Safaricom has partnered with two of Kenya’s biggest media houses, Standard Group and Nation Media Group, to make online versions of their newspapers (e-papers, as they call them) accessible to its wide subscriber base.
For just Kshs 20 every day, Safaricom subscribers are now able to access The Standard newspaper, Daily Nation, Business Daily and The Nairobian.
Radio Africa Group’s The Star newspaper is the glaring omission from the list since the media company isn’t part of this partnership.
Unlike the media house’s already existing arrangements where subscribers log on to their platforms (apps, websites) then pay using mobile money or cards before being granted access to the digital copy of the paper of their choice, Safaricom’s implementation is a bit different.
“No registration or signup will be necessary neither will customers be requested to download and install any application,” the company says in a statement.
If you are Safaricom subscriber, here’s how to go about subscribing to the digital versions of any of the above newspapers:
1. Via Safaricom’s website
- Go to safaricom.com
- Click on the Discover tab
- Select Newspapers
- Navigate to the ‘Publications‘ section
- On your publication of choice, select View
- Select Buy
- Confirm Purchase
As you will note from the prompt as soon as you click Buy, the cost of purchasing the newspaper will be deducted directly from a subscriber’s airtime. So, make sure you have at least Kshs 20 airtime balance in order for the process to be successful.
Bought newspapers will now be appearing on the My Newspapers section of the Safaricom website’s Discover tab. According to Safaricom, one will be able to access newspapers they have bought for up to a week.
Note: You will need to disconnect from any wireless hotspot you may be connected to and use Safaricom mobile data in order to be able to buy the digital newspaper of your choice.
2. Using a shortcode
On your phone, dial *550#. You should immediately be taken to a prompt to select the e-paper you wish to subscribe to. You will get a confirmation SMS from “E-NEWSPAPER” with a link as to where you can access and read the newspaper you just bought.
Here is why this “method” 2 is pointless for many of us who are already hooked to the digital side of life: the link will simply direct you to the steps outlined in “method” 1 *rolls eyes*. It is, however, very useful to those who may not be in the know.
The caveat that comes with “method” 1, i.e. Safaricom mobile data must be turned on, still applies in this case. Irritating as that may sound, it is necessary.
The Kshs 20 pricing saves anyone who has been keen on accessing digital papers from Nation Media Group some money. Currently, the company’s e-papers, including The East African weekly that isn’t part of the partnership with Safaricom, cost Kshs 40 (when bought from the Nation Newsstand) with the only exception being Kiswahili title Taifa which costs half the price.
In the case of the Standard Group’s e-paper lineup which includes regional publications such as the Mt Kenya Times and Pambazuko, which aren’t offered under the Safaricom partnership, going through all the hoops (including a tedious subscriber registration process and login – where your set credentials will be rejected half the time), may be worth it as it results in cost savings amounting to 50%.
The Standad Group lowered the price of the digital versions of its newspapers at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic a few months ago to encourage uptake of the e-paper product at a time when safety measures including minimal contact – something that is almost unavoidable with a physical paper – was (and still is) being encouraged.
Interestingly, this is one of several reasons that Safaricom has offered for its pursuance of the partnership:
“The initiative is part of Safaricom’s contribution in the fight against COVID-19 by empowering customers to conveniently access the newspapers even as they limit their movement.”
This is not the first time that Safaricom has partnered with big content publishers for such a deal. About 6 years ago, the company had partnered with the Nation Media Group to offer subscribers the Daily Nation e-paper via a co-branded app, Safaricom Daily Nation E-Paper app, mostly for free, as part of a promotion for its 544 internet service.
Weekend newspapers Saturday Standard, Sunday Standard, Saturday Nation and Sunday Nation will also be available under this partnership.
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