The Washington Post (The Post) is one of the world’s most respected news-media organizations. After joining The Post as CEO and publisher in 2014, Fred Ryan worked with owner Jeff Bezos and The Post's executive team to bring about an extraordinary digital transformation at the global news organization. Despite all its success, The Post faced several significant business challenges in 2021, including new competitors, a growing number of channels through which readers consumed news, and rapidly changing consumer behavior. In response, The Post developed a digital-product mindset, rebuilt its newsroom, redesigned core business processes, built a software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology platform that functioned as a very profitable "business within a business," and announced the creation of Next Generation—a new initiative to accelerate the acquisition of younger and more diverse audiences through new products, practices, and partnerships.
After discussing this case, students should be able to do the following: - Describe the technological and business-model disruptions facing the news industry in 2021. - Evaluate the steps The Post took to develop a digital-product mindset. - Describe how The Post rebuilt its newsroom and redesigned its core business processes (including the monetization of news) to become more competitive in a rapidly evolving environment. - Debate The Post’s strategy to build a SaaS technology platform (Arc XP) and make it available to external customers (including perceived competitors in the news industry)—essentially a business within a business. - Debate how to best attract younger (Gen Z) audiences to subscribe to The Post.