Channel 4 and the British Television Industry: 1982–2013 (Case A)

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This is part of a case series. This business strategy case aims at illustrating issues of strategic positioning in dynamic and fast moving environments. It allows participants to cover all levels of industry analysis, from macro-environment to competitive environment (industry) and strategic group. It also allows participants to reflect on the values, mission and strategic orientation of a single corporation through time. Channel 4 is a UK-based television broadcaster with both public service responsibilities and commercial imperatives. The third largest player in the UK television industry, its competitive advantage stems from its unique brand and production values, a desirable audience profile and its reputation for creative risk-taking. Yet, Channel 4 faces a turbulent environment characterized by industry consolidation and convergence, and a shift in viewing behavior toward digital content delivered through the Internet onto computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Potentially disruptive technologies, the advent of new content production and consumption patterns, new media and an emerging new set of competitors, changes in government policy and a marketplace heading towards deregulation all open up opportunities and challenges for Channel 4 as it celebrates its first thirty years on air. The case is suitable for use in the context of an MBA or Undergraduate Business Strategy course or module.

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