MGT 195 – Business Policy and Strategy
Assignment: Strategic Planning at The Chronicle Gazette
Introduction: Problems in Publishing
All businesses must be concerned with the rapid pace of change we face today. No company is secure, not even the largest and most profitable. Coping with change has been a business concern since people began doing business. Recall how the arrival of automobiles put buggy whip manufacturers out of business.
Today’s pace of change is unprecedented. Consider what has happened in the retailing arena. Online retail sales went from nearly nothing in the mid-1990s to a projected $242 billion in 2010. Traditional retailing stores have been heavily affected. eBay has become a retailing behemoth enabling individuals to buy and sell goods online with total annual sales in the billions of dollars.
Or consider the fate of many dot-coms. One of the most spectacular dot-com stories – the rise and fall of AOL – illustrates how technology (telephone-based online computing) created a huge success story, and how technology (Internet email) led to a reversal of this success.
A major goal of strategic planning is to anticipate environmental changes (economic, business, political, governmental, social) and prepare the organization for dealing with them. Clearly, in this age of rapid change, all business entities should engage in some measure of strategic planning. Without it, they will have difficulty negotiating today’s turbulent business environment.
One industry that is currently suffering the destabilizing consequences of the Internet revolution is the publishing industry. Included here are textbook publishers, trade book publishers, newspaper publishers, and magazine publishers. All publishers are facing serious challenges. Revenues are down across the board. If these challenges are not handled properly, there is a good chance that a large portion of the publishing industry as we now know it will go out of business.
One challenge publishers face is dealing with the fact that information traditionally controlled by them is now freely available to the public through the Internet. Not long ago, if a homeowner wanted to place tiles on his bathroom floor, he would purchase a How-to book. Today, he goes online and encounters several sources that show how to lay tile – some even provide a video clip to illustrate the process. As a result, sales of How-to books are plunging.