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Digital content RTD perspectives - after the dot.com fall - El.pub Analytic No. 8

Page 6 of 6

  Introduction | Digital content themes | Value chain aspects | Content sectors | Technology
  Business models | To be continued | Comment on this issue of Analytic

Business models

A prime concern of RTD should be whether an innovation can be worked into a business model. The idea of 'disruptive' technologies is essentially about business models rather than technology. Whether the Pandora's box can be closed, once an innovative business model exploiting a technical innovation has been loosed, is a moot point. Experience would say no, even in extreme cases such as nuclear weapons where there is general agreement that closing the box would be a good thing. (Business model may not be the obvious term in this case, but the argument is the same).

The business models in digital content are without a doubt potentially and indeed actually disruptive. The existing players are doing everything they can to close the box. The interplay between technology and business model needs to be fully explored in RTD programmes. Government regulation is much stronger now than at the start of the 20th century, when the record industry effectively destroyed the printed music market. Companies are much better at influencing government behaviour; intervention in the market is greatest in those countries that claim to be the most liberal. The biggest short term threat to both distributors and buyers of digital content is ill conceived technical and legal "fixes", to what are viewed as unwarranted attacks on existing business models, that don't work.

To be continued

The series of Analytic articles over the next few months will look in more detail at the issues raised above and particularly how they relate to RTD objectives in the digital content area. The first three will cover some aspects of knowledge management, mobility and IPR. If you wish to receive the articles by e-mail rather than through the web site, subscribe at:

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