But that’s exactly how well the Nation Media Group in East Africa has done between 2007 and 2011.
That’s mostly because a rising middle class in East Africa is, for now, buying more newspapers, The Economist reports.
The digital disruption suffered by Western media groups has barely ruffled their African counterparts, because online browsing of newspapers is still prohibitively expensive for most, says Amadou Ba of the African Media Initiative, an agency that promotes independent journalism.
The lag in digital-media consumption has helped keep profits fat at the eight newspapers, five radio stations and three television stations that Nation Group runs in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
About 70 percent of the company’s revenue comes from newspapers. That’s in part because full-page newspaper ads bring in more of the (significantly increasing) advertising revenue than primetime television ads.
But the company knows that it won’t be able to rely on print media forever. As the Nation Media Group’s CEO, Linus Gitahi, told The Economist: “We can see exactly what’s happened to the New York Times. We know digital is coming here, we just have the luxury of planning for it.”