“Axel Springer Has Dared to Compete with Itself”

The European newspaper publisher Axel Springer, discussed in the story quoted below, appears to be following the advice of Christensen and Raynor in their book The Innovator’s Solution. In that book, they suggest that incumbent firms need to be willing to set up units that compete with their older business models, if they hope to survive the introduction of disruptive innovations.

(p. B4) PARIS — As the death toll in the American newspaper industry mounted this month, the German publisher Axel Springer, which owns Bild, the biggest newspaper in Europe, reported the highest profit in its 62-year history.
. . .
Axel Springer generates 14 percent of its revenue online, more than most American newspapers, even though the markets in which it operates — primarily Germany and Eastern Europe — are less digitally developed than the United States.
One reason, Mr. Döpfner said, is that Axel Springer has dared to compete with itself. Instead of trying to protect existing publications, it acquired or created new ones, some of which distribute the same content to different audiences.
At one newsroom in Berlin, for example, journalists produce content for six publications: the national newspaper Die Welt, its Sunday edition and a tabloid version aimed at younger readers; a local paper called Berliner Morgenpost, and two Web sites.

For the full story, see:
ERIC PFANNER. “European Newspapers Find Creative Ways to Thrive in the Internet Age.” The New York Times (Mon., March 29, 2009): B4.
(Note: ellipsis added.)

The Christensen and Raynor book mentioned above, is:
Christensen, Clayton M., and Michael E. Raynor. The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2003.

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