For Which Incumbents Are Digital Platforms Really a Threat? The Role of Asset Ownership

Tim Meyer, Carmelo Cennamo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


In recent years, digital peer-to-peer platforms have entered several industries and challenged the way in which incumbents do business. Instead of owning the core assets directly, they focus on matching buyers with sellers that own the required core assets and are willing to share them. Therefore, these platforms are generally considered a competitive threat to traditional businesses, particularly to those that are positioned in the same market segment, which is usually the lower end of the market. In this paper, we advance a different perspective: the main threat that peer-to-peer platforms pose to incumbents is not necessarily the direct competition effect but rather the shift on the demand side that they trigger. By shifting consumer habits towards using digital platforms, they force incumbents to increasingly use these platforms to promote their own core assets as well. For incumbents who have traditionally benefited from using their own complementary downstream assets to promote their core assets, this poses a major challenge because digital platforms act as a substitute for these complementary downstream assets and decrease their value. Using data from the hotel industry in the state of Texas, we show that the incumbents that are ultimately affected the most by peer-to-peer platforms are not necessarily the ones operating in the same market segment, but those whose complementary downstream assets will become obsolete as more business is shifted to digital platforms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Seventy-ninth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsGuclu Atinc
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationBriar Cliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2019
Article number83
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2019: Understanding the Inclusive Organization - Boston, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201913 Aug 2019
Conference number: 79


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings

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