Thursday, May 25, 2006

2006 Nation AGM

The Nation Media Group held their 2006 AGM at their plant, located just after JKIA Airport in Mlolongo. The company had a very good 2005, during which its profits passed the 1 billion shilling threshold and its newspapers, television, radio and other divisions all showed impressive growth and significant market leadership.

Media censorship referendum
The Chairman Mr. H. Awori and the CEO Mr. W. Kiboro clearly stated that the company’s investment future was at risk if a draconian media bill drafted by the Ministry of Information is passed by Parliament. The bill would among other things;
- Limit media ownership e.g. nation newspapers would not be able to own more than 10&% of a radio or TV station. They currently own all 3 outlets.
- CCK board would loose its independence, and be packed by political appointees who will regulate the sector at the whim of the executive.
- A “content advisory committee” would determine what is acceptable to be broadcast, and also determine what can be screened, at specific times of the day.
- Rolls back media gains even further than during the dark autocratic days of previous government.

Future plans
- Will engage other bodies and the public to challenge the media bill.
- Company may soon increase the price of Daily Nation and Sunday Nation (first since 2001) to offset increased newsprint costs.
- To meet the demands for increased financial information by Kenyans, they will start a business daily paper
- New offices? MD Kiboro complained to his staff that there is too much noise on Kimathi Street (from nightclubs) and it's difficult to work after 7 PM.

Kengen take note: With 200,000+ shareholders, Kengen can limit their AGM crowd capacity by holding their meeting at Masinga or Turkwell dams, far from Nairobi - The Nation has about 8,000 shareholders and hired over 10 Akamba buses to ferry shareholders 15 km to their plant.

Goodies Pleasant lunch in an open tent preceded the AGM. All shareholders received small gym bags, nation polo shirt, and copes of nation, taifa leo, east African and weekly advertiser. Lunch was “wedding food” - pilau, chichken, beef, and soda.

Shareholders questions
- First two shareholders to speak were AGM veterans who did not perform well today - each spoke for longer than the Chairman had before applauding paper's coverage of Anglo leasing and other corruption.
- Asked for more dividend (which was the same as last year but puffed up by bonus share)
- Nation to mobilize the public against media bill
- Nation should consider offshore borrowing since the company is averse to borrowing locally and funds projects using internally generated cash (also to increase dividend payout)
- More complaints about BARS.


Shiroh said...

have you ever asked the Nation group why they pay their employees especially correspondents like civil servants?

bankelele said...

NO idea. I know a few people who have left there citing greener pastures elsewhere.

propaganda said...

I can answer that: I've worked at both the Nation and the Standard. The newspaper business has no real growth. Circulation figures for all papers have been stagnant or falling for decades thanks to other news sources (radio, TV) and national advertising spend must be shared with other media (more radio, TV stations, other papers).

The only way to 'grow' is to acquire titles in new markets (UG, TZ), develop new titles to sell to the same consumer (upcoming business daily) or to expand to other media (TV, radio). Profitability is primarily achieved by cost-cutting -- paying correspondents like civil servants.

gathinga said...

i disagree with propaganda on the issue of falling revenues. you see the NMG has been reporting rise in revenues in double digits for three years now. Whichever mechanism they have used to attain that growth in turnover, surely the people who contribute to it by way of working should be rewarded

propaganda said...

I said falling circulation, not falling revenues. NMG revenues grow because they have expanded into TV, radio, UG and TZ. They don't sell more papers today than they did five, ten years ago. They just produce them for less money. And you can bet they won't waste profits from other areas on newspaper writers.


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