A transactional advisor will be appointed by the end of this month after the company, in November last year, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mega-Choice Digital Network, the mother company of Crystal TV, to jointly produce news programmes for broadcast.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Ken Ashigbey, said at a staff durbar in Accra on Wednesday that the board of the company had approved the process.
The durbar, the last to be addressed by Mr Ashigbey before he leaves office at the end of this month, offered the opportunity for management to engage workers on the achievements and challenges of the company, as well as honour hardworking and long-serving staff.
The Managing Director said the company’s prospects were bright with its diversified businesses, including its subsidiary, GPAK, and other units— the Graphic Print Supply (GPS), Graphic Courier Service and the website, www.graphic.com.gh, all doing well.
Mr Ashigbey acknowledged that although the newspaper industry globally was struggling, it did not mean that the GCGL should fall in that situation.
“There are lots of big brands that have gone down but there are also newspaper brands that are doing very well,” he said.
He said the company’s diversified portfolios were critical to its success and cited the courier service as a unit that had exceeded its 2017 target while the GPS was also doing well.
He, however, acknowledged that the two units would need more resources to be more profitable, adding that profits from the two ventures would be reinvested into their operations.
“The media business will be profitable but it is not going to be the newspaper of old. People will not read newspapers as they did in the past. It is the reason to find new revenue sources,” he added.
Social media vs traditional media
Mr Ashigbey drew attention to the growing influence of social media which was giving traditional media a keen competition but expressed optimism that traditional media’s trump card, which was authentic and quality news, would prevail.
On debts owed the company, he said the majority of institutions indebted to the company in respect of newspaper subscription, were state institutions, adding that the company had stepped up its game to collect the revenues running into millions of cedis, and from private institutions as well.
He urged that the company should continue to work with the key vendor initiative, which allowed a main vendor to buy the newspapers from the company and then sell them on his terms to other vendors.
“If you go to Kumasi now, they (vendors) don’t owe us for the paper we sold through the key vendor, but they still owe us for newspapers sold to them in the past. The task is to send them to court to recover the money. The key vendor concept has helped us to improve collections,” he said.
He commended the staff and his peers in the management for their support during his tenure.
Taken for granted?
Earlier, the Chairman of the Graphic Local Union, Mr Henry Addo, urged management not to take the union for granted.
He conceded that the media landscape was being challenged because of keen competition, “but we should not accept the excuse that this is a worldwide phenomenon,’’ he urged.
On the debts owed the company, Mr Addo suggested that advert schedule officers, who were known by clients, should be made to collect debts which were affecting the company’s finances.
Some of the company’s long-serving management and other staff members who had served from 10 to 30 years were honoured.
They were Mr Philip Kwamena Philips, Mr Amos Ghartey, Mr Moses Narh, Mr Andrews Mensah, Mr Samuel Ansah and Mr Robert F. Adonko who had all spent 20 years with the GCGCL with Mr Henry Addo, Mr Francis Awuku and Mr Edmund Arhin, who had worked for 30 years with the company.