The Disruptor’s Dilemma: TiVo and the U.S. Television Ecosystem

Strategic Management Journal, 2015

25 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2016 Last revised: 26 Jan 2016

Shaz Ansari

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School; Erasmus University, Rotterdam (EUR)

Raghu Garud

Pennsylvania State University

Arun Kumaraswamy

Florida International University (FIU) - Department of Management & International Business

Date Written: November 19, 2015

Abstract

Firms introducing disruptive innovations into multisided ecosystems may confront the disruptor’s dilemma – they must gain the support of the very incumbents they disrupt. We examine how these firms may address this dilemma through a longitudinal study of TiVo, a company that pioneered the Digital Video Recorder. Our analysis reveals how TiVo navigated coopetitive tensions by continually adjusting its strategy, its technology platform, and its relational positioning within the evolving U.S. television industry ecosystem. We theorize how (a) disruption may affect not just specific incumbents, but also the entire ecosystem, (b) co-opetition is not just dyadic, but also multilateral and intertemporal, and (c) strategy is both a deliberative and emergent process involving continual adjustments, as the disruptor attempts to balance coopetitive tensions over time.

MANAGERIAL ABSTRACT

New entrants confront a dilemma when they introduce a disruptive innovation into an existing business ecosystem, viz., how can they gain the support of the incumbents that their innovation disrupts? Confronting this “disruptor’s dilemma”, the disruptor must consider several issues: How might it pitch its innovation to attract end customers and yet reduce the threat of disruption perceived by ecosystem incumbents? How can the innovation be modified to fit into legacy systems while transforming them? Based on an in-depth analysis of TiVo and its entrepreneurial journey, we explore the strategies disruptors can deploy to address these issues.

Keywords: disruptive innovation; ecosystems; entrepreneurship process; strategy process; strategy framing; commercialization

Suggested Citation

Ansari, Shaz and Garud, Raghu and Kumaraswamy, Arun, The Disruptor’s Dilemma: TiVo and the U.S. Television Ecosystem (November 19, 2015). Strategic Management Journal, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2718606

Shahzad Ansari (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

Erasmus University, Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Raghu Garud

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

431 Business Bulding
Pennsylvania State University
State College, PA 16803
United States

Arun Kumaraswamy

Florida International University (FIU) - Department of Management & International Business ( email )

University Park
Miami, FL 33199
United States

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