UK: Strategic Flexibility in Media and Entertainment - Scenarios, Options, Action! (Part Two)

Last Updated: 9 August 2006
Article by Igal Brightman

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017
This article is part of a series: Click Strategic Flexibility in Media and Entertainment - Scenarios, Options, Action! (Part One) for the previous article.

Phase II: Formulate

Whereas the Anticipate phase of Strategic Flexibility generates insights through the application of scenario-based planning, the Formulate phase makes use of what is already known about how to develop good strategy – the well developed body of knowledge concerning both the appropriate processes to use and the content needed to maximize the probability of competitive success.

In this phase, Strategic Flexibility departs from a more conventional approach, though more in terms of volume than in the nature of the work required. That is, more traditional applications of strategic frameworks, such as Michael Porter’s Five Forces, demand (often implicitly) that competitive conditions be either fixed or accurately predicted.6 For example, in the seminal work on corporate strategy, Igor Ansoff begins with the observation that strategy is only meaningful within the ‘planning horizon,’ which he defines as ‘that time period within which predictions will be accurate to within, say, 20 percent. 7 In other words, only once the planning horizon has been fixed may the work of developing a sound strategy proceed.

A different premise – one that underpins the need for Strategic Flexibility – is that one cannot know over what time horizon which predictions will be accurate or to what degree. Worse, even those forecasts that can be trusted are typically so short-term, that the planning horizon implied would be measured in weeks or months, whereas true strategic planning necessarily looks ahead several years.

Unable to predict the future, we can however bound it – anticipate it – using scenarios (the Anticipate phase), and then apply the already well-mapped tools of strategy development to these divergent yet plausible end states. What emerges is a range of different yet potentially successful strategies, along with a definition of the conditions under which they would succeed.

More work, less suffering

There is no escaping the fact that this multiplies the strategist’s work. Instead of having to build a successful strategy for one future, the revised requirement is to build a successful strategy for each scenario that bounds an organization’s ‘possibility space.’

Fortunately, to do this, good strategists need only repeat their thinking processes, not revise them. The rigorous application of the tools of game theory, of industry structure analysis, of disruption theory, and of knowledge of an organization’s core competence, among others, are likely all that will be needed.

Even better, DTT TMT group’s experience suggests that the process of developing strategies for each scenario tends to go more smoothly than developing a strategy for a single set of assumptions. The reason is that disagreements over what constitutes a good strategy frequently do not hinge upon differences over what do to under a clearly defined set of conditions. Once the competitive environment is well defined, well-informed and rational people tend to converge on how best to respond. Disagreements tend to stem from differing views on what future circumstances will be.

For example, when conducting an industry analysis based on an assessment of future industry structure, specifying the precise bargaining power of suppliers (to pick one element of industry structure) is the hard part. Reaching agreement on how best to respond to suppliers with a defined degree of bargaining power tends to be less challenging.

In fact, a way to determine whether Strategic Flexibility might be useful to a given company is to uncover the sources of disagreements about strategy. Do you and your colleagues truly disagree about what makes sense, given the conditions? Or rather, do you disagree about what conditions you will face in the future? If the latter, Strategic Flexibility can help by taking uncertainty of the future state out of the strategy formulation equation. Each view of what lies ahead is embodied in one or another of the scenarios. With the debate about what future deserves priority attention roped off to the side, determining how best to respond in each scenario is a far less arduous task.

Specific conditions, generic Strategies

This report, will not attempt to offer a detailed illustration of what it would mean to formulate strategies across all five of the plausible scenarios previously defined. But, in terms of strategic priorities that can be addressed at the corporate level, the DTT TMT group would suggest that the possibility space they have developed can be analyzed in general terms with respect to the different strategic benefits conferred by scale, scope, and innovation.

Consider the competitive conditions depicted in the Basic Instinct scenario. With mergers and acquisitions facing stringent government reviews, it would be difficult to assemble a vertical chain of operating assets, let alone integrate them in any meaningful way. Slower adoption of new technologies means that scale will best confer cost advantages rather than create the market presence and cross-market synergies required to support rapid and repeated innovation.

What seems to matter most in this version of the future is the ability to innovate with respect to business models, rather than specific products or services.8 These observations suggest that a more focused, process-oriented organization is most likely to succeed.

The Wizard of Oz scenario imposes very different strategic demands. More permissive regulation means that scope-based strategies are possible. In this world, IP is protected through innovation, which serves to make legitimate usage so compelling that pirated material, although available, doesn’t meet customer needs. And, in the face of the rapid adoption of new technology, scale built around a single technology likely will not matter as much as funding and supporting a stream of new products.

To highlight the different strategic requirements born out of each scenario, Figure 3 illustrates two key contributors to competitive success and maps each scenario to those requirements. Any competitive advantage conferred by organizational structure is seen in terms of scale vs. scope, where scale equates to size within a product market and scope implies controlling operating assets across several product markets.9 The dominant type of innovation lies along a continuum between product or service innovation and business model innovation.10

At the risk of oversimplifying what is by nature a subtle and complex analytical process, this report has mapped the scenarios and generic strategies against one another. As a result, it’s clear that the scenario/strategy combinations seem to align. The Wizard of Oz, however, appears to require a combination of all four strategies, and is therefore the most strategically challenging scenario.

No blank slates

Once this report has analyzed the elements of the optimal strategy for each scenario, as captured in Figure 3, it is useful to think of the Formulate phase of Strategic Flexibility as concluding with the identification of core and contingent elements. Strategic elements are initiatives from the scenario – optimal strategies such as acquiring a company with a valuable set of assets or capabilities, investing in a certain type of infrastructure, or gaining access to particular distribution channels. Core strategic elements are those that are common to all scenarios – the no-regrets bets that make sense no matter how the future turns out. Alternatively, those strategic elements specific to a single scenario – crucial under some conditions, useless or counterproductive under others – are contingent.

Fortunately, no media organization starts with a blank slate. After all, it’s hard to make sense of what constitutes a ‘scope-based, product-driven innovation strategy’ in the absence of some identification of the enterprise that might be pursuing it. Consequently, when it comes to identifying ‘for real’ core and contingent elements, the organization’s current complement of assets and capabilities is the point of departure. In other words, what the organization can do now has enormous implications for what it can do tomorrow. Management scholars refer to this as ‘path dependence.’11

Therefore, as a practical matter, core elements of an organization’s strategy will be heavily weighted toward those elements that cannot be changed within the planning horizon captured by the scenarios. However, some adjustment may be possible: some existing assets can be shed, and several new core elements might be added.

The next section of this report examines how to think about contingent elements in terms of real options – that is, in terms of the investments that would be necessary to implement initiatives required if, but only if, the conditions of a particular scenario emerge.

Phase III: Accumulate

Core elements of strategy don’t keep managers awake at night. By definition, they would be useful under any scenario. The challenge lies in dealing with contingent elements – the actions that would have value under some scenarios and not others. In Phase III we place our bets.

For example, The Wizard of Oz might never materialize. If, however, it does, it having deployed only the core strategic elements will not have been sufficient. Putting only core elements in place is a failing strategy regardless of which scenario the future resembles. It’s like building a bridge that goes only partway across the river. In fact, it’s actually worse than a best guess, since guessing provides at least some chance at the right answer. For instance, in the example, banking on Almost Famous would yield about a 20 percent chance of hitting the mark.12

To overcome this problem, Strategic Flexibility applies real options thinking. Real options are investments that hedge against shifts in the market or in the competitive landscape. They prepare a company to accommodate any one of many plausible futures by locking up the assets requisite to success under the associated conditions. This might be done, for example, through binding alliances, small equity stakes that can grow into full ownership, or joint ventures with provisions for buying out a business partner. The goal is to move in a way that is calibrated to the strategic value of a given asset, and thus to conserve capital. As the future reveals itself and uncertainties are resolved, certain options are exercised while others are abandoned.

It can be difficult to come to grips with a real options approach if you are discussing the ideas abstractly. Therefore, Table 2, highlights how companies pursuing the strategies described in Table 1 would fare under each scenario. For each company, the DTT TMT group has assessed the appropriateness of its existing strategy under the conditions described by each scenario and color-coding each cell accordingly. When it seems that a company’s strategy is well-tuned to the demands of a given scenario, there’s not much left to do but execute. However, not one of the companies analyzed has a strategy that performs well under every scenario – a result that is noteworthy, but not uncommon. Consequently, DTT’s TMT group has suggested potentially useful options for each firm: contingent investments that would improve their chances of success should a particular scenario come to pass.

Table 2. Assessing existing strategies

 

Basic Instinct

Necessary Roughness

Almost Famous

Quick and the Dead

The Wizard of Oz

Tech adoption

• Limited

• Limited

• Limited

• Limited

• Limited

IP Proctection

• Innovation-based

• Innovation-based

• Innovation-based

• Innovation-based

• Innovation-based

Corporate structure

• Significant restrictions

• Significant restrictions

• Significant restrictions

• Significant restrictions

• Significant restrictions

Cable company seeking content

The company will have to rethink its strategy. Limited technology adoption means DVR inroads won’t be a big concern, which calls into question the company’s efforts to develop new video offerings that offer consumers greater control. Regulatory restrictions hamper expansion into content, so there is little incentive to innovate in IP protections.

Limited tech adoption hurts cable providers’ duplex-transmission advantage over satellite services in offering interactive video capabilities. But relaxed regulatory restrictions encourage expanding into content, which in turn offers incentives to find innovative solutions to IP protections.

This is the scenario that the company’s current strategy seems best suited to accommodate. It can use its vertical relationships to iron out issues between the content and distribution businesses raised by new VOD offerings that depart from the existing industry models in which programming is viewed at set times and advertisers pay to put commercials in front of audiences who lack the technology to skip over them.

The company must abandon its content aspirations and loses most incentives to innovate in IP protections.

Overall very little effect on current strategy, except that with limited government enforcement of IP protections, The company has to protect any expansion into content by funneling money and corporate energy into new ways to limit consumer copying of programs.

Potentially useful options

The company must treat its recent efforts as options to be abandoned, not solid commitments to a specific strategy, and return to its core competence in operating cable systems. The company could do well, but growth would be a challenge.

   

Extensive tech adoption, encourages innovations in new digital products via existing infrastructure, refocusing the company’s strategy on expanding through scale. This could take the form of options on the deployment of WiFi and perhaps expansion into the provision of home entertainment gateways via tie-ins with consumer electronics companies

 

Conglomerate’s VOD service

A deadly scenario since the tech adoption needed for success is missing, and regulatory restrictions discourage deals with competing content providers to deliver their products.

Another limited tech adoption scenario that basically kills the VOD venture

Regulation-based IP protections could lessen the interest of competing content providers who might retain doubts about the efficacy of legal sanctions, but for the most part, this is a workable scenario.

Regulatory restrictions could hamper the company’s ability to offer delivery to competing content companies..

The scenario the company evidently has in mind. It can use its existing market power to defeat new entrants and establish favorable structures in an environment of significant new technology adoption and few government restrictions. With control of both content and delivery, it is in a position to strengthen IP protections through innovations that could become de facto industry standards

Potentially useful options

The company needs fluid license agreements with the partners who are providing the innovative new delivery platform so that abandoning the VOD endeavor is a feasible and relatively cheap option. It might also invest in potential institutional markets, such as hotel or hospital chains, where its DRM technology would retain value despite a lack of demand in the home.

The company might pursue equity investments in datacasting services as a fallback should this scenario develop. Or it could enter into an agreement with a company wanting access to the datacasting business that would facilitate a spin-off should conditions such as these materialize. Also it should have flexible partnerships with partners providing the delivery platform and investments in potential high-turnover institutional outlets.

 

To prepare for growth under this scenario, the company would be wise to develop or take equity stakes in other information and entertainment products suitable for its datacasting model.

.

GREEN - Well adapted. Only minor adjustments needed in current strategy.

YELLOW - Viable by incomplete. Current

strategy will need major adjustments.

RED - Severe deficiencies. A completely new

strategy will be required.

Phase IV: Operate

Up to this point, the challenge has been largely analytical. What might the future hold (Anticipate)? How should a company respond under a given set of conditions and given existing capabilities and constraints (Formulate)? In light of the optimal response, what additional resources or capabilities are required (Accumulate)?

All of this analysis is merely a prelude to action, action that occurs in the Operate phase. Yet this doesn’t mean that the analysis part of the job is finished. The final phase of the Strategic Flexibility model is not simply a matter of carrying out a formulaic set of steps prescribed by the Anticipate, Formulate, and Accumulate phases. It is instead a dynamic process that involves constant monitoring of a company’s competitive environment and periodic adjustments to various scenarios, as well as to the elements and options dictated by those scenarios.

Scenarios, options, action!

The goal of the Operate phase is to fully deploy specific strategies against specific opportunities within a dynamic environment. The future is constantly evolving, and indeed it is this very fact that Strategic Flexibility was designed to accommodate. For, rather than having to undertake wrenching change each time a particular assumption about the future proves false, corporate management can instead ramp up, dial back, or even abandon particular real options as events dictate.

Doing this effectively means determining accurately when a given option is in the money and thus should be exercised, or out of the money and thus should be abandoned. All work leading up to this point has been merely a qualifying round, and it is only within the final phase that those complex analyses evolve into an executable strategy. And the evolution takes place not on a timetable, but in response to events that demand action as the future unfolds.

These decisions necessarily require an active and visible corporate office, because implementing certain options and abandoning others typically has a direct impact on careers, up and down the chain of command. As a result, organizational politics in both media and non-media companies too often have a company holding on to options long after any reasonable hope of exercising them has disappeared. In the short term at least, overcoming institutional political pressures to terminate losing projects quickly often demands close executive attention, and it always demands leadership.

Alternative endings

The type of Strategic Flexibility described so far might be considered ‘pure’ Strategic Flexibility. That is, the vision is of a future that is so uncertain as to warrant the development of a set of optimal strategies before ‘advancing on all fronts.’ The corporation puts in place and enhances its core elements while carefully monitoring and managing its portfolio of real options. The corporate office measures and times its investments in each real option, exercising some in the implementation of specific strategies, while constantly rolling over its scenarios so as to accommodate new uncertainties.

Two critical questions help us make sense of our alternatives: First, what are the magnitude and importance of the differences between the optimal strategies? Second, what are the relative probabilities of each scenario actually occurring?

To answer the first question, if the differences between optimal strategies are not significant, then a large percentage of the elements in a company’s set of optimal strategies will turn out to be core elements. Additionally, the differences between contingent elements might well turn out to be minimal; for example, distribution channels might differ only in their scale.

As a result, a company might choose not to create and manage a portfolio of real options at all. Instead, it might embrace what could be called a ‘robust strategy,’ one that will probably not be optimal under any circumstance but is ‘good enough’ under all conditions.

There is much to be said for this approach – that is, when circumstances allow it. Real options aren’t free, and pursuing a robust strategy avoids the complexity of parsing core and contingent elements, thereby obviating real options and their expense. A robust strategy is a rational, appropriate trade-off between a lower cost of implementation and the increased benefit of an optimal market position. In this manner, a robust approach only makes sense when the cost of the options required to pursue optimal strategies is greater than the opportunity cost of settling for a ‘good enough’ approach.

Based on an inspection of Figure 2 above, both the cable company and the conglomerate launching the VOD service appear to have strategies that are reasonably aligned with the range of scenarios that have been identified in this report. This suggests that they are in position to minimize their investment in real options and instead focus on ‘robust’ strategies – strategies that promise to do well regardless of how the future unfolds.

In contrast, the free-standing record company and the DVR service provider seem to require a ‘purer’ approach, since their apparent strategy leaves them poorly positioned in several scenarios.

Finally, there may be circumstances in which it is entirely appropriate for a company to commit primarily to what it regards as the most plausible scenario and treat the options required by other scenarios as hedges. This approach can be useful in cases where a company’s senior leadership is willing to trust the intuition that the future is reasonably clear across relevant markets.

Hedging this way allows a company to commit fully to the optimal strategy for the most likely scenario, which is not to say that a company won’t still pursue real options. On the contrary, a company adopting this approach will also pursue modest, highly targeted investments that would allow a change of course, should events turn out differently than expected. This is a compromise position that balances an acceptable likelihood of being able to guess what lies over the horizon against the fundamental unpredictability of the future.

Should the executives heading a conglomerate feel especially confident about their ability to differentiate between the probabilities of occurrence associated with each of the scenarios identified above, their management of options would change dramatically. Rather than keeping ‘all the balls in the air’ until certain key uncertainties were resolved, the company might commit to specific synergies, retaining other divisions in the portfolio ‘just in case.’

Only senior management can determine which of these types of Strategic Flexibility is most appropriate in a given situation. It may even be the case that a company will use one of these approaches on one occasion and a different one two years later. It’s not so simple as making a one-time election as to which version of Strategic Flexibility a company will employ whenever it revisits its strategy. Moreover, and unfortunately, making such a determination cannot be based upon formulaic algorithms. Rather, such decision making requires informed intuition and strategic judgment. The benefit of having alternative applications from which to choose provides a company with greater ability to address different sets of conditions.

Conclusion

Today’s media and entertainment companies face challenges and uncertainties from every direction.

All these uncertainties are leading many media and entertainment companies to question long-held fundamental assumptions about their markets and how to best position themselves to compete. Corporate strategists are faced with an uncomfortable paradox: The future is impossible to know and increasingly difficult to even guess, yet competitive pressures preclude that uncertainties be resolved before committing to a strategy.

Strategic Flexibility offers a way out of this paradox through a framework consisting of four phases. Highly structured, scenario-based planning in the Anticipate stage reveals a range of plausible futures. In the Formulate phase, optimal strategies for each scenario are determined using time-tested methods of conventional strategic planning, and are then merged to reveal core and contingent strategic elements. The Accumulate phase consolidates those elements with the concept of real options to reveal the investments and resources that will position a firm for success across a wide range of possible futures. Finally, in the Operate phase, management creates a diverse, flexible enterprise armed for whatever conditions the future may hold.

Strategic Flexibility is neither quick nor easy. Its complexities and rigor often require re-evaluating fundamental market assumptions and organizational structures in order to recognize which holdings, contractual agreements, partnerships, and divisions serve the entire enterprise under any circumstance and which should be treated as options, to be nurtured or abandoned as events dictate. Strategic Flexibility is then a matter of carefully monitoring and reassessing options.

Yet, given the increasing uncertainties faced by media and entertainment companies, Strategic Flexibility is a highly valuable approach to planning and management. Beginning with an acceptance of uncertainty, Strategic Flexibility incorporates the reality that some portion of the assumptions underlying any commitment-based strategy will inevitably turn out to be wrong – perhaps even totally incorrect. By identifying the necessary responses to a range of possible futures and enabling the requisite advance preparation, Strategic Flexibility creates the alternatives that organizations need. In sum, Strategic Flexibility is a powerful and practical way to prepare for a future that no company is equipped to predict.

Footnotes

1 The ‘elements’ are initiatives such as acquiring a company with a valuable set of assets or capabilities, obtaining a certain type of infrastructure, or gaining access to particular distribution channels.

2 For more in-depth explanations of the real options concept by Michael E. Raynor, see ‘Diversification as Real Options and the Implications on Firm-Specific Risk and Performance.’ The Engineering Economist 47 (4) (2002); ‘Real Options in Real Organizations: Creating and Exercising Real Options Through Corporate Diversification.’ In Innovation and Strategy, Operating Flexibility, and Foreign Investment: New Developments and Applications in Real Options. L. Trigeorgis. Oxford, Oxford University Press: Chapter 2 (forthcoming); and ‘Tracking Stocks and the Exercise of Real Options.’ Journal of Applied Corporate Finance. 13 (2) (2000).

3 For more on Strategic Flexibility, see www.deloitte.com/research/strategicflexibility

4 See, for example, The Sixth Sense by Kees van der Heijden et al., John Wiley & Sons (2002), and Scenario Planning by Gill Ringland, John Wiley & Sons (1998).

5 In general, there will be 2n scenarios, where n is the number of drivers of change used. Since this is a geometric function, the number of scenarios explodes with the addition of even a single change driver: moving from three to four drivers, for example, doubles the number of possible scenarios to 16.

6 Michael E. Porter (1980). Competitive Strategy. The Free Press. 7 H. Igor Ansoff (1965). Corporate Strategy. McGraw-Hill.

8 For more on business model innovation see ‘Deconstructing the Formula for Business Model Innovation’ by Doug Tomlinsson, Deloitte Research (part of Deloitte Services, L.P.). Available at www.deloitte.com/research

9 The distinction between scale and scope and key ingredients of competitive success under varying competitive contexts has a long and distinguished history, both begun and epitomized by Alfred Chandler’s seminal work Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism, Harvard University Press (1990). 10 See note 3 supra.

11 See S. E. Margolis and S. J. Liebowitz (2001). ‘Path Dependence, Lock-in, and History’. University of Dallas.

12 That is, if we assume that all plausible scenarios have an equal probability of coming true. In reality, there will be differences in mangers’ subjective assessments of these relative probabilities. Experience indicates, however, the better the scenario-building job one does, the more evenly distributed one’s probability distribution becomes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

This article is part of a series: Click Strategic Flexibility in Media and Entertainment - Scenarios, Options, Action! (Part One) for the previous article.
Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.