Sahara Media Group Ltd. Profile
Incorporated in 1992 in the wake of Multi-Party politics in Tanzania complemented with Mass Media Liberalization which opened up the industry to private investors, Sahara Media Group Ltd (SMG) has grown to be the leading media company in the country and the rest of East and Central Africa.
With its vision and mission statements clearly spelled out as a first choice media for Audience and Advertisers in Africa and a responsible media house providing content suitable for the targeted audience; keeping pace with technological advancement and providing services with value for money and resources the Group has continued to adhere to the fundamental principles of professional journalism.
It has indeed remained non-partisan, independent, objective and truthful in its program productions and dissemination through its three main stream TV and Radio stations that is Star TV, Radio Free Africa and Kiss FM. The Group also embraces a weekly tabloid Msanii Africa which is serving the majority of up-country peasant communities.
SMG Ltd formerly known as Sahara Communication & Publishing Company Ltd (SCPC) is wholly owned by indigenous Tanzanians and has established MwanzaCity the main operational centre.
At its inception, it entered into the print media by producing two publications an English Weekly Mail and a Kiswahili newspaper Msanii Afrika.
In 1995, SCPC now SMG obtained a broadcast license and Radio Free Africa (RFA) hit the airwaves at the end of August the same year covering only one administrative region Mwanza and its environs. This set the stage for the subsequent phases in its growth.
From the experiences gained in the setting up and operation of the broadcast equipment, in the second phase, SCPC embarked on a systematic program to expand its broadcast infrastructure to cover more regional areas.
Indeed the main strategic goal being to capture a bigger market share by bringing the Company’s broadcasting service to Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania.
In 1997 RFA started broadcasting on 24 hrs two years after, it grew to exhaust its allocated quota of five broadcast regions.
In 1998 a second radio station Kiss FM was started to cater for English broadcasting so as to make the audience to have an alternative preferences with focus on youth and out of school audience segment. This also created an opportunity to increase overall market share and hence generate more income.
Star TV came into operation in the year 2000 to tap into the lucrative market of television broadcasting. It expanded to Arusha and Dar es Salaam in 2001, but due to lack of means of delivering the programming from the Mwanza Broadcast House, a synchronized TV programming in Mwanza, Arusha and Dar es Salaam did not take place until 2003 when a satellite TV uplink was installed in Mwanza transmitting station.
The satellite signal being free-to-air opened Star TV programming to an even bigger audience who receive TV programming from cable TV operators or via direct to home satellite equipment.
With the recent change of national broadcasting quotas policy, RFA and Star TV are now licensed as national commercial service broadcast stations with a mandate to provide content services throughout the country.
Kiss FM is licensed as a regional commercial service broadcasting station and it is currently covering more than 50% of all Tanzania’s regions which makes it a nearest contender for National Commercial Content Service provider.
To date SMG operates a combined number of 39 TV and radio transmitters spreading within the borders of Tanzania; however this number is still set to grow as the Group continues to consolidate its position at the top of the commercial service broadcasters.
From the data provided by media monitoring agents, RFA, Kiss FM and Star TV are leading brand names in the Tanzanian broadcast industry with audience figures of 15mil, 10mil and 8mil respectively and a combined commercial market share of 54%.
With the infrastructure now in place, the main objective in the coming phases is to further increase the Group’s market share by fortification of the infrastructure, maintaining and improving the programming content of its stations and also increasing human capital by investing more in human resources.