Incumbents needn’t be victims of disruption if they recognize the crucial thresholds in their life cycle, and act in time.
A decade ago, Norwegian media group Schibsted made a courageous decision: to offer classifieds—the main revenue source of its newspaper businesses—online for free. The company had already made significant Internet investments but realized that to establish a pan-European digital stronghold it had to raise the stakes. During a presentation to a prospective French partner, Schibsted executives pointed out that existing European classifieds sites had limited traffic. “The market is up for grabs,” they said, “and we intend to get it.”1 Today, more than 80 percent of their earnings come from online classifieds.2