How Competition Is Shaped in The Age of Platforms?

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In the 21st century, we have witnessed the rapid rise of digital readership. This leads to the struggling of media in the competition with news platforms. However, even news platform also has to fight for their position in the media industry.

Professor Geoffrey Parker, co-author of the book “Platform Revolution” says Platforms don’t shake up markets and incumbent businesses only. They change the very nature of competition.

What are the new types of competition in the age of platforms?


“It’s like three-dimensional chess.”, says professor Parker.

First, one digital platform fights against another. For example, Facebook competes with Snapchat in terms of news distribution.

Second, a platform competes directly with its own partners. For example, when Tiki, a Vietnam-based online shopping platform, sells its self-made office items, which are also sold by its partner merchants.

Third, two distinct news publishers compete against each other within a platform ecosystem. For example, BBC and CNN fight for a spot in the Snapchat Discover section.

In this fierce race, competitors arm with their own strategies.

Platforms recognize “multi-homing” (one same content posted on various platforms) as a risk. They impede this practice by encouraging loyalty as well as creating barriers and penalties. In his article, Grzegorz Piechota lists out some clear examples. Facebook signed 140 contracts with video producers, including CNN, BuzzFeed, and Vox Media, to guarantee their commitment. Snapchat once banned Yahoo from its Discover section because Yahoo’s news broadcast was old-fashioned and not appealing to Snapchat’s audience. News publishers must follow platforms’ rules if they want to be a part of the joint venture. Platforms, then, can enhance their competitive advantages over competitors.

News Publishers consider collaborating with various social media platforms is both an investment and an insurance policy. This strategy helps them to engage with a wider range of audiences, which, in turn, becomes their competitive advantages.

A Symbiosis Relationship


Although the competition is fiercer than ever, I believe the normative relationship between news platforms and media outlets should be a ‘Symbiosis‘ or Collaboration.

What media outlets need to consider when joining this symbiosis relationship is not to lose control over their own business. Sangeet Paul Choudary, CEO of Platform Strategy Labs suggests ways for media outlet to protect themselves when working with platforms.

  • Publishers should ensure the right to access to data about user interaction with their content on the platforms.
  • Publishers need to ensure that they can engage and build a strong relationship with their readers through that platform.
  • Think of the scenario whether the platform can exploit the data collected from user interaction with publishers’ content for their own purposes and be careful.

Learn the rules of the game, then play better than anyone else! That’s the way we fight off all competitions!


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