Communication strategy for migration of Kenyans from the analogue to the digital broadcasting platforms

The Digital Television Committee (DTC) in July 2013 reconstituted the Consumer Awareness Sub-committee.  The Committee was tasked with the mandate of providing the DTC with the strategic advice on the required education and awareness activities on the digital migration process in Kenya.

 The mandate of the subcommittee was accentuated by the announcement of the Analogue Switch Off (ASO) dates in three phases namely:

 Nairobi:                     23rd December 2013

Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kisii, Nakuru, and Eldoret.:

30th March 2014

 Other regions:          30th June 2014

This document provides an overview of the communication strategy for the migration.  It highlights the selected strategic objectives and related proposed activities, as well as the key success factors that will influence the results of the migration process.

The tactical plans and implementation will be drawn from the strategy once adopted by the DTC.


With the impending ASO, it is necessary that the DTC focuses on the facilitation of the migration of Kenyans to the digital platform with minimal disruption of service provision on one hand and service reception by consumers on the other.   The Consumer Awareness Sub committee notes the importance of providing the right strategic direction within the constraint of time and resources.  The thrust of the Communication Strategy is therefore encapsulated in the Strategic Objectives supported by Strategic Activities that should be undertaken to achieve the desired result of successful switch over round the country.

 The Strategic objectives were identified on the basis of a scan of the prevalent environment, and envisaged situation with due consideration of the past experiences since the launch of the digital signal in 2009.  The Migration process is a mandatory global undertaking.  However, the government is also cognisant of the inherent benefits that will arise from the migration, including the digital dividends and the use of the dividends in deploying the much awaited versatile technologies.

The six strategic communication objectives identified are as follows:

1.      100% acquisition of Type-Approved Set boxes

Migration to the digital platform simply translates to the acquisition and appropriate use of the set top boxes by the consumer.  The consumer in this regard refers to any television viewer/owner , both current and potential .  It is the objective of the communication campaign to ensure that all the viewers can acquire a set top box at an affordable price.  It is therefore necessary that the set top boxes are readily available when required for purchase.  Considering the risk of product confusion in the market, the consumer must be directed to purchase the right set top box that has been type approved by the Communications Commission of Kenya.  The digital signal should also be available so as to facilitate the use of the set top box.  Lack of the signals would also jeopardise the acquisition of the set top boxes and ultimately the uptake of the migration in the country.

To achieve this objective, it will be necessary that the players along the value chain widely share knowledge about the product, and clearly inform the consumers on the choices of the products available and the right use of the set top boxes in order to ensure it functions properly once purchased.  After purchase it is expected that the service providers/vendors will give the after sales service and handle consumer concerns/complains appropriately to create confidence in the use of set top boxes.

2.     Awareness of the Analogue Switch off Dates

The Government has clearly articulated the Analogue Switch Off dates.  The campaign must be able to resonate the dates and emphasise on the need for the consumers to purchase the set top boxes before the switch over.  The communication strategy will take cognisance of the failed switch off attempts in the past and the negative perceptions developed towards the migration process.  It is intended that the campaign will stimulate the desired believability of the new dates and alleviate any further negative beliefs surrounding the migration process.

 3.     Enumeration of the Benefits /Value Proposition of the migration

With digital broadcasting taking the center stage, consumers in Kenya are now bound to enjoy improved reception quality, a variety of enhanced broadcasting applications multimedia data and entertainment services, additional programme channels all this capped with more efficient use of the spectrum in the country (digital dividend).  The benefits of digital broadcasting are encapsulated in the migration process and will be realized by the general public and service providers along the value chain.  Similarly, market players will also reap the benefits from the reduced transmission costs and superior technology in their operations.

The campaign will lay emphasis on the intrinsic benefits accruing from the migration in order to encourage the uptake.

4.     Motivation of the service providers along the value chain

All players have a critical role to play in the success of the migration.  The success of the process requires quality signal from the Signal distributors, content plurality from the content service providers, enthusiasm on the part of the vendors to ensure availability of the set top boxes through wide distribution networks that enhance the access to the product.

While market forces of supply and demand play a large role, it is also found necessary for the government to explore further subsidy mechanisms including tax incentives, and financing of vendors in order to lower the retail prices of the set top boxes.

5.     Ensuring Buy-in from all stakeholders

The migration journey involves many stakeholders, who have the potential to influence the process either positively or negatively.  The communication strategy aims to encourage the constructive dialogue and participation of all stakeholders towards the success of the migration.

The strategy takes in to account past litigations that have marred the process and the need to ensure understanding among all stakeholders, and create cooperation towards this national endeavour.

6.     Review of the feedback on the awareness and education activities

This communication strategy is viewed as a guiding framework , which can be adjusted to suit changing circumstances if need be.  This will be facilitated through continuous monitoring and evaluation of the communication activities and assessment to determine need for adjustments along the way. The mechanisms will be built in the media strategy in addition to routine Digital Kenya Secretariat review of the website queries, social media content, phone calls and other questions arising from interaction with consumers.


The communication exercise will focus on the creation and execution of communication material in addition to marketing collateral.  These will all be interspersed with use of strategic elements of Digital Kenya branding in order to ensure consistency of message delivery to consumers throughout the country.

 a)     Targeted Audience:  The primary target audience in the communication campaign will be the television viewers/owners.  However other auxiliary audiences will be pay TV viewers and potential television owners.

 b)    Key Communication Messages:  As indicated above, the communication campaign will address itself to key messages in a simple and easy-to-understand format.  The message will demonstrate the need for the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting by the stipulated dates and the key benefits from the switch.

c)     Media Platforms:  The messages will be relayed through the various media channels available.  The spread of the consumer in the country and the disparate socio-economic levels would call for a range of communication and promotion avenues as appropriate to ensure that they are all reached.   This will be a mix of both mass and personalized communication through relevant tools.

 The platforms will mainly be mass media and will include television, radio, out of home, print media, social media as well as experiential activities.  The strategy will also employ the use of Public Relations activities to reach out to target audiences and compliment the mass media effort.

d)    Television and Radio:  A television commercial will be developed to grant the animated visuals that show the main elements including the television set, set top box, the actual set up/functionality of the gadget.  The creative direction selected will resonate in the radio commercials and print media to deliver a seamless, consistent message across the board.

e)     Digital media:  The campaign will take advantage of the rising popularity of digital media use.  This includes online platforms, i.e. Digital Kenya website and social media pages (face book and twitter) for the dissemination of information. This will be complimented by SMS platforms for questions, appropriate responses and conversations around the topic of digital migration.  The digital channels, which also include blogging and opinion shapers, give advantage to the interactivity option with consumers and in the end to provide satisfaction and confidence in the digital migration.

This will require a back end technical support that will guarantee quality service delivery.  Of importance is the provision of responses on  real-time basis.  This presupposes a 24-hour set up like a call centre or toll free line with capacity to grant responses to any kind of query from consumers.

f)      Experiential Platforms: The Kenyan consumer behaviour patterns typically demand face to face interactions that have a touch of entertainment, humour, and human element.  The experiential platform will be used to create the multiplier effect of the campaign.  It will include:

–         Live demonstrations of the set up of the Set Top Box,

–         Actual Sales of the Set Top Boxes

–         Information Sharing

 Public Relations Activities:  These will be used to reach out to the various stakeholders and engage in conversations on digital migration and address concerns in targeted manner.  The stakeholders include:

– Relevant Government agencies – Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology, Ministry of Finance, Communications Commission of Kenya, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-counterfeit Agency

–         Set Top Box Importers/vendors/Dealers and Distributors

–         Signal Distributors

–         Media Owners and other content providers

–         Consumer Organisations

–         Media

–         Consumers /public

It is intended that PR activities will be carried out through media briefings, stakeholder forums, Media interviews, Events in selected formats.

The campaign strategy proposed formal announcements.  The opportunities will continuously be sort to sustain the mood and current.


a)     The Government should strive to create confidence in consumers and all in the value chain by gazetting the ASO Dates and continuously re-affirming the same at every publicity opportunity.

b)    The success of the strategy is highly dependent on the close collaboration among all the stakeholders and in particular for complimentary publicity activities from the media houses.  These will include donation of airtime on television and complimenting with own activations on television and radio to create the desired effect.

c)     Government and the Commission will have to ensure the proper enforcement mechanisms are carried out to ensure all players fulfill their mandate.  One of the key areas is enforcement of the ‘must-carry condition’.

d)    The issue of affordability and exploration of various subsidy /cost reduction avenues is critical.  Government must seek to undertake and inform the concerned parties of definite steps so as to alleviate fears. The question of the average reasonable cost of the set top box must equally be addressed with speed to create a reference price for the consumer.

e)     It would also be necessary that the Free-To Air component is well addressed because this constitutes the key message and subsequently key concerns of the consumer.  Consumers have expressed discontentment for paying to view the same content existing on analogue. This is a disincentive to migrate and must therefore be guarded against.

f)      Set Top Box vendors will also be instrumental in sharing information, live demonstrations and sales.  They therefore must have in built structures to handle consumer after sales concerns.

g)     DTC members will be required to avail themselves on each of the roadshow trips in order to answer any technical questions and respond to enquiries from members of the public.

h)    The members will be called on from time to time to participate in radio and television shows to provide information through identified programmes.  While the Principal Secretary, MOICT and Chair of the DTC is the designated spokesperson/authority on Digital Migration, it would be necessary to create the spread in line with his schedule.

i)      The strategy must also be approved and the creative developed and endorsed early enough to allow a lead time of at least three months or close to three months before the ASO. It should also be supported by the necessary financial resources.  It is envisaged that the communication strategy will be aligned to the phased approach of the ASO and will therefore be implemented by region to have a higher impact.


The Strategy and actual deliverables will be periodically monitored to provide constant feedback for the improvement of the strategy.  This will be inbuilt in the communication activities and reports will be provided on a monthly basis to assess the progress.