The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

AN OPEN MEDIA MANAGEMENT CASE STUDY

‘Voice of the Nation’ is a leading media house of the country. Headquartered in Mumbai, the company is in its 40th year of operation. The company has a good presence in print media, electronic media, e-papers and multimedia. Its turnover was around Rs. 1000 crore in the last fiscal. It got a foreign equity partner, ‘Anderson Media’, in 2005 with a very good valuation.

Back in the year 2000, the company felt the need to expand. It identified the boom in the Hindi newspaper market and decided to enter it in Northern India in the wave of media boom in the country that started with the post-1991 economic liberalizations. It decided to launch the Hindi newspaper, ‘Rashtra Vani’ starting from the national capital in the first phase and then taking it to the important cities of UP and Bihar, the heartland of Hindi in the second phase. It came out successfully in the pilot run in the national capital with a second largest market share. It did well in UP and Bihar too with cornering the second largest market share.

But, in one of the largest cities of UP, when it got a potentially rewarding chance of dethroning the largest read daily, ‘Awaaz’, in the year 2004, it couldn’t cash it. It is to be noted that ‘Awaaz’ is the market leader as per the circulation figures of Hindi newspapers in the country. This city operation was launched in the year 2001 with outsourcing the production to a local business house. Gradually it became the second important player by the end of the year 2003. The gap narrowed in the year 2004 and ultimately in the later half of the year 2004; it had the golden chance to become the most significant player in the city.

But it couldn’t happen. The top management of the company did not allow the increase in the production of number of copies. Cost constraint was quoted as the underlying reason. Local operations of the company have to pay Re. 1 for each copy to the press owner in addition to the paper-prints and the ink. It led the company to adopt a tight policy to reduce the wastage in the form of copies and also to keep a check on the budget allocation for the production for a particular year.

By the end of the year 2004, local operations were reaching to the level of the stipulated budget for the city edition. But, at some points in the later half of the year 2004, when the demand of circulation figures reached a new high surpassing the market leader, the top management didn’t approve the demand of the local management to have more number of copies as costs involved in it (increasing the production, i.e., the number of copies) were making it significantly higher than the stipulated resources allocation for the city operations in that fiscal. The company was not in the mood of having a balance sheet showing loss on any account in view of getting a good valuation by a good equity partner.


But, by doing so the company has lost possible advantages that it could have got. The biggest one was of the getting psychological advantage (high employee morale) like if it could be done at one center (an important center), it was possible to replicate it in the other centers too. Also, it would certainly have increased the advertising performance of the Hindi operations of the company as getting the advertising is directly linked with the circulation figure, especially in the case of local advertising in addition to the national advertising. Now even after five years the company has not been able to replicate its performance of the year 2004 and back (which at that time, seemed to be on a sustainable track keeping in mind the overall performance of the Hindi operations of the ‘Voice of the Nation’). To make the things worse, in the last quarter, the city edition has seen a decline in the circulation figures.

  • What is the possible reason behind the recent decline in the circulation figures?
  • Was it a right move to not to allow the increase in production on the part of the top management? If yes, how, if no, why not?
  • Have the long-term gains been sacrificed in this case? (What could be the possible long-term gains?)
  • Does it question the production outsourcing in print operations? If yes, how, if no, why not?
  • What inferences can be drawn in regard to the delegation and decentralization of the decision-making process in this case?

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