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Executive Summary

The company is an icon of press freedom. The New York Times masthead is instantly recognizable around the world. It is a trusted brand when it comes to journalism. It is highly valuable source of reliable news information. However, print publication is in decline. It is due the existence of non-traditional media competitors. Advertisers have found an alternative means of delivering advertising content and it is negatively affecting the profitability of The New York Times.

In order to survive these trying times the company must learn to embrace digital technology as well as collaborate with established companies like Google and Facebook in order to interact with hundreds of millions of users that would be impossible to accomplish using traditional means.

Mission

The purpose of the newspaper is written confidently in each daily issue and it says: “All the news that’s fit to print” (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2009, p.237). It is a statement that encapsulates the commitment to print news and to inform the public of the important things that the public needed to know.

It provided differentiation from other newspaper publishers because it is easier to sell newspapers rather than to adhere to strict journalistic standards. This explains the steady rise of The New York Times from a fledgling company into a globally recognized brand.

External Analysis

Using the 5 forces model the problems of The New York Times can be understood in a more scientific way. Looking at the first factor one can see the significance of the tough competition that the company faces in the newspaper publishing industry. The presence of three giant media companies like Gannet Co, Inc., The Washington Post Company and News Corporation is enough to take a major slice of the market share.

In addition these three companies are capitalized much better than The New York Times and as a result the company owned by the Ochs-Sulzberger cannot mount a serious counter-attack to recoup losses and increase its circulation and of course the advertisers willing to pay significant amounts of money for publishers with millions of subscribers.

The only positive thing that reduces the impact of The New York Times’ problems is the fact that it is difficult for new entrants to complicate the competition even further. It is extremely difficult for competitors to set-up a traditional publishing company.

It is cost-prohibitive. Based on the significant decline of the earning potential of print publication, it would be close to impossible to find investors willing to spend money on this kind of enterprise.

When it comes to the bargaining power of suppliers the company has to worry about the quality of the writers and editors under its employ. The New York Times has the bargaining power over writers and editors because of the economic downturn and the difficulty of making money in this industry means that the publishers can negotiate with writers and editors for lower pay.

However, this is the only silver lining left for The New York Times because when it comes to the bargaining power of customers the company has no counter offer. The customers have the capability to choose the source of information and there is very little leverage for the company to force the customers to choose their products over that of the competition. It is not only the readers that the company has to worry about.

The bulk of the profit comes from advertisers and the same story goes because advertisers have alternative means to connect with their target market. Gone are the days when most people can only access news from reading the newspapers.

This brings the discussion to another problematic area for the publishing industry – the threat of substitute products. This comes in the form of non-traditional media competitors that can offer advertisers a more cost-efficient way of bringing advertising content to their target audience.

According to experts, “the advent of the Internet created news opportunities for other companies beyond The New York Times Company and traditional competitors… the second generation of the Internet brought with it new online mediums such as blogs, social networks and online communities that allowed for anyone to self-publish for the world to see” (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2009, p.243). This is a problem that has to be dealt with soon.

The presence of non-traditional media competitors is an obvious threat to The New York Times Company because it draws away rich advertising clients into alternative forms of mass media communication.

On the other hand the presence of non-traditional means of broadcasting information is an opportunity for the company to evolve into non-print media and transform itself into a digital company that can connect to its target market via digital technology. It is possible for company to partner with Google.

As of the moment Google is making money by simply pointing users to the news content found in The New York Times online news.

Internal Analysis

Circulation unit sales are down as well as well as advertising related revenue (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2009, p.244). This is the lifeblood of a typical newspaper publishing company and when the well has dried up, then there is nothing that can be done except to post losses and the value of the company plummets. The money for newspaper subscription has been diverted to pay for Internet connection.

If the decline in revenue is not enough The New York Times Company made unforced errors when it began to acquire companies that are nonperforming. For instance the company has unprofitable holdings in The Boston Globe. The company spent $500 million to acquire mediocre companies and there is no need to explain that these are ill-advised acquisitions because the company is heavily in debt.

Competitive Advantage

The New York Times Company is not without options. At first glance it seems that everything went wrong for the company when the second generation Internet technology was embraced by the general public. The remaining competitive advantage of this company can be found in its reputation as well as the quality of writers and editors under their employ.

This is a trusted brand and people will not complain if they can get access to news reports from this company as compared to blogs and amateur reporters. This is an asset that the company cannot afford to misuse.

Strategic Alternatives

The company can leverage its talented pool of writers and editors to provide high-quality content that cannot be matched by non-traditional media competitors. This simply means that when a news item is released from The New York Times website it carries more weight as compared to the information that can be gleaned from blogs and social networking sites.

The company can forge alliances and business partnerships with established names like Google and Facebook in order to have access to millions of users are beyond the subscription list of The New York Times.

Recommendations

One of the major keys to success is in the ability of corporate leaders to use what the company possess that non-traditional media competitors do not have access to. It is a rich pool of talent that can go after news worthy information, write it down and publish it.

Although the idea of publishing has been redefined after the digital revolution it must be pointed out that computers and even amateur writers cannot reach the level of competence that The New York Times writers and editors are able to produce on a consistent basis.

Therefore, the company must find ways to publish news in a digital format. By collaborating with companies like Google and Facebook while at the same time improving the quality of their website the company can leverage what it has and connect to hundreds of millions of people all over the world. This is easier said than done.

The next key to success is to persuade established Internet based companies that they must focus on what they do best and leave the content to The New York Times. This will free up Google and Facebook to develop applications that can increase the number of users while they are assured that the quality of news content remains high because they have full access to The New York Times.

The ability to leverage their talented pool of writers and editors is a sustainable competitive advantage because the company has been doing research, news reporting and writing for close to a hundred years. The company knows how to hire reporters, writers, and editors and train them and keep them.

This is the company’s major competitive advantage and if this can be used through the collaboration of another organization then The New York Times is on the right path to profitability and respect.

Time is running out for the company and therefore it would be best to execute these alternative strategies in the next four years. By 2015 digital technology can be transformed into something that investors can no longer recognize. For instance news information can be easily accessed through mobile devices.

There will come a time when newspapers are no longer made of paper but plastic that has micro-circuits and microprocessors that enable it to receive and transmit data. The New York Times Company must begin its strategic alignment with established companies that are experts in digital technology before the year 2015.

Exhibit A

Table 1. SWOT Analysis

Reference

Hitt, M., Ireland, D., & Hoskisson, R. (2009). Strategic Management Competitiveness and Globalization: Cases. OH: Cengage Learning.

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