problems, but co director Partal receives a copy of all incoming mail. He argues that
one of his responsibilities is to read this incoming mail and he insists on replying to
the most important items (10 15 a day) himself. The subject matter varies from
ideological disputes on the content of news over just discussing the news, to users
adding additional information, via URLs for instance, to the published news stories.
Another daily responsibility of Vicent Partal is to read and study the log files. He
looks for patterns in how people use their information. We can learn how many
people click on certain items on the VilaWeb front page and we can test if certain
special issues or approaches interest people. If a new approach is unsuccessful
according to the log data, we stop it. From that point of view, the Internet is like TV
people seem to forget what happened yesterday. You can announce that you are
going to do a particular thing for the coming 25 days, but when it doesn t work, you
can stop it after 2 days.
6.5. Content delivery process
Content delivery issues have already been touched upon in the former sections. The
content production process, organised around a central database, makes clear, for
instance, that technology is crucial for distributing content in different formats. The
latter seems to be relatively easy and cheap compared to the production of content
and to establishing a central database. It is also important for VilaWeb that their
content is not only distributed on different platforms such as PDA and WAP but is
also available in traditional media.
6.6. Conclusions and future visions
VilaWeb is an independent net native media company that has been able to develop
a sustainable and profitable business. There have been difficulties over the last few
years, but it seems now that those who survived the Internet stock exchange
collapse are in a stronger position then before. One of the three strategic decisions
that is thought to have contributed to VilaWeb s growth and success is that it always
saw itself as a journalistic company and not as a dot.com company. As a result,
though it did not profit from stock exchange listing during the Internet hype, it is
not suffering from the burst of the dot.com bubble as it is not listed. The Internet,
however, enables a new content player like VilaWeb to emerge since it is much
easier to start a company on the Internet because the initial investment is low .
The other two strategic decisions were the importance attached to the technical part
of VilaWeb and to establishing the VilaWeb brand. During its early years, the
company s technology base was considered secondary to its journalistic mission but
now it is seen as crucial. Its other strength is the VilaWeb brand. It was the first
online company in Catalunya and has been able to take advantage of this. The
objective is to establish itself as the Catalan community s main online destination.
We have a strong image of modernity and of being Catalan but also of being open
and democratic and we try to build on that.
The importance attached to branding results in VilaWeb being present in all the
platforms and media . It is interesting to note that though it started as a net native
company, VilaWeb continues to look for links with and presence in the traditional
media. In a sense, it is striving to become a major media player not an Internet
only player in the Catalan community. This explains its participation in COMIT, a