Media house and studio merger expected to be official soon

Zoe Titus and Gary Stroebel

The merger between TribeFire Studios and Future Media is expected to be official next week.

Future Media chief executive Gary Stroebel says the two entities are currently finalising contractual obligations to sign the merger next week.

TribeFire Studios is the owner of One Africa Television and 99FM.

Future Media is the home of Radio Wave, Fresh FM, Nova 103.5 and Omulunga Radio.

After the merger these brands will fall under one umbrella.

“We received approval for this merger from the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (Cran) and the Namibian Competition Commission (Nacc) in December last year.

“But it is not official yet as we have to finalise the contractual obligations before signing. Hopefully by next week,” Stroebel says.

TribeFire Studios group chief excutive Stephan Hugo says Cran conducted a broadcast market saturation study when the merger was mooted.

He says the consolidation is a necessary and inevitable step in a market that is increasingly being dominated by international digital media companies.

“This is a proactive initiative, designed to ensure that Namibian media remains diverse and locally relevant. We are confident that the merger, once completed, will provide a more robust platform to benefit the people of Namibia, ensuring access to quality local media content and services,” Hugo says.

Future Media and TribeFire Studios in a joint media statement in 2022 said the two media companies have agreed to merge.
The merger was, however, subjected to approval by the NaCC and Cran to bring together six of Namibia’s media brands under one roof.

The statement says the primary goal of the merger is to better serve clients and audiences with a larger range of products and services.

“The transaction will create a business that is better resourced to capitalise on opportunities in the emerging digital media landscape.

“This will result in greater variety and faster delivery of news for Namibians across more media types,” it says.

New Era has in the past reported that news of the possible merger raised concerns about media ownership, diversity of news and views and the possible loss of freedom of expression.

Namibia Media Trust director Zoe Titus at the time said it is possible that the diversity of news sources could be diminished following a merger, but that the greater issue is the management and sustainability of media outlets.

She said Future Media appears to have adeptly managed its news production and adhered to the Namibian Code of Conduct.
Titus said One Africa Television has faced financial difficulties for an extended period of time.

“This financial strain raises a valid question about the sustainability of media outlets and their ability to uphold quality journalism,” she said.

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