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Columbia University

Media Platforms

Columbia University via Coursera


Media has changed significantly in the past decade. There are new verticals, new platforms, and new content sources. So how do media experts continue to navigate successfully in this ever-changing space? What are the industry dynamics, and how do you stay on top of the competition?

In Media Platforms, Professor Miklos Sarvary will examine the businesses of the major media game changers – like Google and Facebook – as well as that of traditional media companies who have tried to adapt to the Internet era to learn from their mistakes and successes.

Miklos Sarvary is the Carson Family Professor of Business and the faculty lead for the Media and Technology Program at Columbia Business School. Miklos' broad research agenda focuses on media and information marketing. His most recent papers are studying agenda setting, user-generated content, social network competition and online/mobile advertising.

With this knowledge, participants will be equipped to make stronger decisions about their organization’s media strategy and tactics and better anticipate the next media moves in order to develop a sustainable competitive advantage.


This module will consist of a Pre-Course Survey and two Introductory Videos. The goal of the survey is to get to know a little bit more about you and your ideas- it is a survey, so there are no wrong answers. Just make sure to answer each question to proceed.

The Birth of a New Medium: Broadcasting
This module first introduces the characteristics of the media industry and then discusses the birth and early history of Radio in the USA and how it evolved into Television after WWII. Important parallels are drawn for today when another new medium (the Internet) is about to disrupt broadcasting and other media industries. This module also focuses on traditional TV’s new challenger: online video.

Exploring the Global Search Industry
This module will discuss the search industry. Of course, we will talk about Google – one of the largest media companies by market cap – and analyze how it came to dominate the global search business. An important goal of the module is to explore some of Google’s core technologies and how they form the basis for competitive advantage.

The Implications of Social Media
This module discusses the emerging social media industry. We will analyze the largest social network today: Facebook. Special emphasis will be put on consumer behavior on social media and its implications for revenue models and competitive advantage.

The New Revolution: Entertainment Content
This module will analyze industries in specific entertainment sectors (books, music and film). These industries’ history and industry dynamics are strongly linked to the evolution of some recording technology. Books, movies, music are all industries where some content has been recorded and, as a result, allows the distribution of the content to millions of people. Generally speaking, these are “hit-driven” industries where a few content pieces dominate in terms of the share of industry revenues. How to run a business dominated by “hits” is the focal question of the module.

The Other Side of Content: Decision-Making
This module will discuss information markets, where content is used for decision making rather than entertainment. Database vendors, information providers (e.g. Bloomberg for financial information, that we analyze in more detail), consultants are all part of the information industry. The module focuses on how information is consumed and the strange competitive forces that may emerge in information markets.

The News Outlier
In this module, we will analyze a case on The Economist to understand what lies behind its success at a time when newspapers are generally declining. We will also explore in detail how readers/viewers consume news and what might be the reasons behind the phenomenon of media bias.

Taught by

Sean Wiggins


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