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29.01.2008 Liberia

Multimedia Group puts down root in Liberia - and eyes other African markets.

By myjoyonline
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For years, many analysts have noted and sometimes bemoaned the influx companies from other African countries into Ghana, without a corresponding presence from indigenous Ghanaian enterprise in other countries.

However, in recent times a small number of Ghanaian companies have gone out to plant the Ghana flag on foreign soil. A well-known example is the Data Bank Group.

What is not such common knowledge is that on the quiet, MULTIMEDIA GROUP LIMITED, operators of Joy FM, has become one of the companies propagating the success of Ghanaian enterprise abroad.

The company, which operates 5 other radio stations in the Greater Accra and the Ashanti regions as well as two online sites, has already extended its operations to Liberia, where it has acquired majority stake in a local FM station.

In addition, the company is well along the way in exploring opportunities for similar acquisitions in Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Gambia.

According to Mr Kwasi Twum, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Multimedia Group Ltd, the expansion is in line with the company's vision of becoming a 'world class African Media Group.

He opined that in a globalised environment, any business seeking to really grow needs to look beyond the confines of its immediate geographic location – explaining that the size of the country's economy limits the 'space' for growth within Ghana and companies with a vision of real growth therefore need to look outside.

The Multimedia Group's local network of stations is made up of Joy FM, Hitz FM and Asempa FM in Accra, Adom FM, based in Tema, and Luv FM and Nhyira FM, in Kumasi.

The company also operates the news website, www.myjoyonline.com and www.mypaddies.com, a social networking site.

In addition the, the company has a Management Services Unit through which it maintains affiliations with some 38 other local radio stations, and 13 radio stations based in Europe.

All of these stations carry some programs from Multimedia Group's flagship stations. This arrangement has been facilitated by the deployment of satellite-based content distribution technology.

MGL also provides technical, training and management support for its affiliates.

Discounting the claim that local companies do not have the capacity to challenge competitors in the sub region and beyond, the CEO asserted that Multimedia Group Ltd has the organisational capacity to grow, not only in West Africa but in Africa as a whole.
“Ghana has become a net importer of media; the time has come for us to change that,' Mr Twum stated.

With a strength of 279 full time and 66 part time staff, the company has built internal capacity by focussing on training and development as the core feature of its operations, spending 4% of annual turnover on training, with staff benefiting from both local and international training programs.

Touching on challenges facing the media industry in Ghana, Mr Twum mentioned low advertising rates, pointing out that rates in Cote d' Ivoire, are four times higher than in Ghana, while they are 12 times higher in Nigeria. The CEO said the potential for development in the broadcasting industry exists but for this to happen, the regulatory authorities would need to create a more conducive growth environment. A conscious effort should be made to promote the growth of individual private businesses to reach the world class standards which will make them competitive anywhere.

The Multimedia Group CEO intimated that the company had looked at the possibility of listing on the Stock Exchange in 2004 but the stock market went soft.

He said the idea had come up again and there has been support from its various quarters, given that it would give the Ghana bourse a boost but the company was of the view that the taking of such a step should be determined by the its long term objectives.

“The motivation for floatation should be very clear because the ultimate aim would be to create real value for the prospective shareholders,” he said.
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Multimedia Broadcasting Company was established in 1994 and its first station, Joy FM went on air in 1995 to provide alternative news and programmes to listeners in and around the Greater Accra Region.

The station caught on well with its listeners with its innovative programming.

It took a giant step and with the introduction of "phone-in" facilities, the station had the greatest audience generated in its coverage area.

It expanded to the Ashanti region with Luv FM. The Multimedia Group was also the first radio operation to deploy satellite technology to send it signals to stations right across the country.

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