Newspapers are dead? Long live newspapers in Africa.
“Print is dead!”
Pick up an international media journal and its is highly likely that you will read this headline. But a newspaper publisher from Kenya is putting paid to this theory by targeting young Africans with a relevant mix of human interest and sporting coverage and by cutting back on political stories.
Trouncing the myth that 20-something year olds don’t read newspapers, Paul Marshall the chief executive officer of Xtra Publishing has grown X News into a Kenyan print publishing success story. X News is a daily newspaper that aims to be relevant to readers in their twenties and beyond, and some 30,000 free copies are distributed each day in Nairobi.
How We Made It In Africa – a continental news service that highlights good business news stories – reports: “Earlier this month private equity firm Fusion Capital invested Ksh. 125m (US$1.4m) in Xtra Publishing in exchange for a 40% stake, valuing the media company at about Ksh. 313m ($3.6m).
“Nairobi is a big city and we felt there was room for more newspapers. If you look at the newspaper business here generally, it is quite profitable but not very vibrant. The circulation has been declining in relative terms. If you consider the growth of Nairobi and its economy over the last ten years, and the actual readership vis-à-vis population, there has been massive decline,” says Marshall, an investment banker.
Marshal co-founded the company with two other investors six years ago but it is only until this year that they started publishing X News. The three partners initially pumped close to $1m into the business.”
How We Made It In Africa also reports that “once the model has been proven in Nairobi, Xtra Publishing hopes to grow its print and digital platforms to other leading cities in countries such as Uganda, Tanzania,Ghana and Nigeria.”
Hats off to Marshal for making X News ‘happen in Africa’! Read the full story here.