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Financial Planning and Competitive Publishing Strategy in a Digital World


14 – 15 November 2011 (Mon – Tue)
9.00am – 5.00pm

National Library Building
100 Victoria Street, Singapore 188064

Course Fee: $280.00

This is a past course. View upcoming courses.


This course is essential for all publishers wrestling with how to make money in a digital world.

It covers the fundamentals of good strategic planning and applies to the fast-changing digital world we’re living in. It looks at the financial implications when a business shifts from mainly print to mainly digital, showing how cash flow, investment and risk are affected as well as profitability.

You will come away with a toolkit of techniques for generating and evaluating strategy and its financial implications.


o Strategy drivers

  • The Hedgehog Concept
  • Financial drivers
  • The importance of scale

o The impact on a company P&L of shifting from print to digital

  • Risk profile from higher fixed, lower variable costs
  • Overhead considerations
  • Cash flow changes

o The strategy process

  • Internal analysis
  • External analysis
  • Strategic options
  • Evaluation

o Internal analysis

  • Distinctive capabilities
  • Competitive advantage
  • The resource-based approach to strategy vs. market-based approach

o External analysis

  • PESTLE (or STEP) analysis.
  • Competition – types and competition mapping

o Generating strategic options

  • Porter’s generic strategies
  • Marketing warfare
  • Boston matrix
  • GE/McKinsey matrix
  • Differential advantage analysis

o Dealing with disruptive technologies

  • Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma
  • Competing for the Future – Hamel and Prahalad
  • Competing with Free – Chris Anderson
  • Planning for an uncertain future – scenario planning

o Alternative business models for digital products, and their strengths and weaknesses

  • Paid-for subscriptions
  • Paid-for downloads
  • Free-to-use advertising-driven
  • “Freemium” – combination of free basic product and paid-for premium
  • Free-to-use promotional

o Evaluating options

  • Risk analysis
  • 5Ts of mitigation.
  • SFA analysis.


For publishing staff with responsibility for generating optimum profits from a list or range of lists.
Outcomes: a clear, rigorous approach to identifying where to compete and how to win.

About the Trainer: Kay Symons

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Kay Symons is a freelance publishing consultant and trainer with 30 years experience with some of the foremost educational publishers in the UK. She specialises in strategy, competitive product development, marketing and finance. Clients include publishers large and small, educational and trade, and higher education.

She worked at Harcourt (now Pearson), the UK’s largest educational publisher, for 20 years, initially as publishing director, then as Managing Director of Heinemann Secondary and Vocational for a period of rapid organic growth from 1997-2004. She was then seconded to take an international executive MBA programme at Henley Management College in 2004-5. After that, she fulfilled a number of roles working on strategic projects, as group Marketing Director and as Harcourt’s first Customer Focus Director.

Before that, Kay worked at Longman, Blackwell and Hutchinson in a variety of editorial posts, having studied English Literature at Bristol University.

Kay has also trained on publishing, marketing and financial issues for Harcourt, Oxford Brookes University and Women in Publishing as well as being a regular and popular trainer for the Publishing Training Centre for over 15 years.

Registration Details

Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis and workshop fees must be paid before the workshop. If the minimum number of participants is not met for the class, the organisers will inform all participants about possible postponement and cancellation, two weeks before the workshop date.

Cancellation & Substitution

The workshop can be cancelled or postponed two weeks before the workshop date if the minimum number of participants is not met. Participants will be fully refunded for workshops cancelled by us.

Participants who are unable to attend a workshop they have registered for are to inform us of the reason two weeks before the workshop date. They will be fully refunded in the event of extenuating and mitigating circumstances (E.g. illness, bereavement, accidents) . Those who inform us up to five (5) working days before the workshop date will receive a 50% refund. Participants can also attend another course at the same value within the same year.

Upon registration, you are deemed to have read and understood the cancellation, withdrawal and substitution policy and accept the terms contained therein.