Radio Africa Group Should Not Buy Ghafla Just Yet
I got hold of the whole strategy of the Radio Africa group for 2014. The strategy detailed many changes in the company including a plan to launch a serious online undertaking. First is the launch of the Shambamba.Com website which will be a portal for all local and regional news.
In the plan was also and idea to acquire (buyout) the struggling entertainment blog/website, Ghafla. Already Radio Africa has held talks with Ghafla and reached some agreement. The group has not decided whether they will acquire Ghafla or not but they are looking at that option. I call Ghafla struggling because it has deviated from what it wanted to be to something which looks more like an events diary. There is not much exclusive scoop or jaw dropping stories which you will now read on the blog. It is more of who fapped at which event or who wore the shortest skirt at another event.
Take the story of Linda Oguttu’s boyfriend being arrested with many stolen vehicles or their “exclusive” on Betty Bayo’s husband who was exposed as a con preacher. What revealing thing do you have in the stories? Sounds like just some simple rumour. No call to Betty nor Linda Oguttu. It is all, “we heard that…..” without any elaboration.
Secondly, Ghafla’s stories are always shallow and poorly researched. Even a simple call to the subject of the story is never there. Radio Africa buying them will mean that the group will have to comb through 75% of the articles to correct them or just live with the possibility of facing various lawsuits from people who believe that they have been slandered by the blog.
Ghafla runs on Joomla which is a good CMS but I still prefer WordPress or Movable Type or Drupal over it. I believe that its plugins, extensions and components are not as powerful as those of WordPress. Joomla is still complicated for an average user or admin. WordPress has grown from a simple blogging platform into a complete publishing platform.
But migrating from Joomla to WordPress is not complicated.
I believe that Radio Africa and other mainstream media houses should stay away from acquiring startups so that other budding young techprenuers and innovators can gauge whether startups can make money and become successful in Kenya or not. This is without the immediate intervention of rich media houses. We are in the formative years of tech startups in the region.
Radio Africa has the money to build a better platform than what they currently have or even the proposed Shambamba.com. Even the name suggest that the whole strategy is wrong. They need to localise it (think EAC) then show a clear path with choice of IDs on the web and social media at large.
I don’t believe that Radio Africa will gain anything from buying Ghafla. They will be inheriting a poorly done system with shallow pieces of stories which might not add the RA brand any value.