MSN Kenya has gone live, bringing Kenyans a fully localised version of one of the world's most visited Web properties and delivering personalised, up-to-the-minute news and a complete set of Microsoft services to the country's Internet users. The portal is operated by South Africa's Kagiso Media - a Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed media company - in partnership with Microsoft.
With a presence in 50 countries, a position as the number one portal in 26 countries, 460 million users, and 18 billion page views a month, the Microsoft-owned MSN is a heavy hitter in the online international publishing market. MSN Kenya offers dedicated news, entertainment, sports and lifestyle channels including property and careers content, tailored to the needs of the Kenyan market.
Says Marcus Stephens, GM for publishing at Kagiso New Media: "Though many Kenyans already visit our general African and South African portals, we believe that the Internet market in Kenya is now of a size that it deserves a dedicated MSN portal of its own. We will be using a similar formula in Kenya to the one that has been so popular in South Africa - locally relevant, easy to digest content that is packaged in an attractive manner."
"MSN is already one of Africa's largest portals with approximately 3.3 million unique browsers per month. The South African version of the portal has 75,000 Facebook fans, showing how engaged and passionate its audience is. Kagiso's experience in South Africa has shaped its approach to the Kenyan market," Stephens says.
"Our principles are to deliver a social, people-powered experience to our audience; to be close to people wherever they are and however they access the Internet; to collaborate with content partners who can add depth and breadth to our offering; to deliver quality for advertisers and readers; and to be current with the now," says Stephens. "We believe that our approach is aligned with what Kenyan audiences are seeking."
Behind the scenes, the Microsoft Bedrock content management system makes it easy for MSN Kenya to deliver content to nearly any device with which the user accesses the Internet. MSN Kenya places a heavy emphasis on mobile access to the news and has created mobile versions of the sites that can be accessed from feature phones as well as smartphones and tablets. Bing apps are also available. This will allow MSN to serve Kenya across multiple screens, meeting the demand for many people who are getting online for the first time through their mobile devices.
Content is at the heart of the experience, and MSN Kenya will deliver a rich selection of syndicated and original content for its audience. In addition to full access to the store of global MSN content, MSN Kenya will offer one-stop access to Reuters, Associated Press, Getty Images, and AFP content as well as news from carefully chosen African partners.
MSN Kenya will provide a platform for local bloggers, writers and social influencers to share their thoughts and ideas. Users will also be able to use MSN Kenya as their entry point for Bing, Skype, Outlook.com and other Microsoft services.
"With more than 10 million Internet users in Kenya, we think that MSN Kenya is going to be an excellent platform for brands that want to market their products and services to the country's fast-growing middle-class," says Stephens. "Kenya is a truly exciting opportunity for us to serve readers and advertisers with a local version of a world-class product."