Standard Group PLC is banking on technology and strategic partnerships to create alternative revenue streams to steer the firm through the economic uncertainty arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the company’s 102nd Annual General Meeting held yesterday, Standard Group top leadership said the coronavirus pandemic had made it necessary for media companies to re-evaluate traditional revenue streams like advertising.
“As a company, we are affected by this pandemic and with the likely continuation of the crisis going forward, we expect that our performance will be adversely affected,” said Standard Group Board of Directors chairman Robin Sewell.
“We have implemented business continuity plans and ran models to ensure we can continue our business operations as normally as possible despite these difficult circumstances.”
The company reported double-digit growth in all its broadcast divisions in 2019 with Radio Maisha, KTN News and KTN Home recording 22 per cent, 11 per cent and 18 per cent in audience growth respectively year-on-year.
The introduction of movement restrictions between counties and dusk-to-dawn curfews have disrupted economic activities for most businesses, with media companies reporting falling advertising.
Standard Group CEO Orlado Lyomu said the company’s strategy to steer through the current challenges is to re-invent the organisation into a digital first company.
“Diversification of commercial operations, quick innovations, re-purposing of editorial content and partnerships with a cross-section of stakeholders seeking to deliver impactful solutions are some of the initiatives undertaken so far,” said Mr Lyomu speaking to shareholders via a video link.
Yesterday’s AGM was held virtually with the board of directors, management and shareholders linking through a secure virtual link. Lyomu said the company has unveiled an array of new media products designed to resonate with customer needs and remain responsive to the changing media landscape.
During the financial year, the company unveiled two new radio stations - Vybez Radio and Spice FM and two new TV stations - farmers TV and Burudani TV. Spice FM and Vybez Radio are gaining traction among audiences with steady month-on-month growth and both are on track to break even ahead of the industry average of three years.
“While these new products are still at their infancy, some have already shown great promise and have gained traction within the market,” Lyomu said. “We expect this performance to be sustained and grow revenue in the financial year 2020.”
At the same time, the company has revamped its long-running classifieds product into Digger Classified, a digital platform that now gives consumers an e-commerce offering.
The company is also banking on several partnerships with both the government and private sector in education, sports, health and agricultural initiatives to bolster its position in the market. Due to the challenging business environment, the company did not declare any dividend for the year ended December 2019.