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What does it take to survive in a digital world? Resource-based theory and strategic change in the TV industry

Abstract

Traditional linear television has been a long-standing success story. However, the digital revolution is rapidly transforming the TV industry, in terms of production, distribution, and consumption. New market opportunities are attracting competitors from outside the industry, and incumbent TV companies must evolve in order to stay competitive and survive in a new digital world. Taking an institutional perspective, the authors develop a conceptual framework that identifies four strategic diversification options which TV firms can pursue to transform their traditional business synergistically: (1) remain a linear-only TV company; (2) combine the linear offering with advertising-based video-on-demand services; (3) combine the linear offering with subscription-based video-on-demand services, or (4) combine the linear offering with both kinds of video-on-demand services. Building on resource-based theory, the authors examine which sets of market-oriented and internal strategic resources are necessary for each strategic option. Specifically, they highlight the value propositions that linear TV can still offer in the digital age, and how TV companies can create unique advantages by leveraging synergies between linear and video-on-demand services. The authors provide guidelines for TV companies to manage the organizational transition and propose an agenda for future academic research.

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Fig. 1

Source: Authors’ own illustration

Fig. 2

Source: Authors’ own illustration

Notes

  1. According to Turba (2011), there are six different means of TV transmission: cable, digital terrestrial, satellite, Internet Protocol (IP), web, and mobile.

  2. For example, German-based TV company ProSiebenSat.1 initially invested € 50 m to launch the joint AVOD and SVOD platform, JOYN, with Discovery (Tusch 2019), and UK Channel Four Corporation already released a trial SVOD premium version of its AVOD digital platform, All 4 (Channel Four 2019).

  3. Other authors have employed different clustering schemes. For example, Miller and Shamsie (1996) focus on the resources’ inimitability and group resources into property-based and knowledge-based resources. Applying their clustering scheme for an investigation of Hollywood studios, they identify patents, exclusive contracts, and integrated production and distribution systems as property-based resources, whereas they name functional, creative, and collaborative skills as examples of knowledge-based resources. In contrast, and due to our focus on customer value creation, we follow Srivastava et al.’s (2001) approach.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the participants of the Mallen 2018 conference (Potsdam, Germany). Special thanks goes to Tirtha Dhar, Armin Rott, and Markus Wohlfeil for their valuable contribution to the discussions, and Marcus Dimpfel for sharing informative industry insights. The authors also acknowledge many helpful comments and suggestions from the editors, associate editor and reviewers.

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Schauerte, R., Feiereisen, S. & Malter, A.J. What does it take to survive in a digital world? Resource-based theory and strategic change in the TV industry. J Cult Econ 45, 263–293 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10824-020-09389-x

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Keywords

  • Television
  • On-demand streaming
  • AVOD
  • SVOD
  • Digital transformation
  • Resource-based theory