“Blue Ocean Strategy will have you wondering why companies need so much persuasion to stay out of shark-infested water.” – BusinessWeek, USA
Blue Ocean Strategy challenges companies to break out of the highly competitive, shark-infested, shrinking demand red ocean. At the core of this novel strategy is the need for companies to swim in the uncontested blue oceans by making competition irrelevant. The creation of a whole new market.
The Ghanaian media landscape is a highly competitive industry. From television to radio and newspapers and now online, players are fighting hard to keep a substantial share of the market for profitability. Radio stations have been the main driver of this growth in the industry. As at the end of December 2016, the total list of authorized FM radio broadcasting stations in Ghana stood at 481. 354 out of these stations were operational. During the same period, the nation’s capital, Accra, had 29 FM Radio broadcasting stations according to data available at the National Communication Authority, the industry’s regulator in Ghana.
Table: The breakdown of type of Radio stations and number
From the forgoing, one can tell that the FM Radio broadcasting industry in Ghana is a highly competitive one. It fits perfectly into the red ocean category- competition is rife, demand is shrinking, the boundaries in the industry is defined and accepted, the competitive rules of the game are known. In the FM Radio industry in Ghana, rivals are trying hard to outperform one another to grab a greater share of existing demand.
As the FM Radio broadcasting gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced. The cutthroat competition turns the FM Radio industry- red ocean bloody.
For years the power players have been from the Multimedia stock (comprising, Joy FM, Adom FM and Hitz FM in Accra, Luv and Nhyira FM in Kumasi), Despite Group (Peace and Okay FM in Accra), Citi FM, GBC because of its nationwide reach among others. The English speaking stations (Joy FM, Citi FM and others) capture the upward mobile with the purchasing power while the Twi speaking stations captured the mass market.
The competition gets keener and intense as rivals build on their brands by being innovative and providing quality programming. They don’t lose sight of the three pillars underpinning their core mandate; to inform, educate and entertain.
Enters Y FM from the stable of the Global Media Alliance (similar entities as Happy FM, e.TV in Accra, Anigye FM in Kumasi and others), its focus was on the youth- young and young at heart (as its tag goes- YFM; for the young and young at heart), wild, and free. The station’s strategy is to inform, educate and mostly entertain the youth. These they did by providing several outdoor events and in-house radio programming which were unmatched among the red ocean participants.
The blue ocean strategy was at play here unbeknownst to the operators or known, they created a whole new market, made the competition in the red ocean- already existing FM Radio industry irrelevant and operated in an uncontested market space. Soon the go-to station for the young and young at heart was Y FM which had a ripple effect on profitability since advertisers first point of call for anything youthful was YFM before any other station.
Loud in GH a flagship outdoor event held annually by the trendy and vibrant station, pulls crowd in the thousands. Are Code Jam another outdoor event became an instant hit, which saw the station pitching camp in the various suburbs of Accra with a star-studded line-up of acts and talents. It did well with collaborations from Guinness Ghana and other corporate partners. The station has become the go-to place for up and coming talents who want careers in the showbiz industry, preferably radio and even TV.
The station really connects well with its audience. Various campuses across Ghana have Y FM campus clubs. It’s a best bet to stay relevant and connected to its audience just to build the brand loyalty. Trendy and youth radio broadcasting has become synonymous with Y FM in Ghana and the station cannot be omitted in the good books of radio broadcasting in Ghana.
Y FM created the demand for a new vibrant, youthful and trendy station totally at variance with the already existing participants in the red ocean. The competition here became irrelevant because the rules of the game were still being set. For example, typical Ghanaian morning shows (6am-10am) characterized with discussing topical current affairs from the dailies and news headlines gave way to strictly music, entertainment, topical issues, on relationships, discussions on music and arts which appealed to the young and young at heart in the YFM instance. Soon the unwritten rule in radio broadcasting not to be loud in the mornings gave way to the yet to be set rule by Y FM defying all established norms and entertaining their audience as early as 6am in the morning.
The fact is red oceans will matter in business life and its very important to swim successfully in it by outcompeting rivals. Going forward and in sustaining high performance in growth and profitability, companies need to go beyond competing. Like Y FM, companies looking forward to seize new profit and growth opportunities need to create blue oceans by seizing opportunities beyond existing industry boundaries or creating from within red oceans. Make the competition irrelevant, stay way ahead of the game, chart a new course, be like Y FM- swim in the blue ocean.
Author: Paa Swanzy-Essuman || firstname.lastname@example.org