NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2011

Instructor Details

Shamsai, Peri



Monday 7:45-8:30 PM

Class Location

If I do not respond to an email at the above email address, please email me at: peri.shamsai@ey.com


Course Meetings

M, 6:30pm to 7:45pm

Tisch T-UC25

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

Course Description: This course is designed to provide students with the essential tools for understanding the fundamental mechanisms of entertainment and media industries. We will investigate media companies’ corporate, financial and operational strategies and the impact digital media is having on these strategies. We will cover recent activities in key industry sectors, including film, television, music, interactive games and publishing. We will explore changing revenue models (e.g., advertising, retail, licensing, digital downloads and streaming), product bundling, consumer consumption patterns, distribution channels and piracy as critical drivers of industry dynamics. Lastly, we will ask the question: Has digital forever changed media and entertainment industries and where are we along this journey of change?

Course Objectives


Assessment Components

  1. 20%: Class Attendance and Participation        

  2. 25%: Midterms                                                       

  3. 25%: Group Presentations                                  

  4. 30%: Final                                                               

    1: Reading Assignments and Class Participation (20%)

    Please come to class having read the assignments and be prepared to speak in every class. Class lectures will not duplicate the readings, but instead will build on them. You will be responsible for both the readings and the class material for your exams.

    Case Studies

    Many of the class readings will be case studies to be discussed during class meetings. When reading through the cases to prepare for class, please outline answers to the following questions:

    1. Industry Dynamics: What are the key elements of the industry that are driving the activities in the case? How are the main activities outlined in the case affecting the industry dynamics? Are there new forces that are changing the industry (e.g., new industry players)? Who are the competitors and are they stable or changing?
    2. Consumers: Is there a change in consumer activity that is affecting the company? Are consumers changing their product preferences, payment patterns, or consumption patterns?
    3. Company: Is there any shift in the internal company dynamic? Which departments are involved? Are there divisions not mentioned that play a role in the key decisions that need to be made? What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the company? What is the company strategy and is it changing?
    4. Key Decision: What is the key problem that needs to be decided? What actions should management take to address these problems?
    5. Forces at Play: What are the central forces at play requiring action on the part of management? What effects will those forces have on the company and industry?
    6. Management: What is management trying to achieve in the case? What are the key decisions that the key players in the case have to make? What are the main levers that are driving the decision making? What is management’s full set of options for action?

    Please come to class with a distinct point of view what management should do and why.

    2 & 4: Midterm and Final Exams (55%)

    There will be both a midterm and a final, which will be comprised of both multiple choice and free-text answers. The questions will cover both reading and lecture materials. The midterm will cover all the material up until the date of the exam and the final will include only material covered after the midterm and until the exam (including the material discussed in the group presentations).

    3: Class Presentations (25%)

    The class will break up into groups of 5-7 students, which each group focusing on one of the major media and entertainment companies. I will provide a template for the group analyses that each team will complete. The group will analyze the company’s most recent annual report, plus recent news releases, analyst reports and other publicly available documents to develop a presentation on the company. Each group must take a position on the company’s growth potential over the next 3-5 years and defend that position. Some of the key questions to be addressed include:

    • What are the major strength and weaknesses of the company?
    • What are the major competitive threats?
    • What are the key sources of growth for the company?
    • How has the company positioned itself to grow over the next few years? Do you think its strategy will be successful or not and why?

    Every member of the team must present a section of the group presentation and each member will be graded on a combination of the group presentation and the presentation of his/her individual section.


Course Outline

Course Schedule and Assignments




Key Themes


Guest/ Media

1/24 (1)

Industry Business Models & Trends

  • Course Background
  • Industry Definitions & Trends
  • Digital & Traditional Business Models
  • Media Conglomerates
  • Vogel Chapters 1-2
  • Garfield, “Future may be Brighter, but it’s Apocalypse Now,” Advertising Age (23 March 2009)
  • O’Leary, “Welcome to My World: It’s the Consumer’s Media Universe,” AdWeek (17 Nov. 2008)


2/7 (2)

Media Assets & the Music Industry

  • What is a Media Asset?
  • Music Industry
  • Revenue and Cost Structure
  • Deal Structure
  • Vogel – Chapter 6
  • Wadhwani, “Music Industry fights Clashing Digital Battles,” The Tennessean, (3 October 2010)


2/14 (3)

Music Industry & The Impact of Digital

  • Impact of Digital
  • Industry Analysis – Porter’s Five Forces
  • Rivkin & Meier, “BMG Entertainment”
  • Rivkin, “Music Industry Update”
  • Porter, “Understanding Industry Structure”


  • Anand & Cantillon “The Music Industry & the Internet”
  • Wells & Raabe “Update: The Music Industry in 2006”

Interviews with S. Zelnick & K. Conroy (DVD)


No Class - President’s Day

2/28 (4)

Film Industry Mechanisms

  • Industry Economics and Trends
  • Major Players & Business Processes
  • Key Concepts (Co-Pros, Ultimates, Participations and Residuals)
  • Impact of New Media
  • Vogel Chapters 3, 4 and 5.1

Howard Bass

3/7 (5)

Digital Studio

  • Key Elements & Considerations for Digital Content Licensing Deals
  • Learning from the Music Industry
  • Warner Brothers & Bit Torrent
  • Chmielewski, “Disney trying to encourage digital sales; Its vision: Let buyers store movies centrally, watch them anywhere,” Los Angeles Times (15 Nov. 2010)



No Class – Spring Break




3/28 (7)


Understanding Media Conglomerates

  • Financial Statements
  • The ABCs of Annual Reports
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Presentation Templates
  • Annual Reports: Comcast, Disney, Apple, Google, Viacom, Time Warner, News Corp, Yahoo (review & select top 3 companies of interest)
  • “Assessing a Firm’s Financial Health”


4/4 (8)

Television Industry and the impact of digital

  • Television Ecosystem
  • Business Models and Margins
  • CBS and Online Video
  • Digital television
  • Vogel Chapters 7 and 8
  • CBS and Online Video
  • Richtel and Stelter, “In the Living Room, Hooked on Pay TV,” New York Times (23 Aug 2010)
  • Seitz, “Web TV Services, Content Swell Will 'over the top' TV kill cable? Analysts are wrestling over the issue,” Investor’s Business Daily (5 Aug 2010)


4/11 (9)

Publishing and Digital Challenges

  • Overview of Publishing Business (Education, Trade, Magazines)
  • Newspaper Industry Fundamentals
  • Digital – The Pros & Cons
  • Options in a Free World
  • Vogel Chapter 9
  • Nussbaum, “The New Journalism: Goosing the Grey Lady”  NY Magazine (11 January 2009)
  • Shmuel, “Newspapers must find ways to sell content; Innovation is key; All eyes on New York Times as it puts up pay wall,” National Post (12 Nov 2010)


4/18 (10)

New Business Models in Gaming

  • History of Gaming Industry
  • Established & Emerging Business Models
  • Emerging Gaming Sports League Revenue Models
  • Vogel Chapter 12 (Provides insights into the revenue models of sports leagues) and pp. 362-368

Matt Bromberg, Major League Gaming

4/25 (11)

Class Presentations

  • Diversification Strategies
  • Growth vs. Stable Revenue Models
  • Comcast, Disney & Apple


5/2 (12)

Class Presentations

  • New Media becoming Old media
  • Games and Gadgets
  • News Corp, Time Warner & Google


5/9 (13)

Industry Themes

  • Shared Industry Traits
  • Key Class Learnings
  • Vogel, Chapter 15


TBD (14)



Required Course Materials

All readings will be made available through the NYU bookstore.  




Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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