Look Up TV, a free-to-air terrestrial channel that pledged to shake up the media industry with its up-to-par Swahili news and programmes, is closing after six years.

The shutdown affects less than 50 employees, including those working as editors and staff writers for its online news website, which will also be closed.

While announcing the closure at the end of a live Swahili news broadcast, journalist Tende Anyula said Look Up TV’s shutdown was effective immediately.

“Look Up TV’s journey that started six years ago is now coming to an end. Today is the last day for English and Swahili news programmes. The journey would not have been possible were it not for our team of journalists and audience. If you don’t find us, know we have ended our programmes,” said Anyula. “Thank you, viewers and fans.”

Look Up TV is closing down amid the continued economic strain in traditional media, whose fortunes have plummeted in the digital age as more and more people are shifting to online platforms.

The last few weeks have been especially grim for Kenyan journalism: Just in the past week, Nation Media Group (NMG) announced that it is shedding several hundred of its employees, including journalists, as part of a restructuring process to digital media, and, also, due to harsh economic conditions.

“As you are aware, the media landscape is undergoing rapid transformation: Changes in audience consumption habits, technology, and other macroeconomic factors have disrupted business models across the world,” Stephen Gitagama, NMG’s CEO, said in an internal note.
“We at the Nation Media Group have also faced challenges as a result of reduced earnings from traditional platforms occasioned by these unprecedented disruptions.”

Mr Gitagama added: “In order to reap the benefits of the new digital dispensation, we must accelerate that transformation. We must evolve into a leaner and more agile company that will innovate at pace and drive the efficient delivery of services to our customers. This will, unfortunately, necessitate a workforce reduction effective Friday, June 14, 2024.”

Inarguably, companies are spending more of their ad budgets to reach users on big tech platforms like Instagram and Google and are avoiding traditional media like newspapers and television, whose viewers continue to dwindle as years go by.