USES AND IMPACT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN MARKETING TELEVISION SERVICES IN NIGERIA. (A STUDY OF SELECTED TV STATIONS IN THE SOUTH EAST)

USES AND IMPACT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN MARKETING TELEVISION SERVICES IN NIGERIA. (A STUDY OF SELECTED TV STATIONS IN THE SOUTH EAST)

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0      INTRODUCTION

1.1      BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The success of any organization depends largely on whether the organization recognizes the most crucial aspect of business, that is, the customers or consumers satisfaction. Consumers satisfaction is said to be the cornerstone of marketing concept (Kotler, 1975). Marketing tends to mean different things to different people. At the simplest level, it connotes a function performed only by business organizations. However, all organizations (profit-oriented and non-profit oriented) have products they want to sell, or have some customers, and therefore, are finding “tools” to extol their virtues. For example, the manufacturing firms are in business to make profit and they make profit by meeting the demands and needs of those who want their products or services. This is where marketing comes in: ability to marry such variables as “learning what consumers want, getting it produced as per specification and selling at a profit”. Without customers, no amount of technology, good funding or operational expertise can keep the company going (Kotler, 2001). Consumer satisfaction therefore makes it necessary for an organization to be marketing oriented. The organization must not only practice marketing but it must also be effective in its practices of marketing, that is, it must use the right strategies and marketing mix to offer total product benefits and satisfaction to consumers. This is very necessary if the organization must survive, grow and remain competitive (Jones, 2005).

Contemporary marketing operations have grown beyond the original concept of perceiving the word ‘market’ only in terms of a defined location where buying and selling transactions could take place e.g. the Orie Orba Market or Ogbete Market. With the development of the means of communication (which in our own case started with the traditional modes eg. Wooden and metal gongs, flute, etc) up to this present stage when satellite transmission is in vogue, the world has now become a


‘global village’. Developing alongside, the communication industry is the business world whose operations have equally become complex in nature.

There is no doubt that Public Relations practice in Nigeria as in other developing countries has not assumed the high level of prominence prevalent in the United States of America and Europe, but its relevance and importance in organizations is steadily being recognized (Offonry, 1996). Development in business transactions enhanced by advancement in communication technology, calls for an art and experts in the art whose activities would revolve around the building of a healthy link between an organization and its publics, both internal and external (Osuji, 1990). To achieve this organizational objective, public relations employs tools of communication like person-to-person contact, use of mass media, press releases, press conferences various publications such as house journals, house magazines, newsletters, pamphlets, tours and visits, exhibitions and trade fairs, etc. All these, are deliberate efforts made at eliciting the goodwill of the various publics as well as promoting the corporate image of an organization (Nwosu, 1990). One may at this point ask: what relevance has Public Relations in Marketing? The British Institute of Public Relations states that: “Public Relations is a planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics”. From the above definition, one could infer that the major thrust of PR functions focuses on the creation and maintenance of goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its ‘publics’. Publics here refer to those other organizations, and individuals and groups that enjoy the good services of a particular organization.

Another tempting question at this point could be – why the goodwill and why the mutual understanding between an organization and its publics? Embedded in this inquiry lies the answer to the relevance of Public Relations and its dynamic relationship to marketing. When we realize that ‘PR is not just a supplement to advertising, but an aid to the entire marketing strategy’, then the picture begins to


crystallize. The vital link between Public Relations and marketing deals not only on products and services but also with the publics.

As a management function, PR is interested in the production of goods and services; it is interested in the marketing of the organizations products and services; PR is equally concerned with the consumption of goods and services (Onah, 1996, in Nwosu and Ekwo, 1996). The consumption of goods and services does not finally end the public relations efforts. Interestingly, it extends this effort further at determining the consumption pattern, behaviours, attitudes and opinions of consumers with the sole aim of relating back to the organization for greater efficiency in the production of goods and services ((Onah, 1996, in Nwosu and Ekwo, 1996). This, it does through research. This process of reaching the consumer and relating back to the organization – encourages and lubricates the two-way communication system upon which the PR functions and activities are anchored.

In product marketing, testing the consumers attitude is very essential so as to constantly satisfy customers and increase sales volume. This is even more important in the case of competing products, where each competing brand strikes at distinctive quality in order to outshine its competitors and thus control the greater portion of the market ((Onah, 1996, in Nwosu and Ekwo, 1996),, In this case the marketing communication mix which aims at effectively reaching the consumer plays a very vital role. In this sense PR deals with the concept of total communication in the process of hitting the organizational target. Kanu Offonry, contributing in the book “Marketing in Nigeria’ summarized the PR use to marketing as to include: Projecting the corporate image of an organization; Providing services to management; Promoting effective government relations by understanding and interpreting national aspirations and objectives; Helping to promote the product.

The practice of effective marketing is considered to be very crucial in all organizations. A television house should practice effective marketing in order for viewers and advertisers to patronize its channel. This is important today in Nigeria,


where viewers and advertisers have become very sophisticated and selective in their choice of channel to watch or patronize. The practice of effective marketing is also very important because of its role or impact on the achievement of an organization’s corporate objective. The promulgation of the Media Ownership Decree, which allows private individuals to run and operate broadcast media (radio and television) has introduced another dimension in media competition. It becomes imperative that every television house should undertake effective marketing of its services or else, it will loose its viewers and customers.

In the South East, Zone of Nigeria, the following television houses compete for viewers and advertisers: the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), which is owned by the federal government, and has a stations in all the five states of the South East; Broadcasting Corporation of Abia Television (BCATV), owned by the Abia state government; Anambra Broadcasting Service Television (ABSTV), owned by the Anambra state government; Ebonyi Broadcasting Service Television (EBSTV), owned by the state government; Enugu State Broadcasting Services (ESBS), owned by the state government; Minaj Broadcasting Services, (MBS), which is privately owned; and African Independent Television (AIT), equally privately owned.

This research work is a study of selected TV Stations in the South East. These are the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Network Centre, Enugu; the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS); and Africa Independent Television (AIT). These three organizations are examined in order to determine and establish whether or not they apply public relations in their marketing activities; and if they do, what role public relations plays in their marketing activities

1.2      STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:

The approval of the Federal Government to private individuals to own and operate media outfit, marked an important era in T.V Broadcasting. This development has brought about intensive competition between the federal owned, state-owned, and privately owned T.V stations. This competition is necessitated by the desire by these media houses to survive and remain functional. Unfortunately, most of these media


houses lack what it takes to market their services very well, attract more customers, and keep their customers perpetually loyal. These qualities, which range from quality services; good customer relations; effective and efficient research and development; clearer audio and video signals; widest possible reach for market penetration; completive discounts and rebates; good and interesting programming; good presenters; constant and up-to-date information on the progress and plans of the organizations to the stakeholders and customers etc. are all Public Relations functions, which when observed play a very significant role in marketing of TV services. Non-appreciation of and therefore, the non-application of Public Relations strategies either be due to ignorance of PR significance to marketing by many TV stations, of lack of interest, or inadequate funding on the part of TV stations for PR tools and strategies.

1.3      OBJECTIVE OF STUDY:

The objectives of this research include:

i.                   To examine the role of Public Relations in Marketing

ii.                 To determine and establish the role of Public Relations in the marketing of T.V Services

iii.               To x-ray the Public Relations strategies adopted by television stations in marketing their services.

iv.               To ascertain if NTA, ESBS, and AIT apply Public Relations in marketing their Services

v.                 To determine the impact Public Relations has made in marketing the services of the NTA, ESBS, and AIT

vi.               To determine whether inadequate funding, ignorance of PR significance and lackadaisical attitude (lack of interest in PR) are major factors constraining the effective application of Public Relations by T.V. Stations in the marketing of their services

vii.             To make recommendations based on the findings of the research.

1.4      RESEARCH QUESTIONS


a.     Does Public Relations play any role in marketing?

b.     Does Public Relations play any significant role in marketing of T.V Services?

c.      What Public Relations strategies can a T.V Station adopt in the marketing of its Services?

d.     Have NTA, ESBS, and AIT adopted Public Relations in the marketing of their Services?

e.      What impact has Public Relations made in marketing the services of NTA, ESBS, and AIT?

f.      Are inadequate funding, ignorance of PR significance and lackadaisical attitude major factors constraining T.V. Stations from effectively applying Public Relations techniques and strategies in the marketing of their Services?

1.5 FORMULATION OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESES The researcher put forward the following hypotheses:

1.                 Ho:  Public Relations does not play any significant role in the marketing of

T.V.    Services

Hi:      Public Relations plays significant roles in the marketing of T.V. Services

2.                Ho: NTA, ESBS, and AIT do not apply Public Relations in the marketing of their Services

Hi:      NTA, ESBS, and AIT apply Public Relations in the marketing of their Services

3.                Ho: Public Relations has made little or no impact in the T.V. Services marketing of NTA, ESBS, and AIT.

Hi       Public Relations has made great impact in the marketing of T.V.

Services of NTA, ESBS, and AIT.

4.                Ho: Inadequate funding; ignorance of PR significance; and lackadaisical attitude are no major factors constraining the application of Public Relations strategies in marketing T.V. Services.


Hi:      Inadequate funding; ignorance of PR significance; and lackadaisical attitude are major factors constraining the application of Public Relations strategies in marketing T.V. Services.

1.6      SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY


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