Welcome to the New Year, people.
As this is the beginning of another year, it is usually the period that I like to take stock of the major happenings on the radio and television front in the previous year.
As it happens in any given year, a lot of battles are fought on many and different fronts in 2017: station to station, programme to programme, presenter to presenter and many other aspects along the broadcast value chain.
For me however, and before I go on to talk about other happenings in 2017 worth mentioning in subsequent write-ups, one of the most important things that happened on the television front that industry observers smacked their lips about was the competition.
For many years TV3 was the market leader. It had an unassailable lead ahead of all the other players.
Metro TV gave a good chase and hefty competition with strong content before its bubble burst and started falling off the pecking order.
It was around the time that Viasat1 TV was competing strongly with good content, clearer transmission and very reliable compliance for advertisers which made them number two after TV3 for a long time as well.
Then UTV came into the game and changed everything.
Just as its radio ‘sibling’ Peace FM did about a decade and half earlier, United Television (as it is officially known) entered with local language and mass content found in Mexican soap with added dramatics to become relevant in the market.
Around 2015 to 2016, the market leader TV3 changed some of its content, its style and the approach to delivering what it had been delivering in the past.
Thanks to the foray that UTV was making in the market, it knocked off the former from its perch at the top.
UTV had become the leader on the overall ladder and from different data sources, they dominated.
Around this same time, the managers at Multi TV were trying to figure out how to push the content they had on the three channels they had consolidated: Joy News, Joy Prime and Adom TV.
Obviously Joy News was for the top of the pyramid and if they wanted to catch up with UTV they needed to see what to do with Joy Prime and Adom TV.
Joy Prime was the youthful part of the offering, and they needed such soft entertainment content to compete.
For Adom TV, they needed content that would reach the mass audience in a very relevant manner and to catapult them to the top.
Enter Kumkum Bagya! This was the elixir the station needed and rightly so it cured every illness they had.
For major parts of the year 2017 Adom FM was at the top of the television rankings thanks to this one content they decided to not only invest in, but to make it locally relevant.
Why I said 2017 was interesting was because the three stations: TV3, Adom TV and UTV slug it out on many levels and at different months in the year one of them was on top.
Each had its strength and what it was that would ensure that they lead at which time.
However, if you want to look at which station benefitted most from audience share in 2017 it would easily have to be Adom TV.
Kumkum Bagya was a real big deal for the station and they milked it very much to their advantage.
At some point when they decided to repeat however, it wasn’t working as audience fatigue may have set in.
TV3’s biggest strength has for a long time been its evening news, News 360 and it was that along with some of its own telenovelas and Ghana’s Most Beautiful (the most watched Sunday night show when it is in season as it was last year) made sure they competed strongly last year.
UTV ensure that they would continue to make the local news as exciting to their audience as much as possible and also continued to localize their telenovelas through dubs and activations at the very heart of where the audience is.
Aside these three top stations the next one that, according to the media consumption data, showed a lot of competition and stayed at number four for a long time was Joy Prime.
They also found their niche and the needed content that would appeal to them and even though, like Adom TV, audience needed digi-boxes to receive their signal, they did extremely well.
Good old GTV was also there somewhere and struggled to maintain the next position.
There was constant competition from Joy News on most occasions and on some occasions from GhOne.
It would have to be said that the latter did a lot of work in 2017, but the nature of the competition kept it at the position it occupied.
It would take a continuous push in subsequent years to climb high on the food chain. Another channel that did do well in the ranking was XYZ TV.
As far as showing on the data goes, XYZ was far ahead of Metro TV and TV Africa and if you consider that the latter had seen rebranding and massive injection of cash to ensure it would compete, then it would be very surprising that it did not show at all on the rankings.
In all this the biggest loser of has to be Kwese TV. Viasat1 may not have had the kind of mojo it had years ago, but certainly wasn’t that low on the rankings as its successor Kwese turned out to be.
Launched in the dying months of 2016, Kwese TV’s performance in 2017 was abysmal, and that is because they are a sports niche.
Maybe the coming years would show whether the decision to do sports would eventually pay off or not.
Let me end by saying that 2018 would be a very competitive year as well.
The Minister of Communications hinted that the government would come out with a policy to show 70% local content in prime time and that we are also inching closely to the digital migration.
All these would play a role on the content and eventually eyeballs for the station. Let’s see how this plays out.
By Francis Doku | Graphic Showbiz