The Digital Revolution of TV: An Analysis of the Italian TV industry Through the Lenses of Disruptive Innovation Theory

Silvia Ancora

Student thesis: Master thesis


The world of media has gone through many radical transformations over the decades. From the music business to publishing, innovation has continuously modified the market trends and has started to blur traditional roles and definitions. In this realm of transformations, the Television (TV) industry was left relatively unchanged for a long time. However, the development of new technologies and in particular the birth of the Web 2.0 more recently, have enabled a deep transformation among those who make and deliver TV content and among those who watch. This Thesis explores the digital revolution of the TV industry, focusing on the case study of the Italian market. Data and trends are analysed from the perspective of the Italian players and from that of the Italian consumers, in comparison with other international markets and through the lenses of the disruptive innovation theoretical framework. After having been dominated by a public-private TV duopoly, for most of its history, the Italian TV industry, over the last ten years, has registered the first signs of change, particularly on an economic and technological level. The digitalisation and the development of new distribution platforms, increased the variety and availability of TV content, free and pay, allowing to overtake the problem of spectrum scarcity that had characterised the previous audiovisual analog offer. The processes also enhanced the technical potentialities of broadcasting, contributing to the evolution of the economic activities related to the TV industry and of the business models of incumbents and new players operating in various segments of the value chain. As an effect of the employment of new business models, the audio-visual communication underwent a deep transformation, evolving from a generalist and linear model, to a non-linear and personalised one, in which is the end consumer that decide where and when to access content. Although data show that TV still remains today the most accessed media of all, the rules of the game are changing at an unprecedented velocity and all the industry operators are required, more than ever before, a deep understanding of consumers most important needs, in order to be able to design strategies that can be disruptive to established players, but also to effectively respond to disruption before it is too late to reap the rewards of participation in new, high-growth markets.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages115