In Kenya, despite the rise of local programs dominating our television screens, local TV Actors and Actresses are commonly misunderstood to be earning substantial amounts and expected to live lavish lifestyles similar to celebrities.
A-list TV Actors and Actresses such as Sarah Hassan, who is at the top of their game, receive a modest payment of Ksh25,000 per episode. On the other hand, newcomers who play leading roles in TV shows take home approximately Ksh10,000 per episode.
Supporting actors, depending on the TV show, earn between Ksh10,000 and Ksh15,000 per episode.
TV Actors and Actresses without lines receive a payment of Ksh7,000, while those with speaking roles earn Ksh10,000. Extras, who do not have any lines, are typically paid Ksh2,000. If fortunate, they may pocket Ksh5,000.
When it comes to the film industry, Kenya is not widely recognized for its contributions to this field.
This lack of prominence is often attributed to the high costs involved in film production and the government’s limited interest in fostering the growth of the multi-billion industry.
Consequently, the earnings of actors in locally produced movies are relatively modest.
Lead A-list actors in movies earn around Ksh100,000 while supporting cast members receive Ksh70,000 per movie. Peripheral actors with speaking roles are paid Ksh15,000, whereas those without any lines earn Ksh2,000.
Nonetheless, the film industry is showing signs of growth, especially with the advent of platforms like Netflix, which are now allowing for more local productions.
Despite the comparatively low pay in Kenya, actors still have opportunities for exposure and can potentially become brand ambassadors, particularly if they possess exceptional talent.
Some actors, like Papa Shirandula and David Mwambili, who portrays Inspekta Mwala in a sitcom of the same name, have had the chance to appear in lucrative advertisements, earning them millions of shillings.
“NTV and KTN TV Actors and Actresses are the lowest paid, between Ksh 5,000 and Ksh 10,000 per episode. Citizen TV actors are better paid, between Ksh10,000 and Ksh25,000 per episode depending on the roles they play.
“Other platforms like MNet pay in premiums, that is at least Ksh25,000 and above per episode.
“So if six episodes are aired in a month, you earn around Ksh150,000 per month. If they are aired four times, you earn Ksh100,000 per month,” the producer stated.
However, the Kenyan film industry is yet to be regulated in terms of salaries and other remunerations.