Competitive strategies adopted by the Kenya Television Network (KTN) of the Standard Group
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The objectives of this study were to determine the dimensions of competition faced by KTN and also establish the competitive strategies KTN has adopted to cope with the challenges of increased competition in the Broadcast Media Industry in Kenya. The researcher used a case study of the Kenya Television Network (KTN), to assist in identifying the dimensions of competition faced by KTN and the competitive strategies the station has adopted to deal with increased competition in the Broadcast Media Industry in Kenya. This design was deemed appropriate as the researcher was looking for in-depth information on the dimensions of competition faced by KTN and the subsequent competitive strategies the station has adopted to deal with the challenges of increased competition. The design was also ideal as it provided insights into the research problem by describing the variables of interest in detail. The respondents were selected from management units across the station's functional areas as the researcher was interested in cases who had the necessary information in respect of the objectives of the study. The research established that in terms of free-to-air television KTN faces stiff competition from NTV, Citizen TV and to some extent KBC. The level of threat is however determined by the type of programming and the reach in terms of numbers and geographical coverage. The research established that local programming content is becoming a key driver for audiences and advertising revenue s there is a general market shift in favour of local programming content. Competition for premium international content is also driving up the cost of programming as suppliers have greater bargaining power. The dimensions of competition for KTN include competition for content and advertising revenue with other free-to-air TV channels, pay TV channels, radio and the new media such as the internet and mobile telephony. Radio poses a serious threat to KTN in terms of advertising revenue. Radio commands 46% of total advertising spend, while TV and Print command 33% and 20.7% respectively. Advertisers are spending more of their budgets on radio because the medium is cheaper and reaches far more people than either television or the print media. Competition for human capital has introduced another dimension to KTN's competitive pressures. Television presenters drive viewership on TV and KTN's competitors have over the last three years targeted KTN presenters for recruitment. Besides undermining programming, this competition for human capital has significantly increased the cost of human capital not just to KTN but other industry players as well. KTN employs focused differentiation as a competitive strategy, using technology and human capital to offer a differentiated product to the high and middle income socioeconomic groups. The researcher feels that the following aspects need further research in the future: Since the market is just beginning to shift towards local programming, it would be interesting to investigate what kind of impact the shift is having in terms of how advertisers are allocating advertising spend to various broadcasters. Another aspect of competition worth investigating in greater detail is the impact of the internet and mobile telephony on the broadcast media industry in Kenya. The researcher also recommends that a census study be undertaken to determine the competitive strategies adopted by other free-to-air TV stations in Kenya. An investigation therefore needs to be done on what other factors may determine the success or failure of competitive strategies in the broadcast media industry as a whole.