Hivisasa, a site which was majorly known for crowd sourcing content for their platform contrary to the norm in the media industry is now a shadow of its former self. Only two weeks after closing its citizen journalism wing and announcement that it would no longer published local contents, the site is slowly dwindling in terms of the number of views and readers visiting the site each day.
The site had risen to be one of the top platforms in Kenya with its audience covering about 2 million people per month spread across each county. After being in the market for six years and getting huge funding from agencies and organisations to support the idea, the firm said it had failed to establish a clear revenue stream that can assure their long-term existence further cementing the notion that Kenya’s advertising industry has been captured by a few advertising agencies who do not easily give a chance to new players in the media sector.
Same to Magazine Reel, Hivisasa directly published content from any writer/reporter from the village hence covering even the most ignored activities in various parts of the country. In their own stories, they’d reached a point of influencing decisions being made by counties and had helped several county governments and leaders better their services by ensuring that they delivered what was most needed by individuals in certain villages. Abit different from Magazine Reel which publishes contents touching on activities in local and international universities, colleges, TVET institutions, Special school and other education institions, boards and commissions, Hivisasa published news stories from any individual who could report and paid them incentives for each article.
According to their Director, the news channel has over the last six years, brought together thousands of talented news writers who have tirelessly reported on Kenya’s counties and national politics. Their work helped Hivisasa grow a steady audience of 2 million monthly readers, peaking at 6.1 million.
Hivisasa however stated that the problem with identifying revenue streams for media agencies is global and doesn’t only affect a few firms in the country.
As a result, they said that they had made the hard decision to close down their current model of local news production, in order to explore new ideas and opportunities. This meant that they had decided to close operations and focus on some other business that would be good enough to let them make profits.
Just like Hivisasa, there are so many sites struggling to make it in the market and being forced to close business leaving hundreds of thousands of their readers lost and not knowing what to do. Apart from Kenyans.co.ke and TUKO.co.ke which are seen to be in good relationship with ad agencies such as Scanad Group, the agencies have given a wide berth to equally valuable and good initiatives which are now painfully closing down.