By Oduor Jacktone
Multichoice Kenya walked away with five coveted awards at the fourth edition of the Kuza Awards held recently by the Communication Authority(CA).
The 2021 edition brought together dozens of broadcasters from the country’s news and entertainment industry in a gala afternoon that celebrated the best in technological innovation during a difficult operating period.
Multichoice Kenya’s mass market video entertainment brand, GOtv clinched two critical compliance awards, the Compliance Award for Subscription Broadcasting Service Provider and also emerged overall winner in the compliance award for Broadcast Signal Distributor.
The Compliance Award recognised service providers that operated within licensing requirements, complied with routine regulatory inspections and programming code.
The award also recognised broadcasters with the most effective complaints handling procedures as well as those who managed to achieve a local content quota of 40%.
A recent social-economic study by consultancy firm Accenture revealed MultiChoice Kenya has contributed over Sh57.3billion in socio-economic value to the country’s economy since 2015 and 2019.
This included over Sh13.8 billion in infrastructure investment in local programming infrastructure as well local content development. Multichoice invested another Sh3.3billion in local content production, acquisition and commission within the same period, with another Sh120million spent on the local football league via Supersport.
Multichoice Kenya was also crowned the overall winner of the Subscription Broadcasting Services Award under the local content category, beating Startimes and Viusasa in the coveted category. This win is particularly critical coming at such a time when we are celebrating Kenya’s stars and top Kenyan shows brought to life by Maisha Magic East as well as Maisha Magic Plus,” said MultiChoice Kenya Managing Director, Nancy Matimu.
This year’s awards came on the back of the COVID 19 pandemic that disrupted most businesses forcing many to innovate and adapt to maintain operations and market shares.
“This event is taking place amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has not only had serious impact on the sector but also brought to the fore the fundamental role of ICTs,” said CA Acting Director-General Mercy Wanjau while unveiling the winners.
“Research has established that 95 per cent of the Kenyan population has a high awareness about the pandemic largely through information disseminated through radio and TV,” she said.
Multichoice further dominated the People’s Choice Category beating Startimes and Citizen TV’s Viusasa. Multichoice Kenya’s GOtv also won the inaugural overall People’s Choice Award for Favourite Pay TV service with DStv emerging first runners up.
The people’s choice awards is a new category that was introduced to give audiences a voice in the awards by voting for their favourite broadcasters.
While speaking on behalf of Kenya’s ICT Minister, ICT Permanent Secretary Esther Koimett said the crisis had also highlighted the need for innovation among service providers to remain relevant as a vehicle for information and entertainment.
“I urge broadcasters to embrace innovation in order to remain competitive and relevant in today’s dynamic broadcasting environment,” she said.
Mrs. Wanjau also indicated that starting July this year, the Authority will only issue compliance certificate to broadcasters who meet all the licence conditions and other regulatory requirements.
‘‘One of the key elements that we shall be evaluating for eligibility for annual compliance certificate is compliance with copyright obligations in accordance with their license conditions,’’ She said.
She challenged the media to utilize their platform to shape positive perceptions in how the Kenyan narrative is portrayed and to leverage on the combined synergies of the industry and audiences towards the growth of a vibrant competitive and resilient broadcasting industry in Kenya.
This year’s KUZA Awards were themed “Preserving our Cultural Heritage through Broadcasting: Kenya a Heritage of Splendour.”