Course 2012-2013 a.y.



Department of Management and Technology

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
ACME (12 credits - I sem. - OBS  |  L-ART/06)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

Content industries are undergoing structural changes driven by technological innovations as well as customer behaviour. Three major effects are relevant for the purposes of this course:

  • redefinition of competitive spaces;
  • explosion of distribution channels;
  • entrepreneurial ferment.

During the course we explore the recent evolution of content distribution industries as changes in the competitive rules of the game are occurring: from competition for scarce factors of production to network based competition to attention based competition. 

The goals of the course are:

  • to discuss the specificity of content industries and the evolving drivers of competitive advantage for producers and distributors in mass and niche markets;
  • to analyze the issue of redefinition of competitive spaces and the implications for new and traditional players in content industries;
  • to assess the sustainability of emerging and traditional business models.

Course Content Summary

Sessions are devoted to either theoretical analysis, case discussion, combination of the two, meetings with managers from the field or student group work and presentations.

The program is logically organized into 4 parts:

  • the evolution of distribution channels from physical value chains to digital value nets. Here we explore the competitive rules of the game and the characteristics of different channels and physical and digital business models.
  • differences in cost structures and sources of competitive advantage as new players enter in the field of platform based competition.
  • social media and the implications of user involvement and UGC on reputation, branding, value creation in content industries.
  • competitive dynamics, sources of competitive advantage and economics of different business models.

Sessions specifically devoted to project work are marked in grey in the detailed program.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Attendance is strongly recommended at all regular class meetings. Class discussions on business cases provide key elements for the exam and the final evaluation.

The attending status is related to the participation to the group projects. The status lasts for one year.

Attending students

  • Final written exam, max 15 points
  • Group presentation, max 10 points
  • Class participation, max 5 points

Non attending students

  • Written exam, max 30 points 

Final exam

The final exam is administered at the end of the course. It takes the form of both theoretical and empirical open questions. The empirical questions require the application of concepts, tools and frameworks to either empirical cases or examples discussed in class. The exam is closed-book. Students are not permitted to bring either books or notes to the exam. The minimum grade to pass the final exam is 9/15. 

Group project


As the course is very broad in scope and industries covered, we have selected different projects to give students the opportunity to dig into different aspects of the rapidly changing environment. Projects test students’ ability to analyse the environment, select critical information and to propose original solutions.

The project is evaluated on the following 4 criteria:

  • Relevance of business analysis (saying the right things).
  • Rigor of references to theoretical models (saying things right).
  • Variety of data sources and depth of analysis.
  • Effectiveness of oral presentation.

Both faculty and peers evaluate this part. The minimum grade to pass the group project is 6/10.

Please refer to the detailed syllabus distributed in class.

For students not attending the course, the exam consists of a written test accounting for 100% of the total grade.

The written test consists on an essay, or by open questions. The final grade is evaluated according to the following dimensions:

  • knowledge of theory
  • issue definition
  • ability to contextualise the issue
  • completeness
  • style


Attending students

  • Content distribution. Case Collection. Code 20244, EGEA, 2012.
  • Materials available in digital form on Bocconi e-learning platform

Non attending students

  • Content distribution. Case Collection. Code 20244, EGEA, 2012.
  • Materials available in digital form on Bocconi e-learning platform
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)


Last change 29/03/2012 16:29