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The WNZ Media Corporation Case Study In the late 1990's, the WNZ Media Corporation, then an international chain of newspapers and magazines with...

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The WNZ Media Corporation Case Study In the late 1990’s, the WNZ Media Corporation , then an international chain of newspapers and magazines with publications in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia media markets, and with well over two billion dollars in stock market value, experienced a steep decline in its readership globally. The five-year forecasts coming from its regional business units suggested that the future for business as usual was not too rosy either. Subsequent analyses of consumer trends suggested that the advent of an internet-savvy consumer was creating both business opportunities and a culture of digital information consumption that was by-passing WNZ . According to WNZ ’s CEO, Zackary Michaelson, the organization’s long-term plan included: … entrepreneurial approach to information and media production design, creation, and distribution where the Internet and other emerging global information technologies would play a commanding role….At the same time WNZ will refocus its product offerings towards younger, more high-tech oriented consumers….And since time is of the essence, we plan to leverage our current market position and stock value to rapidly acquire the breadth of global capabilities required to compete in the Internet Age. Expanding the Business To understand the possible causes of the decline of WNZ one must first understand its traditional business processes. WNZ began as a major newsprint company, collecting news, writing stories and editorials, and selling ads and reader subscriptions. Over time, WNZ transformed itself into a multi-media giant, distributing “free” newspapers like Boston’s Metro as well as standard subscription-based daily and weekly newspapers and weekly and monthly magazines in major urban markets, world-wide to its English- speaking audiences. More importantly, WNZ created an array of Web sites that disseminated local, regional and national news and other information. These sites operated two pricing models, view for free with advertising and view for a fee (with special value-added content) and less advertising. In the 1990s, WNZ Media went on a ten-year strategic and well-researched buying frenzy that left many of its competitors in the dust, acquiring cable television production companies, satellite radio stations, and multi-media design firms in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. During that same period, the corporation reduced the number of its paper-based publications, learning how to produce and distribute digital content over the Internet and via broadband, and how to make nice profits in the process. As the firm expanded and acquired new companies, its backend processes and application specific (functional) software became more diverse and less integrated. prepared for MISM 2301 by rmk and nd, last updated 070910 Page 1
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The WNZ Media Corporation Case Study These developments made it difficult for management to collect timely and accurate data from WNZ ’s various locations across the globe, and it pushed up the total cost of ownership for IT. It also impacted information sharing across the enterprise. Designing and Producing Information WNZ designs, produces and distributes high quality sports, entertainment, and news content. Its team of highly skilled journalists and program directors seek out and collect information concerning interesting, engaging, and timely events; its camera and video crews capture footage on site; its experienced editors cut and edit this footage and related informational content; and its producers ensure that everything comes together in quality programs, delivered on schedule and in keeping with market demand. The video footage is one of the most engaging types of media but it is also the most expensive to produce. For example, the production process for a typical television broadcasting firm accounts for fully half of the operational costs, excluding licensing costs and cost of personnel. The leadership team expects that the deployment of an end-to-end digital production process will radically reduce costs and help the firm expand more aggressively into new markets while reducing original production as well as content reuse and repurposing costs. In the considered view of WNZ insiders, new digital production process would afford producers, editors, and journalists ready access to content located anywhere within the WNZ organization at anytime. Once the proper content is located, the aforementioned production system would enable the fabrication of products for either live distribution via WNZ cable or satellite channels or via WNZ content-streaming Web sites. Production locations around the world would also benefit from the seamless sharing of these digital archives. In response to the requests of subscription-paying customers, the organization’s Web sites were strengthened to provide more personalize products and features. Finally, the overall plan called for the expansion of WNZ e-commerce Web sites to sell pay-per-view magazine, book, music and movie downloads to consumers. New Product Lines WNZ ’s new lines of business included premium, pay-per-view Web sites, cable and satellite radio programming, downloadable media products from past releases, and dynamic, real-time “community” sites for the entertainment and education of the now vast base of world-wide WNZ content consumers. These changing circumstances also allowed for more subscriber participation in the creation and design process. In addition, other Web services allowed the public to submit content of their own, thus allowing the WNZ personnel to shape these contributions as well as material of their own to create offerings to feed the seemingly insatiable demand for WNZ products and services. To complement these IT-enabled new services, process changes and new ways of thinking within WNZ production departments fostered opportunities to leverage individual pieces of content across many different platforms and “products” - either through the simple reuse of content or by repackaging WNZ content to produce news and event compilations, retrospectives, and even computer and Web-based games. prepared for MISM 2301 by rmk and nd, last updated 070910 Page 2
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