa” seven out of ten young Kenyans living in urban areas rely on traditional TV as their number one source for general information.

Speaking during the official launch of the report, the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Communications, and Digital Economy, Hon. Eliud Owalo, commended the Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications for their valuable research.

He emphasized the importance of understanding the media habits of these younger generations, as they will be the decision-makers of the future, urging legacy media to use this opportunity to plan their products accordingly.

MiC Interim Director, Ms Clare Mogere, highlighted the significance of the study in helping Kenyan media houses tailor their content to resonate with millennials and Gen Zs. She acknowledged that traditional media has faced stiff competition from digital platforms, resulting in declining revenues and audience fragmentation.

The study findings also show that that millennials and Gen Zs are motivated to pay for content that is affordable, interesting, relevant, and reliable. The primary reasons for consuming news were to stay informed about current issues, acquire knowledge, and achieve personal goals.

Additionally, a recent trend indicates that these younger demographics are willing to pay for content, with approximately half of the respondents reporting having paid for content in the past year. This trend aligns with media organizations in Kenya adopting various consumer payment models on their digital platforms.

Prof Nancy Booker, Interim Dean at AKU’s Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC), emphasized the importance of comprehensive research in understanding media trends and shaping the future of the industry.

Recognizing the disruptive impact of technology on traditional media, Prof Booker highlighted the need for a consolidated effort to leverage this disruption and foster the growth of the media industry.

“GSMC plays a pivotal role in advising media players, facilitating conversations, and building capacity through training and research, with the hope that the data from this study will be utilized by key stakeholders to shape the content generation for the sizable millennial and Gen Z consumer base,” she said.

The study collected data from 1,201 respondents through a combination of questionnaires, focus group discussions, and digital tracking between May and July 2022. The insights obtained provide valuable guidance for media organizations seeking to adapt their strategies to meet the evolving needs of the younger Kenyan demographic.