The move online – media in Africa

The move online – media in Africa

Major international outlets have been making the move online for years, with their readership following suit and abandoning print and paper for apps and online ads.

You can understand why as well. In a world of Twitter and Facebook, we demand instant news, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The move to digital news was inevitable and has led to ever-greater engagement with media houses in the West.

The Daily Mail – now the most visited news website in the world – has over 105 million unique web browsers per month[1]. The Guardian has consolidated its international additions around its award-winning website,, and is constantly developing new, sector-leading online platforms such as Guardian Global Development. With the rebrand of the International Herald Tribune as the International New York Times, the outlet has adopted a digital-first attitude that will see its online presence grow massively over the coming years.

But it isn’t just readers in the West seeing their news move online. As greater connectivity and mobile numbers grow every day in Africa, the continent is quickly catching up with other international markets.

South Africa-based allAfrica, the grand-daddy of African online media, is positioned right at the vanguard of this new movement. The platform has been running for 13 years, constantly evolving to meet user needs and – as smartphone usage grows – access. By pulling in content of all forms from across the continent and presenting it in an easily digestible, multilingual and mobile-friendly way, allAfrica proves the desire from within Africa for online news consumption.

Major African media houses such as the Independent Online, the Mail & Guardian, Le Soleil and The East African have all embraced online over the past years, developing engaging and interactive websites. In a recent study we ran on Africa’ evolving media landscape – in which we spoke with a number of leading African journalists – we found that the proportion of written content being published online is continually growing.

Just last week, – Africa’ s largest digital news publisher – hosted sub-Saharan Africa’s ‘first newsroom hackathon’ to develop new and innovative ways for users to consume news in a digital format. Bringing together teams from across South Africa, the two day Editor’s Lab saw competing teams work to develop news-driven mobile apps and websites.

With more and more people coming online every single day across the continent, it is no surprise then that this move online is happening at an equally astonishing speed. Could this spell the end of the print paper in Africa? As with the move from dial-up to mobile, could Africa leapfrog the West and move towards a mobile-first approach to news consumption?

The coming years will undoubtedly see great growth of online news around the world, but something tells me that African media is going to be at the frontline of that move.

[1] Figures from August 2012
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