Organizational Choices and Venturing Modes: An Analysis of Corporate Venture Capital Activities in Legacy Media


  • Reinhard Kunz University of Bayreuth
  • Joschka Mütterlein University of Bayreuth
  • Vanessa Walton University of Bayreuth



Corporate Venture Capital, Legacy Media, Startups


Traditional media companies increasingly search for know-how and novel input outside their own networks to keep up with the rapidly changing environment. As an instrument to explore and exploit new business opportunities, corporate venture capital (CVC) has become particularly important. However, there is little research on the CVC investments by legacy media companies, despite these having been responsible for some of the largest investments in past years. To lay a foundation for research in this field, we investigate how traditional media companies organize their CVC activities. Using an extensive analysis of the 90 largest legacy media companies in Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, we explore the organizational structure, investment objectives, investment focus, and industry related- ness of investments. Our findings show the majority of investments are conducted through different forms of direct investments, predominantly focusing on strategic goals and using both exploration and exploitation. Moreover, we identify a trend toward investments in content- and commerce-related fields.


Achtenhagen, L., & Raviola, E. (2009). Balancing tensions during convergence: Duality management in a newspaper company. International Journal on Media Management, 11(1), 32-41.

Aernoudt, R., & San José, A. (2003). Executive forum: Early stage finance and corporate venture–two worlds apart? Venture Capital, 5(4), 277-286.

Battistini, B., Hacklin, F., & Baschera, P. (2013). The state of corporate venturing: Insights from a global study. Research-Technology Management, 56(1), 31-39.

Baumann, S. (2013). Adapting to the brave new world. Innovative organisational strategies for media companies. In T. Storsul & A. H. Krumsvik (Eds.), Media innovations: A multidisciplinary study of change (pp. 77-92). Göteborg: Nordicom.

Benner, M. J., & Tushman, M. (2002). Process management and technological innovation: A longitudinal study of the photography and paint industries. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47(4), 676-706.

Bielesch, F., Brigl, M., Khanna, D., Roos, A., & Schmieg, F. (2012, October 31). Corporate venture capital: Avoid the risk, miss the rewards. bcg.perspectives by the Boston Consulting Group. Retrieved from

Birkinshaw, J., van Basten Batenburg, R., & Murray, G. (2002). Venturing to succeed. Business Strategy Review, 13(4), 10-17.

Bowen, G. A. (2009). Document analysis as a qualitative research method. Qualitative Research Journal, 9(2), 27-40.

Bruns, A. (2014). Media innovations, user innovations, societal innovations. The Journal of Media Innovations, 1(1), 13-27.

Chesbrough, H. (2000). Designing corporate ventures in the shadow of private venture capital. California Management Review, 42(3), 31-49.

Chesbrough, H. (2002). Making sense of corporate venture capital. Harvard Business Review, 80(3), 90-99.

Da Gbadji, L. A. G., Gailly, B., & Schwienbacher, A. (2015). International analysis of venture capital programs of large corporations and financial institutions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (39)5, 1213-1245.

Dauderstädt, P. (2013). Success factors in strategic corporate venturing (Doctoral dissertation). Technical University Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Dogruel, L. (2014). What is so special about media innovations? A characterization of the field. The Journal of Media Innovations, 1(1), 52-69.

Dushnitsky, G. (2012). Corporate venture capital in the 21st century: An integral part of firms’ innovation toolkit. In D. Cumming (Ed.), Oxford handbooks: The Oxford handbook of venture capital (pp. 156-210). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Dushnitsky, G., & Lenox, M. J. (2005). When do firms undertake R&D by investing in new ventures? Strategic Management Journal, 26(10), 947-965.

Dushnitsky, G., & Lenox, M. J. (2006). When does corporate venture capital investment create firm value? Journal of Business Venturing, 21(6), 753-772.

Dushnitsky, G., & Shaver, J. M. (2009). Limitations to interorganizational knowledge acquisition: The paradox of corporate venture capital. Strategic Management Journal, 30(10), 1045-1064.

Engel, J. S. (2011). Accelerating corporate innovation: Lessons from the venture capital model. Research-Technology Management, 54(3), 36-43.

Ernst & Young. (2009). VC: Global Corporate survey 2008-2009, pp. 1-31.

Gompers, P., & Lerner, J. (2000). The determinants of corporate venture capital successes: Organizational structure, incentives, and complementarities. In R. Morck (Ed.), A National Bureau of Economic Research conference report–Concentrated corporate ownership (pp. 17-54). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Gompers, P. A. (2002). Corporations and the financing of innovation: The corporate venturing experience. Economic Review, 87(4), 1-17.

Hang, M. (2007). Media business venturing: A study on the choice of organizational mode (Doctoral dissertation). Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping, Sweden.

Hasenpusch, T. C. (2015). New business development in the media industry: An analysis of media firms corporate venture capital investments. Paper presented at the Annual Conference 2015 of the European Media Management Education Association (EMMA), Hamburg, Germany.

Hass, B. H. (2011). Intrapreneurship and corporate venturing in the media business: A theoretical framework and examples from the German publishing industry. Journal of Media Business Studies, 8(1), 47-68.

Hess, T. (2014). What is a media company? A reconceptualization for the online world. The International Journal on Media Management, 16(1), 3-8.

Hill, S. A., & Birkinshaw, J. (2008). Strategy-organization configurations in corporate venture units: Impact on performance and survival. Journal of Business Venturing, 23(4), 423-444.

Holm, A. B., Günzel, F., & Ulhøi, J. P. (2013). Openness in innovation and business models: Lessons from the newspaper industry. International Journal of Technology Management, 61(3/4), 324-348.

Ireland, R. D., & Webb, J. W. (2007). Strategic entrepreneurship: Creating competitive advantage through streams of innovation. Business Horizons, 50(1), 49-59.

Ivanov, V. I., & Xie, F. (2010). Do corporate venture capitalists add value to start-up firms? Evidence from IPOs and acquisitions of VC-backed companies. Financial Management, 39(1), 129-152.

Kann, A. (2000). Strategic venture capital investing by corporations: A framework for structuring and valuing corporate venture capital programs (Doctoral dissertation). Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

Keaveney, S. M. (1995). Customer switching behavior in service industries: An exploratory study. Journal of Marketing, 59(2), 71-82.

Keil, T. (2000). External corporate venturing. Cognition, speed, and capability development (Doctoral dissertation). Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland.

Keil, T., Zahra, S. A., & Maula, M. V. (2004). Explorative and exploitative learning from corporate venture capital: A model of program level determinants. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2004(1), L1-L6. doi:10.5465/AMBPP.2004.13862999

Kim, K., Gopal, A., & Hoberg, G. (2013). Product market competition and corporate venture capital investment in the IT industry: An empirical analysis. SSRN Electronic Journal, 1-41. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2259967

Lantz, J.-S., Sahut, J.-M., & Teulon, F. (2011). What is the real role of corporate venture capital? International Journal of Business, 16(4), 367-382.

Lee, G. K. (2007). The significance of network resources in the race to enter emerging product markets: The convergence of telephony communications and computer networking, 1989–2001. Strategic Management Journal, 28(1), 17-37.

Likert, R. (1932). A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Archives of psychology. New York, NY: The Science Press.

Mance, H. & Ahmed, M. (2014, August 24). European media bet on tech start-ups. Financial Times. Retrieved from

March, J. G. (1991). Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization Science, 2(1), 71-87.

Maula, M. (2007). Corporate venture capital as a strategic tool for corporations. In H. Landström (Ed.), Handbook of research on venture capital (pp. 371–392). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

McNally, K. (1997). Corporate venture capital: Bridging the equity gap in the small business sector. London/New York, NY: Routledge.

Miel, P. & Faris, R. (2008). News and information as digital media come of age. Media Re:public, Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Retrieved from

Napp, J. J., & Minshall, T. (2011). Corporate venture capital investments for enhancing innovation: Challenges and solutions. Research-Technology Management, 54(2), 27-36.

Park, H. D., & Steensma, H. K. (2012). When does corporate venture capital add value for new ventures? Strategic Management Journal, 33(1), 1-22.

Rind, K. W. (1981). The role of venture capital in corporate development. Strategic Management Journal, 2(2), 169-180.

Röper, B. (2004). Corporate Venture Capital: Eine empirische Untersuchung des Beteiligungsmanagements deutscher und US-amerikanischer Corporate-venture-capital-Investoren [Corporate venture capital: An empirical analysis of the investment management of German and U.S. corporate venture capital investors]. Bad Soden: Uhlenbruch.

Schildt, H. A., Maula, M. V., & Keil, T. (2005). Explorative and exploitative learning from external corporate ventures. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 29(4), 493-515.

Siegel, R., Siegel, E., & MacMillan, I. C. (1988). Corporate venture capitalists: Autonomy, obstacles, and performance. Journal of Business Venturing, 3(3), 233-247.

Sigler, C. (2010). Online-Medienmanagement: Grundlagen – Konzepte – Herausforderungen [Online media management: Foundations–concepts–challenges]. Wiesbaden: Gabler.

Souitaris, V., & Zerbinati, S. (2014). How do corporate venture capitalists do deals? An exploration of corporate investment practices. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 8(4), 321-348.

Storsul, T., & Krumsvik, A. H. (2013). What is media innovation? In T. Storsul, & A. H. Krumsvik (Eds.), Media innovations: A multidisciplinary study of change (pp. 13-26). Göteborg: Nordicom.

Sykes, H. B. (1990). Corporate venture capital: Strategies for success. Journal of Business Venturing, 5(1), 37-47.

Toschi, L., Munari, F., & Nightingale, P. (2012). Mix and match: Corporate diversification and CVC portfolio strategies. Paper presented at the DRUID 2012, CBS, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Wadhwa, A., & Basu, S. (2013). Exploration and resource commitments in unequal partnerships: An examination of corporate venture capital investments. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30(5), 916-936.

Wadhwa, A., Basu, S., & Kotha, S. (2005). Learning objectives and uncertainty resolution: An examination of the structure of corporate venture capital relationships. Paper presented at the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC), Wellesley, MA, USA.

Weber, C. (2005). Corporate Venture Capital als Beitrag zum Wissensmanagement – eine vergleichende Langzeitstudie in Deutschland. [Corporate venture capital as a contribution to knowledge management: A comparing longitudinal study in Germany] (Discussion paper No. SP III 2005-107). Berlin, Germany: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB).

Weber, C., & Weber, B. (2011). Exploring the antecedents of social liabilities in CVC triads–A dynamic social network perspective. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(2), 255-272.

Wirtz, B. W. (2011). Business model management: Design–instruments–success factors. Wiesbaden: Gabler.

Yang, Y., Narayanan, V. K., & De Carolis, D. M. (2014). The relationship between portfolio diversification and firm value: The evidence from corporate venture capital activity. Strategic Management Journal, 35(13), 1993-2011.

Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.