CEO Topic: Disruptive Business Models

Author: Simon Alterman

Date: October 16, 2014


Established players have always faced competition from new entrants. But disruption feels different, is different – and it’s all around. It’s becoming more difficult to tell whether the new kid on the block is just another wannabe or a wave that will create sweeping change. And it’s sometimes hard to tell if your own new business has invented the next big thing. CEOs must think critically about the legitimacy and influence of disruption, and Outsell can help. This report looks at the underlying forces of disruption and provides:

  • Outsell’s definition of disruption in the industry.
  • Analysis of how disruptors behave and the business models they employ.
  • Case studies of companies trying to disrupt markets – DueDil, Flat World Knowledge, StraighterLine, and TransferWise – and how they’re doing it.
  • Essential actions to help assess and respond to potentially disruptive competitors, and for would-be disruptors to make the most of opportunities.

This is a must-read for established information businesses looking to mitigate the threat of insurgent companies – and for would-be disruptors looking to take aim at the market in the right way.


This report is primarily based on interviews with founding CEOs of businesses that are challenging established models, as well as our regular dialogue with executives in established organizations charged with assessing and reacting to the forces and symptoms of changes around them. It draws on secondary research into the lively debate about disruption in the broader business community. Additional resources include Outsell’s daily dialogue with the market and analysis of market trends, and our data on the information industry and the companies that operate in it.

Outsell Inc. CEO Topic: Disruptive Business Models


  • Why This Topic
  • Methodology
  • What is Disruption?
  • Disruption in the Newspaper Industry
  • Disruptive Forces
  • How Disruptors Behave
  • Disruptive Model Features
  • Case Studies
  • DueDil
  • Flat World Knowledge
  • TransferWise
  • StraighterLine
  • Essential Actions
  • Related Research

Figures & Tables

  • Figure 1. US Daily and Sunday Newspaper Revenues
  • Table 1. Dispersal of Newspaper Ad Revenues Across Categories
  • Table 2. Disruptive Forces and Consequences
  • Table 3. Business Model Features in Disruption

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