Television Plays Vital role of civic engagement than Social Media in off-grid society, M-Kopa Report

Dubbed Tuned in, the M-KOPA report shows that off-grid homes are mostly driven to acquire solar television because it helps them keep up to date with news and current affairs.

It looks at the role of solar television in the off-grid economy where millions of Kenyans are still off-grid and unable to access the country’s dominant visual information source – television – in their own homes. M-KOPA Solar says its research shows that for these homes, the leading lifestyle improvement is being more informed on current affairs. And its solar TV is doing just that.

In Kenya, the seven and nine o’clock news are major moments in the day. Other forms of entertainment is turned off, conversations are adjourned and the news takes over. The question is whether this can continue as content evolves and social media and smartphones find their way into more off-grid homes. Will television still be an essential source of news, or will it evolve into a ‘nice to have’ entertainment platform? Content is key to this. As long as it continues to
have a strong focus on news and education, it will continue to be viewed as a productive service and build its audience share.

Jesse Moore CEO and Co-Founder, M-KOPA says, “Television still has a vital role to play in helping Kenya strengthen its information-intensive social and economic systems. The growth of solar television and smartphones will see millions more Kenyans being included in information society. By the end of this year, M-KOPA alone will be providing information access to over a million people through our smartphones and televisions.”

The research also shows that the purchasing decision is equally informed by the fact that technology and pricing has made solar television more affordable than ever. It is obvious that a lack of power has been a brake on television penetration into millions of homes in Kenya – and Eastern Africa as a whole. It is equally obvious that affordable solar television is going to fundamentally change the television category over the next five years. Millions more off-grid homes now have the chance to get television. And they will be attracted by news and current affairs content that talks to their issues and aspirations.

As smartphones penetrate into more off-grid homes, it could be anticipated that the young – in particular – will move away from live television. The report also indictes that First time television owners in off-grid homes, widely report an improvement in their lifestyle because they feel more informed.


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