Publisher: Langmead &
Baker Ltd. Managing Editor: James Chiwala.
Technological constraints also provide strength in Lusaka focus
Premium pricing and a high quality service are the key drivers behind Muvi Television as it carves a niche for itself in the broadcasting business.
The privately owned company was started in June 2004 and believes that a premium service is the best strategy in what is a “limited” business environment.
“The premium price differentiates the product,” declared managing director Steve Nyirenda.
“We at Muvi TV are very particular with quality and detail. Each product we produce has to be high quality and this is what we inculcate in all our workers: to do their best and clients will be willing to pay a premium price. Therefore we can safely say that premium price does have a bearing on product differentiation,” he added.
The company aims to “fill the void” that it sees has existed for a long time in Zambian broadcasting between variety, proficiency, professionalism and quality. It also sees itself as promoting local production, talent, enterprise and culture.
“One of the main goals is to foster development in all areas of human endeavour,” said Nyirenda.
The company employs 70 staff – and more than 100 if part-time marketing agents, actors and producers are taken into account.
Nyirenda concedes that the business environment is limited with three commercial television stations – two on air - all targeting the same business houses for advertising sales, most of them based in Lusaka. Nevertheless, profit is good, he said.
In such a small market, market share is difficult to quantify, and many advertisers tend to use both stations.
Muvi TV’s limited technology has helped it concentrate its efforts and actually given it a competitive advantage, however.
An estimated 68 percent of the country’s business is done in Lusaka, said Nyirenda. Meanwhile, Muvi TV is on a UHF channel which means it cannot cover the whole country, and is thus focused on that Lusaka market.
“We cover mostly companies that are based in Lusaka and it is estimated that 68 percent of business in Zambia is conducted in Lusaka. We do believe that we have a large chunk of that,” said Nyirenda.
“Opportunities are plenty in this industry. Muvi TV being the first private commercial TV station has the opportunity to use its unique position to exploit the market by making its presence known in all provinces. Muvi TV will continue to asses the competitive advantage in the market,” he added.
While the station’s limited coverage could be seen as either a strength or weakness, there is no doubt as to the threats it faces in the marketplace: free-to-air channels.
Other players in the market include the Zambia Natinal Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), Mobi TV. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), along with DSTV and MyTV.
Muvi TV has taken its business lead from satellite channel DSTV, as Nyirenda explained: “DSTV made a decision to offer their product at a premium price. This is the stance that Muvi Television is taking in offering a product of high quality to international standards; this ties with our objective of positioning Muvi TV as a front runner in the industry.” “Muvi TV’s goal is to provide the best entertainment and education programmes. We are working towards being among the best in the broadcasting industry within the southern region,” he added.
Such goals require lofty marketing strategies, and Nyirenda is pragmatic.
“Regarding the market share, our philosophy is ‘we will reap from what we sowed’. With hard work we do believe that we will be able to increase our market share as long as we remain innovative, able to anticipate the needs of the market and come up with the right product. We do believe that if we have satisfied customers everything will fall in place,” he said.
With the philosophy in place, Muvi TV takes a proactive strategy to implementing it.
“Our strategy is to position ourselves in a way that can anticipate clients needs. To have solutions to clients’ problems regarding advertising. Muvi TV focuses on being innovative and a trendsetter,” explained Nyirenda.
Personal selling is the main tool for implementing the strategy, along with advertising through trade fairs and through in-house magazines.
The proof of the strategy is measured in terms of the response from potential advertisers and the number of contracts signed “We encourage our clients to inform us of any positive developments, that is an improvement in the response from the public, in terms of volume of business after an advert has been running for two or more weeks. We also monitor our performance through sales target on a monthly basis. We conduct research on branding effectiveness,” he said.
The company is the also building its brand, using strategically placed billboards and promotional items such as pens, cups, fliers and adverts distinguishing the station from its competition. News coverage is also a major brand factor.
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