Nation Media Group - The largest independent Media house in Central and Eastern Africa chooses Evolok as their supplier of choice to monetize their group publications.
Nation Media Group is a Kenyan media group listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. NMG was founded by His Highness The Aga Khan IV in 1959 and is the largest private media house in East and Central Africa with offices in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. Today, Nation is Kenya's largest daily newspaper, and the company also owns other newspapers, radio stations, and television stations across Central and East Africa.
With a large group of users, Nation was exploring new ways to innovate and gain value from existing and new content. With advertising revenues waning they wanted to find alternative sources of revenue to monetise content across their global brands.
They needed a technology partner with a solution that allowed flexibility in their approach as well as continued consultancy on their digital footprint so they could innovate and optimise their platform as required over time.
The issue in Kenya is with spending power. Many individuals survive on less than $1 each day. People earn a living by going to work and getting paid at the end of the day. It is also an issue of habit and culture. As a result, they must monitor their finances on a daily basis. For example, a user may pay for a daily subscription today, and if they don't make money tomorrow or have other pressing priorities, they won't pay for a second subscription. So, rather than paying for the entire month or year (term subscriptions), people simply pay for what they can afford at that moment.
In the current scheme of things, the bulk of the advertising money does not end up with the content creator and, therefore, the creator can’t continue creating unless an alternative source of revenue is found to sustain its operations.
Editorial Director of Nation Media Group (NMG)
The other issue is the difference in perception of payment card use and micro payments by the African nation. The use of credit and debit cards is "far lower" in Kenya because consumers are hesitant to give their card details online, it is significantly lower than the use of mobile money. 80% of the payments on the subscription platform are by mobile money, and the rest which is largely diaspora payments, on card.
Their main website Nation was driven by a purely advertising model, on the back of a huge digital base of eyeballs. It lacked a paywall and registration process to track consumer data.
In early 2020 NMG signed for the full Evolok suite (Identity Management, Commerce, Segmentation and Content Access).
NMG wanted to launch with a data wall to start tracking their users and increase acquisition. Then in 2021 a soft-metered wall was introduced so as to not impact their advertising revenue or affect a large proportion of their users. Dealing with a premature market where companies are not considering paywalls at all, the aim for NMG was to initially start with one publication to target a small segment of readers.
Multiple pricing models were A/B tested to optimise offerings and the related messaging issued via call to actions, This meant that through continued revision of the paywall strategy and testing, informed updates could be initiated.
Also to support international users, pricing in multiple currencies was offered.
Evolok has been very, very supportive in terms of helping us build a team, taking into account cultural disparities. The Evolok team were pivotal not only for the digital platform in Kenya, but integrating the other brands across the region.
Head of strategy at Nation
Nation Media Group made some revenues of about $200,000 in 12 months. Between November 2021 and January 2022, Okeyo said NMG grew its registered reader numbers from 130,000 to almost 500,000. Behind the numbers were 60,000 individual subscribers, with 21,000 per day on average paying to read content. Approximately 80% of subscribers buy the daily pass, which costs 10 Kenyan shillings (£0.07 or $0.09). They aim to surpass 1 million registered users before the end of the year.
The paywall had been taken up positively. It’s been good so far, considering the environment we’ve been through – the irreversible decline in print business, shifting audience demands to digital and the COVID times, so to speak. But I’d say people are willing to pay for content for as long as it’s making a difference in their lives. Be it human interest content, or education, or health, or medical, it doesn’t matter – as long as it’s making a difference in their lives good quality and trusted, they will be willing to pay for it.
Head of strategy at Nation