Competitive strategies and performance of the large Kenyan media houses
Competitive strategy is about achieving competitive advantage over competitors. Ideally, the firm should seek to try to achieve some position that is difficult or impossible for rivals to imitate. The essence of formulating competitive strategy is relating a company to its environment. Although the relevant environment is very broad, encompassing social as well as economic forces, the key aspect of firms environment is the industry or the industry it competes with. Industry structure has a strong influence in determining the competitive rules of the game as well as the strategies potentially available to the firm. Forces outside the firm are significant primarily in a relative sense; since outside forces usually affect all firms in the industry, the key is found in the differing ability of firms to deal with them. Media industry in Kenya has witnessed exponential growth with creation of more radio stations, television channels, newspapers and magazines. The users beneﬁt from a drop in prices and a concomitant rise in quality. Mobile and internet services have enabled journalists to easily access information. This has increased pressure on competition among the media houses compelling managers of media houses to set some strategies to enable them survive the changing media competition environment. This study sought to determine the competitive strategies used by the large Kenyan media houses and their effectiveness in improving the performance of the media houses. This was achieved through a cross sectional research. Data was collected using questionnaires distributed to the media staff in the six largest media houses in Kenya. The data was coded and analysed using descriptive statics which included mean standard deviation, percentages and frequencies. Inferential statistics were also used by the researcher to test the correlation and the effect of the strategies on the performance of the media houses. The study found that adopting competitive strategies improved the performance of the media houses. The strengthening of internal control systems, optimizing prices, speedy delivery of information, tailoring promotions and segmenting markets were effective in improving the performance of the media houses. Large Kenya media houses that adopt intensive competitive strategies tend to have superior performance despite the dynamic media industry, so there is a positive relationship between pursuing competitive strategies and the performance of the large Kenyan media houses. The pricing strategy and the type of market affect the performance of the media houses hence the regulatory bodies have to monitor the operations of the media houses. The study provides empirical support for the resource based view, that performance of firm lies in the application of the resources available at firms disposal and adds more knowledge on the Open system theory which holds that firms are strongly influenced by the external environment. The study recommended that managers in the media houses employ clear processes which prevent unwarranted losses in the media houses. The study also recommended that more training be done to the media staff to catch up with the changing technologies and new ways of doing broadcast.