San Phillipa Herald Case
The assembled staff sat at the ornate conference table.
Joei LaMesa momentarily looked out the window at the city
of San Phillipa.
San Phillipa was a medium sized city in California's
Like most American cities,
there was only one newspaper,
the San Phillipa Herald.
Just a few years ago there were three,
including two morning papers and one afternoon paper.
But the lack of competition didn't make Joei feel any better.
Readership was down and getting lower every year.
Not only that, the owner was beginning to get worried
about the potential for competition from online services.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the planned
foray of the San Phillipa Herald into cyberspace.
Joei wasn't really sure what the term cyberspace actually meant,
but she knew that the owner wanted the Herald to
establish a presence in cyberspace, wherever that was.
As publisher, Joei knew that the job of deciding
what the Herald should do in cyberspace would fall to
The meeting quickly turned argumentative.
A new editor named Mark made a proposal
that the Herald
produce a snappy, irreverent "interactive 'zine"
called the San Phillipa Phile.
The Phile would emphasize
games, interactive chat sessions between readers, and
Another veteran editor, Jane, argued that the Herald
its online presence after its paper version.
"Our unique advantage online is no different
from our regular paper version.
As a company, what we do is produce content.
We should provide the
same kinds of news stories that we do in the regular
paper. That way we can utilize all the quality
reporters we have hired," Jane smiled and said.
"Not only that," she continued, "our online version
should use the same graphics and the same logo as our
That way we can leverage our brand image
in this new format."
But Mark was just as adamant.
"This project should be different than our
The look should be modern, the format should
be more computer-ish.
This product shouldn't
remind readers of a newspaper at all."
Jane wasn't finished.
She looked at Joei and waved her hands gracefully.
"We have invested millions of dollars in our image.
Why should we throw all of that away? "
Here she made the motion of dollars floating to the ground
with her hands.
"The Herald's name will help this new thing.
And not only that,
it could work the other way around.
Tthe online investment could be a great ad for the Herald. "
Joei thanked everyone for their input and walked down the
hall to her office.
Various media companies have started to explore the potential
of the Internet as an outlet.
You might recognize some of the names from the first list
below, which consists of established magazines and newspapers venturing into
the online world.
The second list consists of newer companies which are exploring the boundaries of networked hypertext as an entertainment medium.
Consumers choose media all the time.
(a) They decide which TV channel to look at.
(b) They decide which radio station to listen to.
(c) They decide which magazine to buy at the
How do these three kinds of decisions differ?
- Describe the similarities and differences between magazines and
the World Wide Web.
The World Wide Web is the Internet service you are using right now to read this case.
- While the lists presented in this case are not exhaustive,
they are somewhat representative.
There seem to be more newer entities than there are older magazines.
Here is a more complete list of online magazines from the
Yahoo Entertainment: Magazines
Does it seem like a lot of magazines are not available on the Internet?
If you think so, explain why they are missing.
Are they smart to stay away?
- Describe what you believe might be a good target audience
for the Herald's online project.
Would this group be different than the group that subscribes
to the Herald?
If you said yes, how would it be different?
- One of the magazines from the first list, Time,
and one from the second list,
are actually owned by the same company,
Now, look at
their online version of
Who are they trying to appeal to with the online version of
Is it the same franchise that buys the magazine?
What kind of strategy are they using here?
- Write up a brief recommendation as to what the Herald should do.
Do you support Mark's or Jane's point of view?
Copyright 1998 by Digital Springs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.