Developing a Business Model for a Podcast Streaming Service : Case Study Analysis of Online Streaming Businesses and Identification of Success Factors

Detta är en Master-uppsats från KTH/Skolan för datavetenskap och kommunikation (CSC)

Sammanfattning: This study examines characteristics of successful online streaming businesses and proposes with the new gained insights a scalable business model solution for a podcast streaming service. As podcasts have just recently regained popularity after ten years of existence, there is an open opportunity to capitalize on the growing market of listeners. With the emergence of new formats and high-end studio productions such as ‘Serial’, the most accessed podcast to date, the podcast industry is becoming increasingly attractive to advertisers and new businesses. However, since the industry is still young and in development stage, there is a lack in knowledge and data that could help a podcast streaming firm to find a successful business model and win over the market. Aiming to fill the gap, this research project conducts a comparative case study analysis of leading video and audio streaming services to identify the characteristics of successful business models in the online streaming industry. By synthesizing the business model canvas as a documentation tool and the VRIO framework for benchmarking, this study integrates and combines theoretical models to provide empirical results for validation. In order to assess the finding’s applicability to the podcast industry, six semi-structured interviews were conducted with experts of the industry. As one of the key findings, this study extracted a total set of 21 success factors that can be attributed to the resources and competences of an online streaming firm. Seven of these factors are regarded as necessary for a firm to remain competitive in the industry, whereas 14 factors show potential to unlock competitive advantages. Thus, this report suggest that an online streaming service is likely to achieve sustaining success if the 21 identified success factors are incorporated in the business model. The outcome of the expert interviews demonstrates that the identified success factors are largely applicable to a podcast streaming service. The main differences lie in the success factor’s potential to generate competitive advantages. Due to the fact that the podcast industry is less evolved than the online streaming industry, it holds more untapped opportunities that can be leveraged by firms. For instance, offering ‘tailored and dynamic ad solutions’, unlocking ‘multiple revenue streams’ or pursuing an ‘integration with social media’ are some of the factors that are widely implemented by online streaming firms, yet unexploited in the podcast industry. Furthermore, particularities of the podcast medium lead to different rules of competition. Whereas ‘streaming licenses’ are the competitive basis for online streaming services, the open accessible format of podcasts significantly lowers the barriers of entry for aggregating businesses. The study therefore suggests that i. a. producing ‘original content’ and offering platform users a ‘personalized user experience’ can create a competitive edge to differentiate from rivals. On the basis of the aforementioned results, this study proposes a business model solution for a podcast streaming service that operates as a multi-sided platform with a freemium model. The main revenue streams are created by advertising sales and channel subscriptions. In summary, this study concludes that an implementation of 21 success factors could lead an online streaming service to a dominant market position. The identified success factors can largely be applied to a podcast streaming service, though particular variations need to be taken into account. 

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