Independent news and media plc (INM), headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is a leading newspaper and media company whose primary line of activities includes printing and publishing national, metropolitan, regional and provincial newspapers in the Island of Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia (Yahoo finance, 2013). However, the company’s main interest lies in the island of Ireland. The company has significant shareholding in APN news and media which is an Australasian publicly listed company. INM has market-leading newspaper positions in Ireland as well as in Northern Ireland thereby establishing a very strong and rapidly growing digital presence that includes market leading digital positions in each of their main primary markets with more than 35 classified, editorial as well as transactional sites. Alongside having a shareholding in APN news and media, the company also has a shareholding in the daily free newspaper ‘Metro Herald’ as well as the national daily tabloid title ‘The Irish Daily Star’. INM is by far the biggest wholesale newspaper distributor and newspaper contract printer on the Island of Ireland. As far as its operations in Australasia are concerned, as mentioned above, INM has a 29% investment in APN News & Media Limited which is listed in the Australian Securities exchange (ASX). APN is the leading regional newspaper publisher in Australia and the largest newspaper publisher in New Zealand. The company is also the largest radio operator (50% owned that includes over 140 radio stations and also owns 50% of Australia’s largest outdoor advertising operators. APN also enjoys leading outdoor advertising position in Hong Kong. INM realizes significant value from its stake in APN news and media. In an aggregate, INM’s gross assets are worth around €322 million. The company’s aggregate revenue is €350 million and it employs close to 1000 people worldwide (Independent news and media, 2013).

Characteristics, Growth and Competition in the industry

Independent news and media plc belongs to the media industry. This is in complete alignment with the line of activities it is involved in. The line of activities involved in this industry is television, radio broadcasting, printing and publishing (newspapers, magazines, and books), music and films. These activities have their own unique characteristics, nuances and distinct models that companies tend to implement. Of the line of activities mentioned above, Independent news and media is mainly involved in newspaper printing, publishing and distributing and is also involved in radio broadcasting. Companies belonging in this industry operate either in a monopoly environment where the products and services in a particular region are controlled by one company or in an oligopoly environment where the control of products and services are in the hands of few companies. Oligopoly occurs mainly in the publishing industry and finally there is the monopolistic environment where multiple companies offer the same services and products competing with each other in terms of price and quality. Independent news and media mainly operates in oligopolistic environment with few key competitors. Over the last few decades a gradual increase in the conglomeration of media ownership is being witnessed that is allowing companies to realize economies of scale that previously was tough to achieve. Such has been the case of Independent news and media. The economies of mass media industry have become an issue of macroeconomic proportion.

Companies employ diverse strategies in order to raise revenues for the services that they provide. Two sources of revenue stream that plays a crucial role in ensuring the financial stability of a media company are consumers and advertising. Such is the case of Independent News and media who always catered to achieve a larger customer base by expanding their line of operations as well as expanding their business into other countries. In practice, companies belonging to this industry combine these two factors in order to have a flexible stream of income. Print media falls into three major categories: newspapers, books and magazines. Independent news and media’s major business operation is newspaper printing, publishing and distribution. The newspaper printing industry is more inclined towards operating in local monopolies and oligopolies. This is particularly there are few local news sources. The section of classified advertisement makes up a substantial revenue generating source. Such is also the case of Independent news and media. The company entails a mix of first copy costs and relatively lower marginal costs. The cost of newsprint and distributions is normally low whereas the company has to bear relatively high editorial and journalistic costs. It sometimes becomes very difficult for a company to set a price of a newspaper in the long run. This is particularly because price of newspaper print goes through cyclical ups and downs. The highest that Independent news and media has to incur as far as their business activity is concerned is the editorial and administrative overheads. The company has been able to combine many of its back office activities such as administration and finance particularly because it owns more than one newspaper. Alongside printing and publishing newspapers the company also operates in the radio broadcasting sector through its shareholding in the Australasian company APN News & Media Limited. With the expansion of cable communication, radio has also become extremely consolidated. This sector is also very competitive with many new radio broadcasters trying to beat the market completion and gain competitive advantage. Independent news and media also implements a similar strategy. Its 29% shareholding in ANP gives it an access to 140 radio stations and other major outdoor advertising operators in Australia who can be used in order to effectively market the products and services offered by the company.

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