Citizen TV’s Kiswahili Managing Editor Swaleh Mdoe seen here at the station’s studio. Citizen is losing its audiences to its rivals.

GeoPoll has released a report on the rating of broadcast media in Kenya, which shows a shake-up in TV audience. The report analyses the ratings and audience of top TV and radio stations in Kenya for the first three months of 2017 using data collected through its ‘Media Measurement Service.’

It captures the average ratings for the top 10 television stations during the peak hours, between 19:00 and 21:30 PM.

Citizen has the highest ratings during peak hours at the national level, with more people watching the station during prime time at 8.30 PM, though Citizen is steadily losing its hold at the top as Kenya’s most popular TV station. KTN comes second in rating with a higher peak only between 7-7.30 PM,  according to the report by the market research firm.

At 9.30 PM, there is a tie between NTV and KTN while the rest of the times, 8-10 PM, NTV overtakes KTN. KTN News consistently takes the fourth position during the peak hours nationally.

On average, Citizen TV leads with the highest share of 33.7% of the audience nationally, followed by KTN at 11.1% then KTN News at 8.8% nationally. Nation Media Group’s NTV is fourth with an average of 8.5% in the share of viewers.

RELATED: Latest report shows Kenya’s most popular radio stations

Citizen TV’s share in viewership has dropped significantly from more than 44% as of December 2014 when it was regarded as “Kenya’s fastest growing television station.”

The drop is partly attributed to the digital migration, which was effected in February 2015, which led to emergence of smaller and more niched TV stations that are now eating into the market share of the dominant players.

citizen Citizen TV loses grip of television viewership
Source: GeoPoll

Also, Citizen TV’s main rivals – KTN and NTV – have been sprucing up their content and appear to have taken away some viewership. Citizen’s content that attracted more viewers – which include local programmes, West African movies, Mexican soaps, more news and talk shows – has plateaued in terms of retaining audience. More TV stations took up the cue and nearly duplicated its content, killing its unique positioning in the market.

Related: Top Citizen TV and radio presenters sacked in lay-off

Citizen has also lost some of its key presenters over the past year through restructuring and resignations, which could have also affected audience preferences. The biggest loss was the exit of prime time presenter Janet Mbugua in March, who resigned to pursue personal interests. Prominent presenters who was retrenched include Terryanne Chebet and a host of reporters such as Kendagor Obadia.

citizen Citizen TV loses grip of television viewership
Source: GeoPoll

Interestingly, KTN News, which is exactly two years old, has overtaken a number of established stations including NTV, K24, KBC, and appears to be chipping at Citizen’s market share. KTN News brings 24-hour news coverage and more detailed features and documentaries, a package that is bringing in more audience from other TV stations and, ironically, canibalising at its sister station, KTN Home.

According to Kenya’s Communication Authority, there were 66 local TV stations as of December 2016 but only a few dominate in terms of audience size.

Election coverage, which also attracts more interests from viewers, is likely to be a turning point for TV stations and is likely to make or break a good number of them.

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