NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2012

Instructor Details

Shamsai, Peri



Mondays 7:45 – 8:30 PM

After Class

If you have a time-sensitive request, it is best to email me at: peri.shamsai@ey.com


Course Meetings

M, 6:30pm to 7:45pm

Tisch T-UC24

Final Exam:

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


Course Description and Learning Goals

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, ad agencies 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


Course Requirements

Class participation will be extremely important, since much of the study of the entertainment industry is obtained from articles, on the job observation, guest speakers, and some selected texts.  In addition there will be group presentations focused on highly influencial companies in the industry. 



Class Attendance and Participation                20%

Midterms                                                         25%

Group Presentations                                       25%

Final                                                                30%



Assessment Components

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.

Class Participation is essential that everyone contributes to class discussion - the TA will take attendance, which will be tracked and impact your final grade You will be expected to have read either the text assigned for the next class, with a particular emphasis placed on thorough preparations of all case studies. We expect lively debate and a distinct point of view from any conversation that can include challenging statement made in the press as well as by other classmates, not just the professor. Class participation will be graded on the quality of the interaction and will be measured against these criteria:


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).


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:

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.


Grade Appeals

If you have any question about your grade - group or individual - (other than a numerical error on my part) please state your case in a typewritten detailed memo to me precisely why I should consider a change with supporting material from text and/or notes.


Required Reading

The readings will be a combination of a text book focused on the media and entertainment industries and HBS case studies.


Course Outline


1 January 23

Industry Business Models & Trends

  • Course Background
  • Students: Career interests, course objectives and media favorites
  • Industry Definitions & Trends
  • Digital & Traditional Business Models
2  January 30

Media Assets & the Music Industry

  • What is a Media Asset?
  • Music Industry Fundamentals
  • Revenue and Cost Structure
  • Deal Structure
3  February 6 Music Industry & The Impact of Digital
  • Impact of Digital
  • Industry Analysis
  • Porter’s Five Forces

February 13

Film Industry Mechanisms - Guest Lecturer

  • Industry Economics and Trends
  • Major Players & Business Processes
  • Key Concepts: Co-Pros, Ultimates, Participations & Residuals
  • Impact of New Media

February 27

  • Key Elements & Considerations for Digital Content Licensing Deals
  • Learning from the Music Industry

CASE ASSIGNMENT: Warner Bros & Bit Torrent

6 March 5 MIDTERM


7 March 19

Understanding Media Conglomerates

  • Financial Statements
  • The ABCs of Annual Reports
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Presentation Templates
8 March 26

Television Industry and the impact of digital

  • Television Ecosystem
  • Business Models and Margins
  • CBS and Online Video
  • Digital television 


9 April 2

Digital TV: A Revolution in the Making - Guest Lecturer (List Choi Owens, SVP Digital Media, Scripps Networks):

  • Hulu: An Evil Plot to Destroy the World
  • Building new digital businesses - Opportunities, challenges and considerations
10 April 9

Publishing and Digital Challenges

  • Overivew of Publishing Business (Education, Trade, Magazines)
  • Newspaper Industry Fundamentals
  • Digital - The Pros & Cons
  • Options in a Free World

CASE ASSIGNMENT: The Newspaper Industry in Crisis

11 April 16

Gaming Industry- Guest Lecturer (Greg Gibson, SVP & Associate General Counsel, Take 2 Interactice)

  • Overview of the Gaming Industry
  • Take 2 Interactive
12-13 April 23 & 30

Team Presentations

14 May 7

Industry Themes & Getting a Job in the Industry

  • Shared Industry Traits
  • Key Class Learnings
  • Industry Job Tips (Q&A)

May 14

FINAL EXAM - Exact Date & Location TBD


Professional Responsibilities For This Course

Attendance/Lateness: Absences and tardiness will lower your class participation grade significantly. Late assignments are unaccepted.  If you miss any assignment deadlines (i.e. at the start of a class period on the due date), you forfeit a grade on that assignment. There are no make-up exams for any reason including being out of town, etc.  (If you are in the hospital or there is a death in the immediate family and you miss an exam the final may receive double grading weight). 

Cheating/Plagiarism: Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a ZERO for the assignment/exam for all parties involved if it is a first offense and more severe consequences if there are multiple offenses on the students' records. All incidents will be reported to the Dean and academic disciplinary committee.


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. 

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.


Guidelines for Written Assignment

Any papers are to be typed, double-spaced. Length will be determined if a paper is assigned

It is recommended that you follow a basic proposal or report format or a style book to present your work in a polished and professional manner.

Please take time to organize your work so that it is clear and concise.  Your opening statement should be an introduction which states what your objective is and what you're going to discuss.  The main body should present your findings in a logical and straight-forward way.  Summarize your findings or recommendations at the end in a conclusion.  Break up your work into subheadings.

Make sure that your work is proofread and edited.  You should ask a friend, colleague, or co-worker to help you with this.  Your final draft should be free of errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar; having someone else proofread is the most effective way to do this.

Some of you may want to use your work as a tool to help you in your career planning.  This can be a very persuasive "calling card."  It's well worth your time to develop this assignment into something you can use beyond this course.

Your assignment is expected to reflect your understanding and comprehension of the material covered in this course.  This includes all the readings, supplementary handouts, and the lectures.  Most of the detailed information concerning the various aspects of the course curriculum are contained in the extensive readings provided.  Your assignment should represent the cumulative work product of this course and incorporate that information.

The assignments are due as noted on the syllabus attached.  If for any reason you are unable to submit it on that day, you will have to make arrangements to send it to me directly.  The university imposes a very tight deadline as to when the final grades are due, usually within a few days after the final.  Assignments submitted to me via fax will not be accepted.


Course Pre-Requisites

There are no course pre-requisites. The class will be made up of business and non-business majors and is designed to support both levels of knowledge.


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