These questions will help you prepare for the class discussion. Expect to do outside reseach on all cases. These case questions serve as a guide to independent research. These are not the questions to be handed in!
- What is the good in the market that Fox is entering? Who are the suppliers and demanders of this good? (Careful...these are tricky questions in media markets!) It may help to think about goods and complementary goods.
- What does a television network do? How does it make its money?
- Who are buyers, input suppliers, substitutes? Are there barriers to entry? What are the complementary goods? Who supplies inputs for complementary goods? What is the nature of price competition? Why did price competition not erode the networks profits?
- Why were the three networks historically so profitable? Why did price competition not erode the networks profits?
- How and why did network profitability change during the 1980s?
- Do changes in industry profitability make entry more or less attractive? Why?
- How did Fox "fit" with News Corporation's other operations? Were there synergies from launching another network for News Corp?
- Were there actions that the established networks could have taken to slow entry?
- What is the product? Careful!
- Who are the sellers and buyers? Do buyers have bargaining power?
- What are the substitutes?
- Who are potential entrants?
- What are the inputs and who supplies them? Are they competitively supplied?
- What is the nature of price competition?
- What are the key elements of Enterprise's cost and product positioning strategy? Does Enterprise operate in more than one niche?
- Should a major competitor take on Enterprise in the replacement segment of the car rental industry? If so, which firm and why? If not, why not?
- Pick a potential entrant to this niche. You have been hired as a consultant to this firm. Your task is to make recommendations regarding whether and how this firm should enter. What tables or graphs would you want to see before you make recommendations?
(You are encouraged to draw on outside sources - in particular, reports of the Prince of Egypt’s success around the time it opened in November/December 1998. Variety’s and Hollywood Reporter’s web sites are useful, but there are many possible sources.)
- Basic questions: What is the product? Is animation a separate product? What substitutes exist? Is price competition vigorous?
- Analyze the sources of Disney's competitive advantage in the animated feature movie industry prior to Katzenberg's departure. Which are the most important and which are sustainable?
- Disney is described as "increasingly assertive" at defending its dominance. What evidence exists for this claim?
- Consider Dreamworks' product positioning strategy in this industry. How is it related to Dreamworks' and Disney's respective competitive advantages?
- Suppose you have been hired as special assistant to Steven Spielberg at Dreamworks -- on the business end. The creative staff has several potential projects outlined on storyboards. These differ in the audience to which they appeal, but all of them are potential hits if Disney were not in the market. You and Spielberg are scheduled for lunch at Spago next week. He wants your recommendations, accounting for the fact that Disney is indeed in the market. What instructions do you give your research staff?
- What is Dreamworks’ product positioning strategy with respect to “The Prince of Egypt.” What are the important trade-offs inherent in their positioning decision? What other elements of their overall strategy supported their positioning strategy? Which elements of this strategy proved to be successful, and which were not?
- It is 1972. Should EMI enter the market alone, via a joint venture, or through licensing? What information is needed to make this decision? Identify the key tradeoffs and how to mitigate the downside of the choices.
- Analyze the medical imaging industry, both in terms of its short-term and long-run profitability and structure. What position is likely to be most profitable over the long-term?
- It is 1976. What is EMI's current competitive position? Identify the major features of EMI's strategy and EMI's advantages and disadvantages relative to existing entrants and major medical x-ray products producers like Picker and GE.
- Evaluate EMI's success at positioning itself in the market, relative to the position you identified as likely to be the most profitable.
- Hospitals are increasingly choosing scanners on the basis of scan time, which you believe to be the wrong feature relative to image quality. Should EMI invest in short scan times anyway? What other options are available, and how do they compare?
- EMI faces an organizational crisis, with British and American segments of the company working at cross-purposes. What major options does EMI have?
The Household Furniture Industry in 1986
- Buyers, and Distribution
- Potential entrants
- Is the production end of the industry attractive?
- Can a firm profitably rationalize production, reducing costs or increasing value?
- Have firms tried prior to Masco?
- Is the distribution end of the business an attractive point to enter?
- What is happening in furniture distribution in 1986?
- Who are some larger distributors today, and what did they offer to the market?
- Characterize Masco's acquisition strategy prior to its diversification into household furniture.
- What are Masco's competitive advantages? How does it add value to its acquisitions?
- How can Masco leverage these competitive advantages in the household furniture industry?
GE vs. Westinghouse in Large Turbine Generators
- Is price competition strongly rivalrous? Why or why not?
- Identify pro's and con's for the following strategies
- Product standardization
- Product differentiation
- Eliminating price book
- Tacit collusion in price (By what means?)
- Exit or harvest
- Lobbying government (for what?)
- In 1961, GE's share increased substantially. Is GE responsible for the price fall? If so, was it a good strategy for GE?
- Is long-distance electricity transportation (high tension wires) a complement, or substitute? Should the turbine producers encourage or discourage increased network size?
- In 1961, General Electric offered a "most favored customer clause," in which every customer is offered the best terms available to any customer, with public verification provided by an independent auditing firm. Identify and evaluate Westinghouse possible responses.
It may be important to know that the costs of serving larger customers are less than the costs of serving smaller customers, although by a modest amount. Moreover, the industry has a history of collusion and faces intense scrutiny by government antitrust authorities.