Daily Nation’s “e paper”

I’m sure that by now you have seen or heard about The Nation‘s “e paper” initiative. Well, in case you haven’t, it is a new-ish project by the Daily Nation where they sell access to their paper for as low as $2.5 a week (about 220 why did they not quote in Kshs??).

Think about that – Kshs 220 a week. Right now we pay Kshs 40 a day so this fee of 220 for the epaper is about the same. Why would the Nation do this when they already essentially publish eveything in their paper at nation.co.ke? In my opinion, this is an experiment to try and see whether they can actually make reasonable sales of their content online. To understand why this is important, let’s step back in time to something Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape, said a while ago:

If you were running the New York Times, what would you do?
“Shut off the print edition right now. You’ve got to play offense. You’ve got to do what Intel did in ’85 when it was getting killed by the Japanese in memory chips, which was its dominant business. And it famously killed the business—shut it off and focused on its much smaller business, microprocessors, because that was going to be the market of the future. And the minute Intel got out of playing defense and into playing offense, its future was secure. The newspaper companies have to do exactly the same thing.

The financial markets have discounted forward to the terminal conclusion for newspapers, which is basically bankruptcy. So at this point, if you’re one of these major newspapers and you shut off the printing press, your stock price would probably go up, despite the fact that you would lose 90 percent of your revenue. Then you play offense. And guess what? You’re an internet company.” – Marc Andreessen

As Marc Andreessen points out, newspapers are in trouble. The problem is not merely that they’ve been slow to adapt to the web. It’s more serious than that: their problems are due to deep structural flaws that are exposed now that they have competitors. When the only sources of news were the wire services and a few big papers, it was enough to keep writing stories about how the president met with someone and they each said conventional things written in advance by their staffs. Readers were never that interested, but they were willing to consider this news when there were no alternatives. (Source: Y Combinator)

I must say that the newspaper business in Kenya is not as threatened as it is elsewhere but the Nation seem to be preparing for the inevitable in advance. This is always good to see, right?

Will the e paper be a success? That remains to be seen. Good luck to the Nation!

Additional Resources


  1. I suspect it is for the many diaspora Kenyans. They would love to have the full paper including local ads, etc. It would make them feel at home plus allow them to participate in local ads.

    • This makes sense. I was about to say that there is probably not a big enough market but I admit that it may actually be the whole reason for the new ‘e paper’.

  2. The only way it would work is if they made it possible for us to buy specific papers that we missed. Like for some strange reason unknown to me, I failed to buy last week’s Saturday newspaper which I would like to have. They could make a lot of money especially when the KCPE or KCSE results are announced.

  3. I also like the idea of buying newspapers that i missed out on, that could definitely generate revenue. Does it mean that if your local advertisement is in the hard copy newspaper that you also get it in the online copy for free or would that now be sold as different advertising space? Either way, they are way ahead of the other newspapers

Speak your mind