On Writing Cases

What are the highlights of theSanmarg case?

RB: The case is titled “The Media Industry: The Road Ahead for SanmargHindi Language Daily”. Given that teaching cases on newspaper or for that matter on the media industry is pretty much uncommon, the case details on the newspaper business. The case narrative- with sections on the newspaper industry trends and its competitive landscape is centred on the decision dilemma of its chief protagonist who is all set to find a suitable strategy to sustain the legacy of thisseptuagenarian newspaper.

Why did you think of doing this particular case?

RB: On a candid note, I never considered writing cases till about 2014. All this while I have been adequately exposed to the case method of teaching and did acknowledge the effectiveness of it as a teaching tool. It was after attending a case teaching workshop that I seriously thought of writing a case intended for a global audience. Having worked in media houses, I was quite sure that the first case I write has to be a media case. It was rationally guided by my practical exposure and connect with the industry that would help me secure, assimilate and logically write a coherent piece that would make for a great class discussion. Hence, the first one I wrote was this case on Sanmarg- the largest selling Hindi newspaper of eastern India which got published by Thunderbird School of Global Management of Arizona State University and is indexed by Harvard Business School Publishing for worldwide distribution.

What has been your experiences from teaching this case?

RB: The case was developed keeping in mind the learning objectives of foundation courses of marketing and marketing strategy in a business school curriculum or even elective courses on product or brand strategy. Introducing the case with a brief background on ‘India as being the only country in the world where newspaper business is still growing’, generates instant interest among students to delve deeper into the case. Moreover, most students have a first time exposure on how the media industry business model works, which is quite different from the conventional business models.

Incidentally I have had the opportunity to teach the Sanmarg case not only to management students in India, but also to international students in a French public university. While the learning objectives remain same across the student groups, the perspectives of the students differ across markets. In fact, every time I teach this case, I come back with very interesting insights on how the new gen perceives this very traditional form of media. This gives me a first-hand view and feel of how the trends are shaping up the future of this industry, and what’s in store.

Nevertheless, the case works great in terms of striking a natural connect with the students as they can easily relate to the dilemma facing the changing dynamics of the industry in terms of the emergence and growing reach of the new media. Moreover, the case carries an informative teaching note with applications of concepts and models like PLC, Porter’s 5 Forces, Product levels, Value Chain Ansoff’s that the facilitator can pick to suit his own class plan. Infact, given the wide scope of the Sanmarg case, each time I have thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with the delivery of case.

Case Summary

The case presents the dilemma of Vivek Gupta, Director SanmargPvt Limited as he contemplates the road ahead for the 70 year old Hindi daily-Sanmarg. Headquartered in Kolkata and catering to the Hindi literate of west Bengal, Sanmarg also came out with state level editions from Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand. The 16 page daily newspaper had stayed constant in its offering and only lately had come out with an on-line version. Was this consistency a strength or did the customer seek variety? Was it time to reinvent the newspaper? Or would it be easier to tap the untapped potential of neighboring states? Digital new age media and English dailies eying the language market demanded quick action. Makeover or market expansion, what was the right path for Sanmarg?

Publication Details
Pub Date: Dec 1, 2016
Discipline: Sales
Subjects: Entrepreneurship, Competitive strategy, Internet marketing, Brand management
Source: Thunderbird School of Global Management
Product #: TB0463-PDF-ENG
Industry: Media & telecommunications
Geography: India
Length: 18 page(s)

Basu R. and Sondhi N.,(2016 Dec), Media Industry: The Road Ahead For Sanmarg Hindi Language Daily (Teaching Note included), Thunderbird Case Series, Thunderbird , a unit of the Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise (available on HBSP collection) (DOI Harvard Business Publishing Education