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Exploring the Impacts of Virtual Reality on Business Models: The Case of the Media Industry



Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging technology with a large potential to disrupt businesses. However, impacts of VR on companies have remained largely unexplored. We seek to fill this research gap with the business model concept as a well-structured foundation. Using the example of the media industry as one of the industries most affected by VR, our qualitative study classifies different types of VR applications and contents to assess their impacts on a business model’s components. We distinguish between the internal use of VR applications in companies (e.g., for conferencing and collaborating) and the production and distribution of VR content for external use (e.g., videos and games). The findings show that the impact of VR on companies that produce and distribute VR contents for external purposes is large and even increases when more technologies are needed to create content and when the content is more interactive. Compared to this, VR’s impact on companies that merely use the technology for internal purposes is small. Our analysis also shows that the business model concept is well suited to analyze technology adoption at the firm level. Thus, we suggest its future use to methodically advance this research stream.
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Twenty-Fifth European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, 2017
Research in Progress
Mütterlein, Joschka, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany,
Hess, Thomas, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany,
Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging technology with a large potential to disrupt businesses. However,
impacts of VR on companies have remained largely unexplored. We seek to fill this research gap with
the business model concept as a well-structured foundation. Using the example of the media industry
as one of the industries most affected by VR, our qualitative study classifies different types of VR ap-
plications and contents to assess their impacts on a business models components. We distinguish be-
tween the internal use of VR applications in companies (e.g., for conferencing and collaborating) and
the production and distribution of VR content for external use (e.g., videos and games). The findings
show that the impact of VR on companies that produce and distribute VR contents for external purpos-
es is large and even increases when more technologies are needed to create content and when the con-
tent is more interactive. Compared to this, VR’s impact on companies that merely use the technology
for internal purposes is small. Our analysis also shows that the business model concept is well suited
to analyze technology adoption at the firm level. Thus, we suggest its future use to methodically ad-
vance this research stream.
Keywords: Virtual Reality, Business Model, Firm-Level Adoption, Media Industry.
1 Introduction
Technological innovations can have tremendous impact on firms and can make it necessary to adapt
products, services, and operations (Yoo et al., 2012). An emerging technology that has the potential to
change companies in such a way is virtual reality (VR) (Gartner, 2016). It was predicted to create a
billion dollar market already in 2016 and is said to disrupt many industries in the long term, starting
with media (Deloitte, 2016). This raises questions about the technology’s impacts on companies
products, services, processes, or structures might need to be adapted, some even drastically. While the
development of VR has been rapid in the past years (Anthes, 2016), research has not followed suit by
providing answers to questions on how the technology affects companies, although an agenda for IS
research on VR was presented early on (Walsh and Pawlowski, 2002).
To fill this research gap, we analyze the impacts of VR on companies. As any company is a complex
construct, such impacts can be multifaceted and hard to grasp. Thus, we need a foundation that allows
one to analyze a company as comprehensively and systematically as possible. The business model
concept provides an ideal basis for this, because it is capable of describing the rationale of how com-
panies do business in a well laid out structure and allows to assess changes of that rationale holistically
(Wirtz el al., 2016). As an object of investigation, we chose the media industry, since it is the industry
most affected by the technology. Similar to marketing and commerce, media companies experience
such effects in two ways: first, VR applications can be used internally (USE), e.g., VR applications
that create virtual rooms for conferencing and collaborating. Second, VR content can be produced and
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Twenty-Fifth European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, 2017 3214
distributed for external use (P&D), e.g., videos and games. Our research question is: How do VR USE
and VR P&D affect media companiesbusiness models?
Focusing on a single, ideal industry type decreases the generalizability of results. Yet, at this explora-
tory stage, our approach is a valuable foundation for theory-building (Bacharach, 1989). In this sense,
our work can serve as a stepping stone for research in four directions: First, we offer a theoretically
derived classification of VR applications and content that can be used to systematically investigate VR
in future studies. Second, our results are directly applicable to practice and research interested in the
impacts of implementing VR in areas concerned with content creation, i.e., media management, mar-
keting, and commerce. Third, we provide a foundation for further research on the impacts of VR in
other industries, enabling comparisons with our case. Fourth, we demonstrate that the business model
concept is an interesting foundation for comprehensive evaluations of the consequences of technology
adoption at the firm level.
2 Theoretical Foundations
2.1 Virtual reality
Although attention on VR, defined as “a real or simulated environment in which a perceiver experi-
ences telepresence” (Steuer, 1992, p. 76f.), has increased tremendously since the introduction of the
Oculus Rift in 2012 on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, the concept is far from new. After ear-
lier fictional works, Sutherland (1965) was the first to present a scientific vision of an “ultimate dis-
play” in the 1960s. In the following decades, VR became a mainly fictional subject again, until
Rheingold (1991) among others renewed scientific interest. The 1990s saw the first VR hype, accom-
panied by many issues regarding the definition and precise manifestation of the technology (Biocca et
al., 1995). Owing to the limited technological possibilities at the time, VR soon became a niche topic
again, but today’s technologies have finally enabled mass market use (Anthes et al., 2016).
Along with the overall interest in VR, the question how it would change businesses has also long been
clear (Rheingold, 1991). An IS research agenda on VR that covers management issues was formulated
early on (Walsh and Pawlowski, 2002), but little has happened in that direction since. IS research has
delved into topics such as customer perceptions of VR in commerce (e.g., Suh and Lee, 2005) and, in
a very wide VR sense, team collaboration in virtual worlds (e.g., Davis et al., 2009) and organizational
learning in virtual worlds (e.g., Dodgson et al., 2013; Li et al., 2011). However, to date the business
model impacts of implementing VR have remained unexplored.
2.2 Business models
Technological innovations, namely e-businesses, have been linked to the business model concept since
its early days (Amit and Zott, 2001). A business model describes the rationale of how an organization
creates, delivers, and captures value (Osterwalder and Pigneur, 2010, p. 14) and covers the important
areas of a company. The definitions of what constitutes a business model have developed rapidly, with
the Business Model Canvas (Osterwalder and Pigneur, 2010) being the most popular and widely used
framework in practice. In research, business model design, analysis, and change are frequent topics
(e.g., Johnson et al., 2008; Wei et al., 2014; Zott and Amit, 2010). This has led to a variety of frame-
works, one of the most recent and comprehensive stemming from Wirtz et al. (2016). They combine
earlier works from practice and research into a framework that categorizes the business model of com-
panies along nine fields. These are the strategy, resources, network, customer, market offer, revenue,
manufacturing, procurement, and financial models. As this framework encompasses most previously
suggested business model components, it is best capable of analyzing a business holistically and, thus,
the most suitable framework for our research.
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Twenty-Fifth European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, 2017 3215
Regarding the effects of new technologies on business models, little research exists. Previous studies
have analyzed the roles of business models in capturing value from novel technologies (Chesbrough
and Rosenbloom, 2002), identified optimal business models when technological innovations arise (Pa-
teli and Giaglis, 2005), and studied how technology-driven business models can be adapted better (Lee
et al., 2013). Yet, the effects of new technologies on business model components remain largely unex-
plored, especially concerning VR, although the impact of new technologies on companies can be large
(Melville et al., 2004).
The two ways in which VR can affect business models can also be seen as technology adoption at the
firm level (Oliveira and Martins, 2011). Regarding USE, companies must adopt VR directly. Regard-
ing P&D, companies must adopt specific technologies to produce and distribute VR content, which
resembles an indirect form of VR adoption. Yet, while technology adoption at the firm level is a popu-
lar research stream, it has provided no frameworks that are comprehensive enough to investigate how
the ways companies do business are affected when a new technology is introduced. The theory of the
diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 1995) or the technology-organization-environment framework
(DePietro et al., 1990) are the most popular foundations. However, these and other adoption models
are mainly used to evaluate antecedents of technology adoption by firms (e.g., Benlian et al., 2009;
Low et al., 2011), but not consequences. The latter have been subject to research in an individual con-
sumer context (e.g., Agarwal and Prasad, 1998; Trenz et al., 2013), but have remained largely unex-
plored in company contexts (Ordanini, 2006; Saeed and Abdinnour, 2011). While single studies exist,
they provide no comprehensive framework that allows to systematically evaluate the impact of tech-
nology adoption (e.g., Gangwar et al., 2014; Iacovou et al., 1995). Thus, the business model concept is
a more appropriate foundation concerning our research question, and has also recently been shown to
provide relevant insights in related IS research (Berger and Hess, 2015).
3 Method
Previous research on business models indicates that business model transformations, as is the case
here with transformations owing to technological pressures from outside of the firm’s boundaries, are
well assessable via qualitative case studies (Berger and Hess, 2015; Wirtz, 2016). As there are few
previous findings that we could transfer to the context at hand, we chose to also answer our research
question in an explorative, qualitative way with semi-structured interviews and multiple cases (Benba-
sat et al., 1987). The process consists of four steps. We address the first three in this research-in-
progress paper:
1. Classification of VR applications and content: we needed to develop a technology-interaction-
based classification of VR applications and content to provide a foundation for interviews. Such a
classification is also essential because technological requirements regarding applications and con-
tent determine which technologies a company must adopt for P&R or USE.
2. Interview guideline and initial interviews: we developed an interview guideline that covers assur-
ance of anonymity, project background information and definitions, and questions regarding the
status quo and impacts of VR on each of the business model components. We conducted five inter-
views with media practitioners (one from film/TV, size “large”, one from radio/music, size “medi-
um”, one from newspaper, size “large”, and two from gaming, sizes “small” and “medium”, see de-
tailed selection criteria for cases below) to get a broad picture of VR’s impacts.
3. Analysis and triangulation of data: we transcribed, coded, and triangulated the five interviews as
described below. Based on the results, we adapted the questionnaire to ensure that we cover all are-
as in detail.
4. Completion of interviews: we will use the same adapted guideline for the following interviews with
practitioners who best complement our initial sample (Paré, 2004).
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Twenty-Fifth European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, 2017 3216
To carefully address the media industry as our object of investigation in breadth, we divided our sam-
ple in the sub-industries film/TV, cinema, gaming, radio/music, publishing, newspaper, and infrastruc-
ture/distribution. For each of these sub-industries we selected three exemplary companies based on
size and experience with VR. We assessed experience with VR via VR products released by the com-
pany and size via number of employees, i.e., small is fewer than 50 employees, medium 50 to fewer
than 250 employees, and large with 250 employees or more (European Union, 2003). The main crite-
rion for our choice of interviewees was insight into technology usage and business processes, i.e., a
company’s CEO, production manager, or employees responsible for creating VR products. After com-
pleting the initial five interviews that are included in this research-in-progress paper, we scheduled
another 16 interviews to cover the media industry in breadth.
All interviews were recorded on tape and transcribed. One researcher then coded the interviews re-
garding the effects found and regarding an estimation of the technology’s impacts. The latter could be
low, medium, or high, based on a comparison of the business model components’ status quo and the
effects of VR USE and P&D, as reported by each interviewee. Another researcher coded the inter-
views again, without seeing the results of the first researcher. If their coding differed, a third research-
er coded the respective paragraph independently from the two others and the majority vote decided on
the final coding. For the first five interviews, this procedure led to an intercoder reliability of 0.87 re-
garding effects found and 0.94 regarding the estimation of technology’s impacts, indicating good
agreement on the results (Neuendorf, 2017). In the rare case of three differing opinions, the paragraph
and all three codings were given to a fourth researcher, who made the final decision. To further in-
crease the quality of our work, we followed guidelines from IS research and other disciplines, e.g.,
regarding documentation (Dubé and Paré, 2003; Mayring, 2014; Paré, 2004).
Finally, we triangulated our findings using presentations and posters from four events attended in Oc-
tober and November 2016: Medientage München, one of Europes largest annual media conventions,
as well as the symposia on media innovations at the University of Oslo, on radio innovations at Uni-
versity of Cologne, and on VR software and technology at the Technical University of Munich. All of
these addressed media innovations generally or VR specifically, with either a focus on technological
or business aspects from either a practitioner or an academic perspective, or both. We obtained infor-
mation from 228 presentations and posters, with 42.11% (n = 96) focusing at least partially on VR. We
recorded presentations that were not available as papers or posters either as video or audio files in full
length to ensure a systematic analysis and quality of triangulation (Yin, 2014).
4 Preliminary Results and Discussion
4.1 Step 1: classification of virtual reality applications and content
As no suitable classification of VR applications and content existed, we conducted a thorough litera-
ture review and built our classification on the established, broad definition of Steuer (1992) as noted
above. However, to connect content to technology, we followed Biocca and Delaney (1995) in focus-
ing on the underlying technology: VR is “the sum of the hardware and software systems that seek to
perfect an all-inclusive, immersive, sensory illusion of being present in another environment” (p. 63).
We also followed Anthes et al. (2016), who suggest restricting the underlying technology’s scope to
developments that are currently relevant for end-consumers, which excludes spatially immersive de-
vices and other projection-based technologies such as CAVE installations. Finally, such technological-
ly delivered VR applications and content must enable interaction (Burdea and Coiffet, 2003), at least
to an extent that users can move their field of vision 360 degrees.
The result is a technology-interaction-based classification of VR applications and content as a contin-
uum ranging from low-VR types, such as passively viewed 360-degree videos merely consumed via
visual displays, to high-VR types, such as actively played VR games consumed via binaural audio and
visual, haptic, and even multisensory displays (Anthes et al., 2016). Figure 1 shows the full continu-
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Twenty-Fifth European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, 2017 3217
um. The five boxes in the figure exemplify how the classification can be used to order different VR
content types according to the underlying technologies. However, the classification can also be used to
classify business and social VR applications for conferencing, collaboration, and learning. The num-
bers represent (with illustrative examples):
1. 360-degree video with one fixed camera (sports video),
2. video with binaural audio and several cameras that can be chosen (classical music concert),
3. game with binaural audio on a display with integrated touchpad (simulation game),
4. game with binaural audio, external controller, and haptic suit (adventure game),
5. game with binaural audio, external controller, haptic suit, and multisensory mask (action game).
360-degree visual
Binaural audio
Haptic device
Multisensory device
Level of interaction during usage
passive active
Figure 1. Technology-interaction-based classification of VR applications and content.
4.2 Steps 2 and 3: first insights into the impacts of virtual reality adoption
The aggregated interview results of this research-in-progress paper are shown in Table 1. Our findings
are divided into the affected business model component, with a quote that represents the overall opin-
ion from the interviews. To illustrate changes, Table 1 contains the status quo as well as the effect for
each component. As can be seen, some descriptions relate to low-VR content (as per our classification
above), other descriptions relate to higher-VR content. With the two dimensions of our classification,
(i.e., underlying technology and level of interaction), Table 1 highlights that the more underlying tech-
nologies are needed and the more interactive the content is, the larger the impact. To assess this impact
on each component, we distinguish between effects regarding P&D and effects regarding USE. How-
ever, qualitative research is generally unable to display all results in their full length. Thus, we made a
selection of all effects that is as objective as possible by focusing on the issues mentioned most often.
Business model
Status quo regarding VR production
& distribution (P&D) or usage (USE)
Effects of VR adoption regarding produc-
tion & distribution (P&D) or usage (USE)
Strategy model
(P&D: low)
(USE: low)
(P&D/USE:) Doubts about the ideal in-
tegration of new technologies
(P&D/USE:) Doubts about the ideal integra-
tion of VR
“I’m not sure if it will really work […] a few years ago, we thought 3-D would be the
next big thing […] only to realize it’s more for cinemas, for an event feeling.”
Resources model
(P&D: high)
(P&D:) Usage of editors and content
management systems that can be handled
without programming knowledge
(P&D:) Usage of game engines that need
programming knowledge to handle increas-
ing requirements of higher-interaction con-
“We develop using the Unreal engine, [which is] well known in the gaming industry.”
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Twenty-Fifth European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, 2017 3218
Network model
(P&D: medium)
(P&D:) Network of different specialists
needed, emphasis on distribution partners
(P&D:) Network of different specialists
needed, emphasis on production and distri-
bution partners
“I prefer to work with strong networks and to get specialists for the various tasks.”
(USE:) Remote collaborations and meet-
ings per email, phone, and video
(USE:) Remote collaborations and meetings
become face-to-face in VR
“You can have most of the advantages of real conferences without needing to travel.
Customer model
(P&D: high)
(USE: medium)
(P&D:) Data handling is not an issue,
except for streaming or 3-D/4K films
(P&D:) From production to distribution,
large amounts of data need to be handled
“You need engines to reduce the amounts of data you need to bring to the display. This is
a technological obstacle.”
(USE:) Content length is variable, few
restraints when content is interesting
(USE:) Content length is restricted by hard-
“The user experience is much shorter […] we do not want to force people to wear a dis-
play for one and a half-hour.”
Market offer
(P&D: medium)
(P&D:) Mostly established old and new
media competitors
(P&D:) Competitors from other industries,
often technology-based, enter the market
“[Competitors] differ. Many have an agency background, […] a technology back-
ground, […] small and fast units.”
Revenue model
(P&D: medium)
(P&D:) Clear revenue models for most
media, a little less clear for online news
(P&D:) Revenue models for entertainment
and information content are unclear
“I don’t think there will be something specific for VR, but something that’s already there
in other areas.”
(P&D: high)
(USE: low)
(P&D:) Traditional production structures
to create one specific content type and to
foster creativity, trend to be more flexi-
(P&D:) Production structures fundamentally
change so as to embrace technological ex-
pertise besides creativity, making content
development similar to the development of
To implement VR in our infrastructure, from the digital side, was the most difficult for
me. This has worked well in some areas and not at all in many others.
(USE:) Prototyping is conceptually at an
early stage, creating and discussing a real
prototype requires effort
(USE:) Prototyping is easier when a team
can meet and discuss a virtual prototype in
“Teams can see the full results of their work and adapt and evaluate much faster.”
(P&D: medium)
(P&D:) Few physical requirements of
consumers regarding the content
(P&D:) Information from other fields are
necessary (e.g., medicine and psychology)
“I’m not convinced about moving around [in VR]. First, there is the motion sickness
problem that many people still experience. Second, I need to move in a world and not
feel pushed around. It must seem homogeneous.”
Financial model
(P&D: low)
(P&D:) Longer investment cycles
(P&D:) Repeated, short-term investments
are necessary
“We have bought a few cameras […] and we’re now waiting for the next generation,
because buying the old camera again makes no sense, because it is outdated within two
months […] the technological rhythm is becoming faster and faster.”
Table 1. Status quo and effects of VR adoption on media business models.
Comparing P&D to the status quo, we found high impacts on the resources, customers, and manufac-
turing models. This is reflected in the changes of processes and structures in production and distribu-
tion. Only low-VR-content, such as passively viewed 360-degree videos, requires little adaption. This
is highlighted by one interviewee, who stated: “If you just do 360-degree videos, many things are
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Twenty-Fifth European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, 2017 3219
similar.” However, processing even this content gets more complex, as an interviewee explained: “Of
course, there are many additional steps in post-production.” But when the content’s interaction level
increases (see Figure 1) and growing amounts of visual, audio, haptic, or even multisensory data must
be created for (manufacturing model) and processed to the users (customer model), suitable engines,
digital resources (resources model), and new processes and structures (manufacturing model) are re-
quired. Other business model components are also affected by VR P&D, but to a lesser extent.
This shift can also be seen at the individual level, where job tasks are changing. For instance, our tri-
angulation data included a panel discussion that widely agreed with a participant explaining that “be-
sides my job in TV, I have experience in interactive media and game design, which help me with VR
[...] 360 degrees is linear video content, little interaction [...] as soon as it comes to real VR, the author
is more of a level designer and the story is more of an experience.” As this example demonstrates, the
higher the level of interaction, the more creating VR content resembles game production a business
type many media companies have little experience in. This finding is confirmed by our interviewees
from the gaming sub-industry. They were the only ones to report being less affected, as they have al-
ready integrated many of the abovementioned aspects into their business models and work with tech-
nologies that can cope with most of the stated problems. Other sub-industries face bigger challenges.
Our findings indicate that, at the least, they must acquire technological expertise and adapt their pro-
duction and distribution. At the most, they must enter previously unknown market areas. This is espe-
cially apparent in radio/music, which arguably must re-invent their role in a virtual environment.
Regarding USE in organizations, VR’s impacts seem almost negligible. Few business model compo-
nents are affected, such as the manufacturing or the network model, and for those, VR has only low to
medium impacts. Our interviewees underlined that VR use might improve work for some employees
and departments, but the general business model seems to remain unchanged.
5 Current Implications for Research and Practice
For research, our work extends previous studies on VR and virtual worlds to a broader company con-
text (e.g., Davis et al., 2009; Suh and Lee, 2005). It offers a broad foundation that enables one to fur-
ther analyze VR use in firms, which has been an underexplored area for many years (Walsh and Paw-
lowski, 2002). To deepen understanding, our paper should be extended in future research with in-
depth case studies of media companies and companies from other industries that already make sub-
stantial use of VR technology.
Besides the direct business impact, our findings raise questions about consumers’ views on VR. First,
to evaluate how urgent the need to adapt business models is, it is necessary to investigate if consumers
really want to use VR on a sustained basis. Further, our interviewees have been astonishingly vague
concerning revenue streams. For instance, besides the abovementioned quote from an interview, our
triangulation data contain a speaker joking that, for VR, the perfect financing methods are currently
being worked on”. Such quotes show how unclear revenue generation with VR content is. Thus, to be
able to discuss possible impacts of VR on revenue models, it is necessary to explore consumers’ will-
ingness to pay for VR content to establish a sound foundation for discussion. Both questions, i.e.,
about continuance intention and willingness to pay for content, require a comprehensive investigation
of the possible variables that influence them.
In this study, we also demonstrated that the business model concept is well suited to investigate the
consequences of technology adoption at the firm level, because it provides a well-structured and com-
prehensive framework. Only technological and environmental aspects might be covered in more depth.
Integrating the concept into the technology-organization-environment framework (DePietro et al.,
1990) would most likely further increase the quality of analysis, and is a logical avenue for future re-
search. The resulting approach could then be used to analyze organizational technology adoption and
improve the analyses of business models that focus on technological aspects (e.g., Pateli and Giaglis,
Mütterlein and Hess / VR Impact on Business Models
Twenty-Fifth European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, 2017 3220
2005). Such an approach could also employ insights into the quantitative assessment of changing
business models (Clauss, 2016).
For practice, our findings highlight how crucial it is for companies and departments involved with me-
dia to get technological expertise and to not rely on the mostly creative capabilities needed for produc-
ing non-interactive traditional, web, or mobile content. VR P&D makes it necessary to use the skills of
game developers or, if gamification aspects are not needed, other programmers, in order to produce
interactive content. At a firm level, processing and distributing VR content requires processes and
structures similar to that of gaming companies, for instance, agile development, rapid prototyping and
user tests, real-time handling of large amounts of data, and long-term improvement of content with
patches. This is also true for marketing and commerce, which need the same kind of expertise for VR
content production and distribution as media companies.
6 Conclusion and Future Research
We have used the business model concept to analyze the impacts of VR on media companies’ business
models. Our findings show that the impacts on companies that focus on P&D is large and even in-
creases when more technologies are needed to create content and when the content becomes more in-
teractive. Mainly due to the changing requirements regarding the business model’s resources, custom-
er, and manufacturing components, these companies must orient themselves towards the business
models of game companies. Compared to this, VR’s impact on companies that merely focus on USE
(e.g., for conferencing and collaborating) is small.
In addition, we have provided a classification of VR applications and content and have demonstrated
that the business model is well suited to analyze the consequences of technology adoption at the firm
level. Based on this, we have recommended further research on how it can be combined with the es-
tablished technology-environment-organization framework (DePietro et al., 1990). Further, we have
suggested research concerning VR’s impacts on companies and concerning consumers’ attitudes to-
wards VR content. This research-in-progress paper will be completed with step 4 including the pend-
ing interviews and adapting findings. Based on our data used for triangulation, we assume that these
interviews will add more facets, especially concerning sub-industries, and that they will confirm our
overall picture and conclusions: when it comes to P&D, VR will most likely make it necessary for
companies to adapt their products, services, and operations.
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The concept of business models has reached global impact, both for company's competitive success and in management science. Its application by authors from diverse areas has led to a previously very heterogeneous comprehension of the concept. Yet, by means of investigating its origin and theoretical development, we state a recently converging business model view. Further, based on analyzing business model definitions, perspectives and components in the literature, we newly define the concept and portray its essential components in an integrated framework. Finally, the compilation of the current state of business model research yields the article's main findings. In this regard, via database search we quantitatively identify 681 peer-reviewed articles. Further, we qualitatively analyze them according to individual research areas that we adopt from an appropriate heuristic frame of reference. In this way, we identify four essential research foci: innovation, change & evolution, performance & controlling and design. In triangulation with assessing future research perspectives through a survey of twenty-one international experts, they also consider the areas of innovation, change & evolution, and design to be significant for the future development of the business model research field.