Content is King? Interdependencies in Value Networks for Mobile Services
Uta W.. de Montalvo (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, The Netherlands), Els Van de Kar (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands) and Carleen Maitland (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2007
The advent of new electronic platforms is forcing firms from a range of industries to come together in so-called “value networks” for the provision of innovative mobile services. Firms from different industries have widely varying resources, among which content is often praised as being “king.” We are particularly interested in the role of content and of the content providers, respectively, in the process of value creation to bring these services about. Therefore, our analysis is aimed at specific types of interdependencies, relating the actors’ own and others’ resource contributions. To better understand these interdependencies, we draw on theories about firm resources and inter-organisational relations. We analyse the importance and relevance of different resources in a number of case studies of “mobile information and entertainment services,” in terms of the actors’ resources and contributions to value in the provision of such mobile services. In the cross-case comparison, we contrast the power structures in the different value networks and identify similarities and differences in terms of the types of industrial players that assume positions of greater or lesser importance. This enables us to assess the position of content providers in these mobile services, which turns out to be surprisingly weak. In contrast, intermediaries (service providers) claim a strong position by contributing the service conception and design. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for value network research.