DC Thomson Goes Digital

DC Thomson, publisher of The Beano and The Dandy, has launched its much loved comics on Apple’s Newsstand, making these national favourites available to anyone with an

iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Background DC Thomson & Co Ltd was founded by the Thomson brothers William, David and Frederick and has been publishing newspapers since

1905. David (DC) ran the company and gave the company its name. Today the company is run by the descendants of the original founders. DC Thomson publishes a range of

newspapers and magazines including The Courier, the Sunday Post, The Press and Journal, The Beano and The Dandy. It also owns a range of companies including Aberdeen

Journals (the publisher of the Press & Journal) and Parragon Books. The company has a head office in Dundee and offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow and London. Some of their

characters are known the world over including Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, Oor Wullie and The Broons. Online Business DC Thomson, like most publishers, views the

development of the digital side of its business to be key to its future success. Many of its publications have their own websites including The Beano and The Dandy

with online subscriptions to its magazines. In 2009 DC Thomson agreed to buy the social networking site Friends Reunited for £25·6 million from ITV. Friends Reunited

aims to reunite people who have lost touch with old school friends, work colleagues and such like. Two years later, however, DC Thomson reassessed this value and

showed the asset to be only worth £5·2 million—one fifth of the price paid. Despite this, by the end of 2011, DC Thomson’s online business increased its share of

turnover from 4% to 10%. Closures The move into the digital era has not come without cost. Improvements in its online figures were helped by DC Thomson’s decision to

close a print plant in Dundee in late 2010, with plans to close another in Glasgow in 2012–13. A spokesman said the closures “are painful for the whole business, but

are necessary so that our businesses have the best opportunity to prosper”. Like all businesses, it is affected by economic conditions and the influence of the

internet and its related media. [X234/11/01] Page two

New Platforms DC Thomson felt that its move into digital publishing underlined its commitment to children’s literacy. This is backed by research into how comics can

help children progress from picture books to text. By launching The Beano and The Dandy as apps, this ensures children of all ages can read its comics in all types of

format. Mike Stirling, editor-in-chief of The Beano, said: “The great thing about the new app on Newsstand is that it guarantees our fans can enjoy The Beano 24/7”.

Options for the Future . . . In order to continue to expand its digital business and operate on a multimedia platform, DC Thomson could: 1     2     3     sell

off Friends Reunited; launch more titles on Apple’s Newsstand app; invest in other media ventures for The Beano and The Dandy, eg a new TV series. Sources: The Courier

19 November 2011; www.bbc.co.uk/news 15 December 2011; www.dcthomson.co.uk

1.(a)     Identify the type of business organisation that DC Thomson is.

(b)     Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this type of business.

2.DC Thomson’s decision to sell off its factory in Dundee was a tactical decision. Distinguish between strategic and tactical decisions.

3.DC Thomson has offices all over the country with its head office in Dundee. Describe the advantages and disadvantages to DC Thomson of operating a centralised

decision making structure.

4.DC Thomson could use sampling in order to find out what customers want. Identify and describe 2 methods of sampling that an organisation could use.

5. In Option 2, DC Thomson could launch more titles on Apple’s Newsstand app. Explain the effects on employees of introducing ICT to an organisation.

6.DC Thomson has a Finance department. Outline the role of the Finance department in an organisation.

7.DC Thomson has to motivate its staff. Identify 3 ways an organisation can motivate its staff.


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