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Happy new year! Starting with a block week

Posted by Melanie on 07 January 2009

As much as I was dreading having to come back to school again, and especially back to the 1 degree London weather, the block week in Bertini's Pricing Strategy has been a good one.

First of all, it's great to see old smiling faces from my stream-mates again. There's a good chunk of Stream B 09s in this class for some reason. Perhaps we all loved his Aqualisa case so much. (summary : target the plumbers, not the end users of UK showers.) We all caught up on each others' travels, especially since many people's plans had been changed due to the cancellation of the India Club's Yatra trip. Turned out, some people regrouped in China instead!

Marco Bertini has been just as lively as we had remembered. And the course, just as interesting. Though still slightly jet-lagged, I haven't had any issue keeping my attention throughout the 6 hours of class per day. He mixes it up quite well, with a break-out hour into groups to discuss the cases, and insightful guest speakers.

Today's case and guest speaker were fascinating. We started off the day, discussing the pricing dilemma that XM Satellite Radio faced: how to price their new service to the US market. The situation was pretty complex. We weighed the options around subscription vs advertisement supported revenues, and factored in the need to subsidize the radio units themselves. The decision has proven to be tough to make, as both XM and Sirius Satellite Radio have both been suffering heavy losses the past years. Which makes me wonder... was this business even viable at all?

In the afternoon, we discussed a live case on the pricing of the London 2012 tickets. Till this week, I hadn't known that the Beijing Games suffered from empty stadium seats, mostly, due to poor choices in ticket pricing and distribution. We were lucky enough to have Paul Williamson of the Games' Organising Committee join us as a guest speaker today.  With his previous experience in sports ticketing as a Director at Ticketmaster, he shared a lot of insight into the real-world uses of price segmentation. As the Olympics are a non-profit event, he has to juggle the financial needs, promote a positive image, and maintain the "fairness" and accessibility of the games to everyone. What would you pay for tickets to the opening ceremony? What about a handball match between Uzbekistan and Ghana?

So far, my first block week has been well worth coming back early for. Let's see how I feel the night before I have to submit all the assignments. :) 

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