Orlando Sentinel Communications (OSC)
Orlando Sentinel Communications
delivers business trend analysis
Orlando Sentinel Communications
(OSC), publisher of the daily newspaper in Orlando, Fla., is a multimedia
company that also has business units in the Internet and cable television
industries. As competition from electronic media began to put newspaper
publishing at risk, OSC executives realized they needed a business information
system that would provide a clearer picture of trends, especially advertising
revenue, the lifeblood of newspaper publishing.
better data from our data warehouse"
consolidate enterprise data, and to give users the ability to access
and analyze data on a timely basis.
to more effectively target sales calls; ability to analyze competitive
media buying and to customize offerings for potential advertisers.
RISC 6000 Unix system
"This industry is going to completely
go away if we don't change," said Chuck Farraj, OSC marketing information
manager. He sees sophisticated use of data warehousing with trend analysis,
and easy-to-use query and reporting applications as the newspaper industry's
best hope for survival in the electronic age.
Farraj said an initial gap analysis
identified $2 billion in potential ad revenue that the paper could pursue.
With analytical data, the Orlando Sentinel advertising force could work
to get advertisers back from competing media and retain the advertisers
it already had. Employees also needed business intelligence that would
help them target new advertisers.
OSC executives also wanted a way
to sort through OSC's databases and to provide newspaper advertisers with
targeted mailing lists for direct mail campaigns to support display ads.
This additional service helps close ad deals for the newspaper — and it
is a service that television and radio stations cannot offer because they
do not have subscriber lists.
Supporting Team Members:
To develop the business intelligence
applications OSC needed, Farraj began with the MarketInfo analysis tool
developed by Gazette Technologies, a business unit of a Cedar Rapids,
Iowa, media company. The development team then added Cognos PowerPlay
for queries and Cognos Impromptu for reports to give the marketing and
advertising staff the ability to retrieve data and produce reports.
While the skill level of the team
was very low in terms of heavy technical experience, most of the members
found the tools so easy to work with that they required very little technical
Approximately 100 users, from
the publisher to the front-line sales and marketing employees, use the
Cognos tools to track and analyze customer satisfaction, sales and customer
service measures. By implementing Cognos for query and reporting against
its data warehouse, users do not need to depend on IT staff to answer
ad hoc queries. The business intelligence app has given users the ability
to view the data in the data warehouse multidimensionally. Users across
the enterprise can spot trends as they occur, enabling proactive decision-making.
Another major benefit
the advertising staff has seen is in its ability to analyze competitive
media buying and to then customize its offerings to potential advertisers
based on that data. Ad sales staffers are able to track advertisers' spending
in different media outlets such as television, radio or newspaper.
MarketInfo, Cognos' Power- Play and
The OSC business intelligence
system was initially deployed in client/server mode, but has now been
enhanced to provide Web access to the system. The database currently supporting
the system is Oracle 7, but this will soon be upgraded to Oracle 8i. Oracle
runs on an IBM RS/6000. Two Compaq ProLiant servers support the Web-based
— Rich Seeley