Year

2000

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Graduate School of Journalism

Abstract

This thesis examines the relationship between business level strategy and the organisational success of newspaper types—National, Metropolitan, Regional, Suburban and Ethnic. The newspaper industry is examined in the context of demographic changes, technological innovations, and the business level strategies employed by newspaper types.

The thesis proposes that newspapers need to move away from using mixed strategies to focused strategies to successfully compete in an industry dominated by desktop publishing .and new print technologies, Pay TV and the Internet.

Porter defines three generic strategies (refer Figure 1.0), (Porter, 1980;1985):

1. Cost leadership — seeking to be low cost producers • 2. Differentiation — seeking to be unique in an industry along some dimensions that are widely valued by buyers. • 3. Focus — seeking to concentrate on one or more narrow market segments. The target segments either have buyers with unusual needs or else the production and delivery system differs from others in the target segment. • 3A. Cost Focus — seeking a cost advantage in its target segment. • 3B. Differentiation Focus — seeking differentiation in its target segment.

This thesis builds on Porter's definition and defines: • a focused strategy as being used when a newspaper uses either Porter's 3A or 3B strategy. • a mixed strategy as being used when a newspaper pursues a focused strategy across multiple market segments.

To analyse newspaper performance, newspapers are classified into five types and two data sets established: (a) newspaper publication frequencies and circulation data from 1982 to 1995 and; (b) population sorted by newspaper type from 1982 to 1995.

The two data sets are combined to develop a new valid measure of newspaper performance — Circulation per Type per Person per Year (CTPY). CTPY standardises newspaper performance against their target market segment so that comparative performances of newspapers and time series analysis of newspaper performance can be made. CTPY scores are calculated as follows — For a newspaper type, e.g. National Newspapers, CTPY adds the overall annual circulation for each ofthe newspapers within the type and then divides this total by the target population to produce a CTPY score. The CTPY standardised index can also be used to compare newspapers across different markets or newspapers within a market For each individual newspaper e.g. The Sydney Morning Herald, sorted by Type (National, Metropolitan, Regional, Suburban and Ethnic), CTPY takes the actual circulation figures (daily, weekly, etc) for the year and adds them to produce a total circulation figure for the year. This annual total is then divided by the total population of their target market to produce an individual newspaper's CTPY score.

This new measure (CTPY) was developed by the author and is used to analyse newspaper performance over the fourteen years ofthe study. The results show that the overall copies per person per year of newspapers has fallen by 22 percent. National newspapers are classified as using a focused strategy and have dropped their CTPY by 8 percent. Metropolitan newspapers, which face significant competition from Suburban newspapers, are classified as using a mixed strategy and have dropped their CTPY by 46 percent. Regional newspapers, which resemble Metropolitan newspapers, but do not face competition from Suburban newspapers, are classified as using a mixed strategy, and have increased their CTPY by 8 percent. Suburban newspapers are classified as using a focused strategy and have increased their CTPY by 23 percent. Ethnic newspapers are classified as using a focused strategy and have increased their CTPY by 136 percent.

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