Anita Elberse

Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration

Unit: Marketing

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Anita Elberse is the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

Professor Elberse develops and teaches a course on Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries, covering the businesses of entertainment, media, and sports, which ranks among the most sought-after courses in the School’s curriculum for MBA students. She also is the faculty chair of a new executive education program on The Business of Media, Entertainment, and Sports, of the Summer Venture in Management Program, and of the annual START program for incoming HBS faculty. Poets & Quants named her one of the world's 40 best business school professors under the age of 40, and she has received teaching awards on multiple occasions from both the Harvard Business School and its students, including the Charles M. Williams Award for excellence in teaching, "Best of EC Year" honors (for top faculty teaching in the Elective Curriculum), and the Faculty Teaching Award.

In her research, Professor Elberse primarily aims to understand what drives the success of products in the entertainment, media, sports, and other creative industries, and how firms can develop effective marketing strategies for such products. She is acclaimed for her work on digital-media strategies, and frequently uses econometric modeling techniques to examine marketing problems. Her work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, Marketing Science, the Journal of Marketing, and several other journals. She was named a Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar in 2011, and serves on the editorial board of Marketing Science.

Professor Elberse has conducted case studies on dozens of entertainment companies, personalities, and other entities. These include record label A&M/Octone Records, cable operator Comcast, book publisher Grand Central Publishing, online video provider Hulu, the campaign for Jay-Z's book Decoded by advertising agency Droga5, entertainment companies Marvel Enterprises and NBCUniversal, nightlife business Marquee, the Metropolitan Opera, sports leagues MLB and the NFL, MRC's television series House of Cards, soccer clubs Real Madrid and Boca Juniors, Vogue magazine, soccer coach Sir Alex Ferguson, and superstars Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, LeBron James, and Maria Sharapova. Many of these case studies are described in her first book, Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment, which Amazon named one of its Best Books of 2013.

Prior to joining Harvard Business School, professor Elberse was a Visiting Fellow and Lecturer at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD from London Business School, an MA in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, and an MA in Communication Science from the University of Amsterdam (cum laude). A native of The Netherlands but now an American citizen, she was awarded a Netherland-America Foundation/Fulbright Fellowship.

Professor Elberse is one of the youngest female professors to have been promoted to full professor with tenure in Harvard Business School's history.

Featured Work

Publications

Books

  1. Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment

    What's behind the phenomenal success of entertainment businesses such as Warner Bros., Marvel Enterprises, and the NFL—along with such stars as Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, and LeBron James? Which strategies give leaders in film, television, music, publishing, and sports an edge over their rivals? In this book, drawing on my case studies and other research on the worlds of media and sports, I explain a powerful truth about the fiercely competitive world of entertainment: building a business around blockbuster products—the movies, television shows, songs, and books that are hugely expensive to produce and market—is the surest path to long-term success. Along the way, I reveal why entertainment executives often spend outrageous amounts of money in search of the next blockbuster, why superstars are paid unimaginable sums, and how digital technologies are transforming the entertainment landscape. Full of inside stories about some of the world's most successful entertainment brands, Blockbusters is aimed at anyone seeking to understand how the entertainment industry really works—and how to navigate today's high-stakes business world at large.

    Keywords: entertainment; business; strategy; media; Sports; Digital technology; blockbuster; superstar; film; television; music; publishing; performing arts; nightlife; Risk and Uncertainty; Technology; Marketing Strategy; Music Entertainment; Success; Sports; Business Strategy; Film Entertainment; Television Entertainment; Music Industry; Fine Arts Industry; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; Publishing Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2013. View Details

Journal Articles

  1. Investing in Superstars: Lessons from the World of Football [¿Cómo Invertir en Superestrellas? Lecciones del Mundo del Fútbol]

    Markets for soccer players are winner-take-all markets in which a select few top players earn extremely high rewards. The search for effective talent strategies in these conditions has led clubs to pursue a superstar-acquisition model, a talent-development model, or a mix of both. Wherever clubs fall on this spectrum, having a strategy that recognizes the global importance of stars is critical to long-lasting financial success.

    Keywords: sports industry; sports management; talent management; Talent and Talent Management; Sports; Sports Industry; Europe; Latin America;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "Investing in Superstars: Lessons from the World of Football [¿Cómo Invertir en Superestrellas? Lecciones del Mundo del Fútbol]." Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica 14, no. 3 (July–September 2014): 19–27. View Details
  2. Ferguson's Formula

    When Alex Ferguson took over as manager of the English football team Manchester United, the club was in dire straits: It hadn't won a league title in nearly 20 years and faced a very real threat of being relegated to a lower division. In 26 seasons under Ferguson, United won 38 domestic and international trophies—giving him nearly twice as many as any other English club manager—and became one of the valuable franchises in sports. In 2012, during Ferguson's final season before retiring, Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse had the unique opportunity to observe Ferguson's management style in a series of visits and in-depth interviews. In this collaborative explication, she details eight parts of Ferguson's "formula" as she observed them and gives the manager his say. The lessons described range from the necessity of maintaining control over high-performing team members to the importance of observation and the inevitability of change. The approach that brought Ferguson's team such success and staying power is applicable well beyond football—to business and to life.

    Keywords: Strategy; Business or Company Management; Management Style; Success; Sports; Sports Industry; England;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Sir Alex Ferguson. "Ferguson's Formula." Harvard Business Review 91, no. 10 (October 2013): 116–125. View Details
  3. The Economic Value of Celebrity Endorsements

    What is the payoff to enlisting celebrity endorsers? Although effects on stock returns are relatively well documented, little is known about any impact on sales—arguably a metric of more direct importance to advertising practitioners. In this study of athlete endorsements, we find there is a positive payoff to a firm's decision to sign an endorser, and that endorsements are associated with increasing sales in an absolute sense and relative to competing brands. Furthermore, sales and stock returns jump noticeably with each major achievement by the athlete. However, whereas stock-return effects are relatively constant, sales effects exhibit decreasing returns over time. We outline implications for practitioners.

    Keywords: Stocks; Value; Advertising; Sales; Brands and Branding; Decisions; Economics; Marketing Strategy; Investment Return;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Jeroen Verleun. "The Economic Value of Celebrity Endorsements." Journal of Advertising Research 52, no. 2 (June 2012): 149–165. View Details
  4. Bye Bye Bundles: The Unbundling of Music in Digital Channels

    Fueled by digital distribution, unbundling is prevalent in many information industries. What is the effect of this unbundling on sales? And what bundle characteristics drive this effect? I empirically examine these questions in the context of the music industry, using data on weekly digital-track, digital-album, and physical-album sales for all titles released by a sample of over 200 artists. I analyze sales dynamics from January 2005 to April 2007-a period in which the share of unbundled units jumped from roughly one-third to two-thirds of total unit sales. My modeling framework, a system of an "album-sales" and a "song-sales" equation estimated using the seemingly unrelated regression method, explicitly accounts for the interaction between sales for the bundle and its components. I find that revenues decrease significantly as digital downloading becomes more prevalent because consumers switch from buying bundles (albums) to cherry-picking their favorite components (songs) on those bundles. The number of items included in a bundle (a measure of its "objective" value) does not emerge as a significant moderator of this effect. Instead, I find that bundles with items that are more equal in their appeal and bundles offered by producers with a strong reputation suffer less from the negative impact of the shift to mixed bundling in online channels.

    Keywords: Sales; Distribution Channels; Framework; Mathematical Methods; Revenue; Reputation; Online Technology; System; Information Industry; Music Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "Bye Bye Bundles: The Unbundling of Music in Digital Channels." Journal of Marketing 74, no. 3 (May 2010). View Details
  5. Should You Invest in the Long Tail?

    The blockbuster strategy is a time-honored approach, particularly in media and entertainment. When space is limited on store shelves and in traditional distribution channels, producers tend to focus on a few likely best sellers, hoping that one or two big hits will carry the rest of their lists. But online retailing and the digitization of information goods have changed the commercial landscape: Virtual shelf space is infinite, consumers can search through innumerable options, and the marginal cost of reproducing and distributing products is low. What does that mean for the blockbuster strategy? In his 2006 book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine, argues that the sudden availability of niche offerings more closely tailored to their tastes will lure consumers away from homogenized hits. The "tail" of the sales distribution curve, he says, will become longer, fatter, and more profitable. Elberse, a professor at Harvard Business School, set out to investigate whether Anderson's long-tail theory is actually playing out in today's markets. She focused on the music and home-video industries-two markets that Anderson and others frequently hold up as examples of the long tail in action-reviewing sales data from Nielsen SoundScan, Nielsen VideoScan, the online music service Rhapsody, and the Australian DVD-by-mail service Quickflix. What she found may surprise you: Blockbusters are capturing even more of the market than they used to, and consumers in the tail don't really like niche products much. Elberse outlines the implications of her research for producers and retailers, and offers strategic advice to both groups.

    Keywords: Demand and Consumers; Distribution Channels; Sales; Business Strategy; Online Technology; Motion Pictures and Video Industry; Music Industry; Retail Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "Should You Invest in the Long Tail?" Harvard Business Review 86, nos. 7/8 (July–August 2008): 88–96. (HBS Centennial Issue.) View Details
  6. The Effectiveness of Pre-Release Advertising for Motion Pictures: An Empirical Investigation Using a Simulated Market

    One of the most visible and publicized trends in the movie industry is the escalation in movie advertising expenditures over time. Yet, the returns to movie advertising are poorly understood. The main reason is that disentangling the causal effect of advertising on movie sales is difficult because of the classic endogeneity problem: movies expected to be more popular (for example, those with a talented director or well-known actor) also receive more advertising. In this study, we use data on a movie's stock price as it trades on the Hollywood Stock Exchange, a popular online market simulation, to study the impact of movie advertising. Since the entire dynamic path of a movie's stock price--a measure of revenue expectations for the movie--prior to release is observed, one can sweep out any time-invariant unobserved factors that affect both advertising and expectations. Furthermore, certain institutional constraints in the advertising allocation process imply that the first-differenced advertising series is plausibly exogenous over the sample period. We find that advertising has a positive and statistically significant effect on expected revenues, but that the effect varies strongly across movies of different “quality.” The point estimate implies that the returns to advertising for the average movie are negative.

    Keywords: Advertising; Stocks; Investment Return; Price; Revenue; Quality; Mathematical Methods; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Bharat N. Anand. "The Effectiveness of Pre-Release Advertising for Motion Pictures: An Empirical Investigation Using a Simulated Market." Information Economics and Policy 19, nos. 3-4 (October 2007): 319–343. (Special Issue on Economics of the Media.) View Details
  7. The Power of Stars: Do Star Actors Drive the Success of Movies?

    Is the involvement of star actors critical to the success of motion pictures? Film studios, which they regularly pay multimillion-dollar fees to star actors, seem driven by that belief. I shed light on the returns on this investment using an event study that considers the impact of over 1,200 casting announcements on trading behavior in a simulated and real stock market setting. I find evidence that the involvement of stars impacts movies' expected theatrical revenues, and I provide insight into the magnitude of that effect. For instance, my estimates suggest that, on average, stars are worth about $3 million in theatrical revenues. In a cross-sectional analysis grounded in the literature on group dynamics, I also examine the determinants of the magnitude of stars' impact on expected revenues: among other things, I show that the stronger a cast already is, the greater is the impact of a newly recruited star with a track record of box office successes or with a strong artistic reputation. Finally, in an extension to the study, I do not find that the involvement of stars in movies increases the valuation of film companies that release those movies, thus providing insufficient grounds to conclude that stars add more value than they capture. I discuss implications for managers in the motion picture industry.

    Keywords: Talent and Talent Management; Film Entertainment; Investment Return; Revenue; Compensation and Benefits; Resource Allocation; Success; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "The Power of Stars: Do Star Actors Drive the Success of Movies?" Journal of Marketing 71, no. 4 (October 2007): 102–120. (Featured in HBS Working Knowledge.) View Details
  8. The Motion Picture Industry: Critical Issues in Practice, Current Research, and New Research Directions

    Keywords: Entertainment; Media; Practice; Research; Media and Broadcasting Industry;

    Citation:

    Eliashberg, Jehoshua, Anita Elberse, and Mark Leenders. "The Motion Picture Industry: Critical Issues in Practice, Current Research, and New Research Directions." Marketing Science 25, no. 6 (November–December 2006): 638–661. View Details
  9. Demand and Supply Dynamics for Sequentially Released Products in International Markets: The Case of Motion Pictures

    Keywords: Supply and Industry; Product; Markets; Film Entertainment; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Jehoshua Eliashberg. "Demand and Supply Dynamics for Sequentially Released Products in International Markets: The Case of Motion Pictures." Marketing Science 22, no. 3 (summer 2003): 329–354. View Details

Working Papers

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. A&M/Octone Records: All Rights or Nothing?

    In April 2008, after successfully transitioning Octone Records to Universal Music Group and relaunching the label as A&M/Octone Records, president and CEO James Diener is facing a new challenge. Diener and his executive team have trouble convincing a new, promising act, Paper Tongues, to join A&M/Octone on a so-called all-rights deal, which specified that the label would receive a percentage of all of the artist's revenue streams, including recorded music, concert/ticket sales, merchandising, commercial licensing, sponsorships, and endorsements. Negotiations have stalled. Should A&M/Octone hold on to its "all-rights or no deal" stance? Or was it time to switch to a recorded-music-only deal? Designed for use alongside "Octone Records," HBS No. 507-082, the case allows for an in-depth examination of new-product development and talent management strategies in the context of the music industry. The case provides rich insights into how contracts between labels and artists are structured and how advances in technology are impacting the music industry and its players.

    Keywords: Talent and Talent Management; Intellectual Property; Contracts; Rights; Product Marketing; Product Development; Technology; Music Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, Elie Ofek, and Caren Kelleher. "A&M/Octone Records: All Rights or Nothing?" Harvard Business School Case 511-031, July 2010. (Revised March 2011.) View Details
  2. Beyoncé

    In December 2013, music superstar Beyoncé is about to surprise her fans with the release of her self-titled album. The team at her company Parkwood Entertainment, which general manager Lee Anne Callahan-Longo described as "a management, music, and production company that is owned and at the highest level operated by an artist," had chosen to release the entire album at once and exclusively via the Apple iTunes Store, without any prior promotion—a significant, and potentially very risky, departure from how music was traditionally released. Sony Music's label Columbia Records, with whom Parkwood partnered on recorded-music activities, shared the costs—and therefore also the risk—of the album, which had been one-and-a-half years in development and was a particularly expensive proposition because of the many videos. How would fans and music industry insiders react to the daring launch, unveiled via Beyoncé's Facebook and Instagram accounts? Would the album be able to find a large enough audience even without traditional promotional activities? And would there be any adverse reactions, for instance from traditional music retailers refusing to carry the physical album later?

    Keywords: marketing; Beyoncé; Online Technology; Music Entertainment; Distribution Channels; Product Launch; Music Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Stacie Smith. "Beyoncé." Harvard Business School Case 515-036, August 2014. (Revised October 2014.) View Details
  3. Club Atlético Boca Juniors

    Club Atlético Boca Juniors is the most popular soccer club in Argentina and one of the most decorated clubs in the world. Throughout its storied history, the club has recruited and developed dozens of star players. In his eleven years at Boca Juniors, president Mauricio Macri has significantly increased the club's net worth and annual revenues. However, he faces a constant challenge to remain competitive on and off the field. In November 2006, Macri is approached by Spanish and Italian soccer powerhouses, seeking to purchase the players Fernando Gago and Rodrigo Palacio. Should Macri enter negotiations with the clubs interested in buying the star players? If so, how should they approach the talks? Allows for an in-depth examination of Boca Junior's business model and how it differs from that of the richer soccer clubs in Western Europe. Also enables an assessment of successful talent and brand management strategies in the context of a sports franchise with a worldwide reach.

    Keywords: Business Model; Talent and Talent Management; Globalized Markets and Industries; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Sports; Sports Industry; Argentina;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, Alberto Ballve, and Gustavo Herrero. "Club Atlético Boca Juniors." Harvard Business School Case 508-056, January 2008. (Revised February 2011.) View Details
  4. Comcast Corporation

    In October 2006, Comcast executives had entered negotiations with broadcast networks to broaden the selection of free network content distributed via its video-on-demand (VOD) service. The major broadcast networks, however, were unsure of the effect it would have on regular "linear" viewership of programs airing every evening at their scheduled times, and feared that if television audiences migrated to VOD, their revenues from selling advertising time would decrease. How could Burke and Roberts convince the networks to team up with Comcast and distribute their content via On Demand free of charge? Or was it time for Comcast to rethink its push for "free" content, and craft a different business model?

    Keywords: Marketing Strategy; Product Launch; Consumer Behavior; Competitive Strategy; Technology Adoption; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Jason Schreiber. "Comcast Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 507-080, June 2007. (Revised April 2010.) View Details
  5. The Creative Industries: Managing and Marketing Talent

    This module note examines issues concerning the management and marketing of talent in the creative industries. It describes the characteristics of the market for creative talent, discusses how individual talent creates and captures value, and explores how professional firms can best recruit, develop, manage and market creative talent.

    Keywords: Talent and Talent Management; Entertainment; Innovation and Management; Marketing; Creativity; Value;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "The Creative Industries: Managing and Marketing Talent." Harvard Business School Module Note 509-078, June 2009. (Revised March 2011.) View Details
  6. The Creative Industries: Managing Products and Product Portfolios

    This module note examines the way in which professional content producers in the creative industries approach product and product portfolio management, and explores the underlying reasons for their strategies.

    Keywords: Entertainment; Management Practices and Processes; Marketing; Product Development; Production; Creativity;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "The Creative Industries: Managing Products and Product Portfolios." Harvard Business School Module Note 509-077, June 2009. (Revised March 2011.) View Details
  7. The CW: Launching a Television Network

    In May 2006, Dawn Ostroff, president of entertainment of the newly formed CW Television Network, was faced with the task of choosing the final set of programs for the 2006 fall schedule, which she would present to advertisers at the annual "upfront" market in New York one week later. Only four months earlier, CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc. had announced they would close their UPN and The WB networks, and run the CW as a joint venture. This unusual partnership, a first in the history of network television, had created a unique challenge for executives: an unprecedented number of existing shows would have to be cancelled. Ostroff and her colleagues—who had received thousands of letters, petitions, and gifts from desperate fans begging for the renewal of their favorite shows—had filled the empty slots. The final decision was the toughest: although four popular shows were still in contention—Everwood, One Tree Hill, 7th Heaven, and Veronica Mars—there was only room for three. Which show would be the last to be axed? And what would be the best time slots for the three last additions to the line-up? Allows for an in-depth examination of marketing issues in launching and operating a major broadcast television network, in particular making programming and scheduling decisions and managing relationships with audiences and advertisers. Provides unique insights into the launch of a network—a rare enterprise—and the associated marketing and branding campaign. Also contains rich television ratings data that can form the basis for a discussion on product portfolio management, in particular, continuation and pruning decisions (i.e., series renewals and cancellations). Finally, can be used to facilitate an assessment of challenges and opportunities in developing sustainable businesses in a rapidly changing media environment.

    Keywords: Advertising; Customer Relationship Management; Decision Choices and Conditions; Television Entertainment; Brands and Branding; Product Launch; Strategic Planning; Networks; Media and Broadcasting Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and S. Mark Young. "The CW: Launching a Television Network." Harvard Business School Case 507-050, June 2007. (Revised March 2011.) View Details
  8. Droga5: Launching Jay-Z's Decoded

    In 2010, David Droga and Andrew Essex, co-founders of advertising agency Droga5, hope to convince both John Meneilly, manager of hip-hop star Shawn Carter—better known as Jay-Z—and a partner in Carter's company Roc Nation and Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft's Online Services division, to enter into an unprecedented, high-stakes partnership to benefit the launch of Carter's new lyrical memoir, Decoded. Droga5 wrestles with two disparate challenges: developing a campaign for the book's launch and finding a way to drive trial for Bing, Microsoft's new search engine. Droga5's innovative solution is to kill two birds with one idea: a massive, interactive scavenger hunt involving outdoor, bespoke, and digital media. Because Spiegel & Grau, a Random House imprint that holds the rights to the book, lacks the funds to market Carter's memoir at a scale deserving of a superstar, Droga5 is asking Microsoft to shoulder most of the campaign's costs. How can Droga5 broker a deal between Roc Nation, Random House, and Microsoft, and ensure success for each of the parties? And is pursuing this campaign idea a smart investment for the young agency? The case describes a set of decisions that paved the way for a groundbreaking advertising campaign that would win major advertising-industry awards, including the Grand Prix at the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and a 2012 Gold Effie.

    Keywords: Advertising; Advertising Campaigns; Marketing; Brands and Branding; Entertainment; Advertising Industry; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Kwame Owusu-Kesse. "Droga5: Launching Jay-Z's Decoded." Harvard Business School Case 513-032, July 2012. View Details
  9. Grand Central Publishing

    In April 2007, Grand Central's publisher Jamie Raab and editor Karen Kosztolnyik were involved in a frantic bidding war for a proposed book on the life of cat Dewey, billed as the feline answer to the best-selling "Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog." Literary agent Peter McGuigan, who represented the author and ghost writer, had just notified them that a second publisher seeking to close the deal was "shadowing" Grand Central's every move and a preemptive offer of well over a million dollars would be required to secure the acquisition - an exceedingly high amount for a book by a first-time author. Should Grand Central continue to bid for Dewey, wait for the scheduled auction with several interested publishers, or pull out of the race? Allows for an in-depth examination of new-product acquisition, development, and launch strategies in the context of the book publishing industry. Provides rich insights into how media and entertainment firms aim to replicate success, and how they find, foster, and sell potential blockbuster products. Also illustrates how similar efforts by competitors increase each firm's dependence on a handful of hits. Contains detailed unique economic data that illustrate the high level of concentration in the distribution of sales and profits across products. By enabling an analysis of the book acquisition, development, and marketing process from the perspective of the publisher, author, and agent, serves as a vehicle for contrasting different approaches to the new product development process.

    Keywords: Acquisition; Product Launch; Bids and Bidding; Product Development; Publishing Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "Grand Central Publishing." Harvard Business School Case 508-036, August 2007. (Revised November 2010.) View Details
  10. Hulu: An Evil Plot to Destroy the World?

    In July 2009, Jason Kilar, the chief executive officer of Hulu, is debating whether the online video aggregator should move away from a purely advertising-supported model, and whether it should participate in an industry-wide initiative to develop and test "authentication" technology that can facilitate a subscription or pay-per-view model. The case traces the early years of Hulu, a joint venture between News Corp. and NBC Universal, that was initially met with strong skepticism but quickly became on the most celebrated and popular online video business. Provides in-depth information on how the company serves content owners, users, and advertisers. Describes the online video space in considerable detail, also covering economic and viewership statistics that enable a rich discussion of viable business models.

    Keywords: Advertising; Business Model; Television Entertainment; Distribution Channels; Service Operations; Internet; Online Technology; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Sunil Gupta. "Hulu: An Evil Plot to Destroy the World?" Harvard Business School Case 510-005, October 2009. (Revised June 2010.) View Details
  11. Lady Gaga (A)

    In September 2009, Troy Carter, manager of up-and-coming pop star Lady Gaga, has to decide on a new course of action now that his artist's planned co-headlining arena tour with hip-hop superstar Kanye West has been cancelled. Carter knows that continuing the tour, but doing so solo, comes with huge risks, but scaling it back to smaller theaters or postponing the tour altogether has disadvantages as well. Making matters more complicated, Carter also has to consider the implications for Gaga's partners, including the concert promoter Live Nation and the William Morris Endeavor agency. What is the best strategy? Designed to help students understand the decisions that helped propel Lady Gaga into one of the entertainment world's biggest names. Written from the perspective of her manager, the case provides rich insights into the artist's touring, recorded-music, and social-media activities, as well as supporting economic data.

    Keywords: Employee Relationship Management; Marketing Strategy; Product; Product Development; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Creativity; Music Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Michael Christensen. "Lady Gaga (A)." Harvard Business School Case 512-016, July 2011. (Revised October 2011.) View Details
  12. Lady Gaga (B)

    In March 2011, Troy Carter, manager of pop star Lady Gaga, reflects on decisions made regarding his artist's concert tour and faces a new set of challenges regarding the launch of Lady Gaga's new album, Born This Way. Is a huge, expensive launch akin to that of a "tent-pole" movie the best way to capitalize on Gaga's popularity, or is a more moderate approach that relies on word-of-mouth the right way to proceed? Designed to help students understand the decisions that helped propel Lady Gaga into one of the entertainment world's biggest names. Written from the perspective of her manager, the case provides rich insights into the artist's touring, recorded-music, and social-media activities, as well as supporting economic data.

    Keywords: Music Entertainment; Product Launch; Product Development; Talent and Talent Management; Music Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Michael Quinn Christensen. "Lady Gaga (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 512-017, August 2011. (Revised October 2011.) View Details
  13. LeBron James

    In 2005, to the astonishment of many sports industry insiders, superstar basketball player LeBron James fired his agent and established his own firm, LRMR, to handle all aspects of his business ventures and marketing activities and named his childhood friend Maverick Carter as the CEO. LRMR is tasked with turning James into a global icon as well as helping him reach his personal goal of becoming basketball's first billionaire. In late 2008, James has entered various lucrative endorsement deals and is considering three exclusive videogame endorsement opportunities from Electronic Arts, 2K Games, and Xbox Live to add to his portfolio. Allows for a rich discussion about how superstar athletes and other celebrities can create and capture value from their brands as well as what role talent agencies and other intermediaries play in that process. Provides in-depth information on three endorsement opportunities that each represents a common way in which talent can (choose to) get compensated: through a fixed-fee payment, a bonus payment structure, or a revenue-sharing agreement.

    Keywords: Talent and Talent Management; Compensation and Benefits; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Sports; Sports Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Jeff McCall. "LeBron James." Harvard Business School Case 509-050, January 2009. (Revised March 2010.) View Details
  14. Major League Baseball Advanced Media: America’s Pastime Goes Digital

    In January 2010, Bob Bowman, chief executive officer of Major League Baseball Advanced Media -- MLB's digital arm -- is facing a number of decisions related to its 'app' for Apple's new iPad. What are the best name, price, and set of features for MLBAM's iPad app? The case describes what is often seen as one of the most successful paid-content businesses in sports and media. Provides in-depth information on MLBAM's four main sources of revenues, and relates those to the league's overall revenues. Describes the company's online and mobile offerings in considerable detail, and outlines the choices facing MLB's offering for Apple's iPad device, enabling a rich discussion of viable marketing strategies.

    Keywords: Business Model; Marketing Strategy; Distribution Channels; Mobile Technology; Online Technology; Sports Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Brett Laffel. "Major League Baseball Advanced Media: America’s Pastime Goes Digital." Harvard Business School Case 510-092, March 2010. (Revised February 2011.) View Details
  15. Maria Sharapova: Marketing a Champion (A)

    In July 2004, a then 17-year-old Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon, arguably the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. Max Eisenbud, Sharapova's agent at International Management Group (IMG), knew the championship would lead to a flood of new opportunities. What would be the best approach to the management and marketing of a champion like Maria Sharapova? Which of the various endorsement offers would be worthwhile to pursue? And how could Eisenbud best leverage the resources available to him at IMG? Allows for an in-depth examination of marketing issues and, more specifically, sports endorsement opportunities in the context of a world-class athlete. (As of 2006, Sharapova is one of the world's most recognized sports figures, and its highest compensated female athlete.) Provides unique insights into the world of "team Sharapova," consisting of Sharapova and her advisors at IMG, a leading sports, media, and entertainment agency. Contains rich data on the way in which IMG structures its sales process, and can serve to illustrate best practices and key trade-offs in sports or entertainment marketing initiatives.

    Keywords: Marketing Strategy; Advertising; Gender Characteristics; Product Marketing; Sports Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Margarita Golod. "Maria Sharapova: Marketing a Champion (A)." Harvard Business School Case 507-065, May 2007. (Revised March 2010.) View Details
  16. Market Segmentation, Target Market Selection, and Positioning

    Elaborates on the prerequisites for designing a successful marketing strategy: market segmentation, target market selection, and product positioning.

    Keywords: Marketing Strategy; Product Positioning; Markets;

    Citation:

    Sarvary, Miklos, and Anita Elberse. "Market Segmentation, Target Market Selection, and Positioning." Harvard Business School Background Note 506-019, September 2005. (Revised April 2006.) View Details
  17. Marketing as Competitive Advantage: Fundamentals

    Marketing as Competitive Advantage: Fundamentals will help today's business executives and tomorrow's business leaders understand the key elements of a successful marketing strategy. The multimedia resource includes video lectures by Harvard Business School faculty, who teach core principles of marketing, as well as animated frameworks, articles, and notes. Instructional workbook exercises will help you evaluate your own marketing efforts and create a marketing plan for your organization.

    Keywords: Customers; Framework; Marketing Strategy; Product Positioning; Planning; Competitive Advantage; Segmentation;

    Citation:

    Narayandas, Das, David E. Bell, Anita Elberse, John T. Gourville, David B. Godes, John A. Quelch, Gail J. McGovern, Luc R. Wathieu, and Marta Wosinska. "Marketing as Competitive Advantage: Fundamentals." Harvard Business School Class Lecture 509-719, October 2008. View Details
  18. Marketing New York City

    New York City is a pioneer in the emerging field of municipal marketing. The city's first chief marketing officer must develop a marketing organization with a self-funded business model that creates value for the city by leveraging the city's assets, including physical property and media opportunities. Although an independent corporation, the marketing organization must work with city government agencies to create value. Traces the appointment of the chief marketing officer and the objectives of marketing New York City. Summarizes the city's corporate partnerships (with Snapple and The History Channel, among others), media, and licensing activities to date. Challenges students to evaluate the marketing model and recommend strategies going forward, defining what activities create the most value for the city. Additionally, exposes students to the challenges of an entrepreneurial organization operating within the confines of a government structure. Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Government and Politics; Goals and Objectives; Marketing Strategy; Partners and Partnerships; Value Creation; New York (city, NY);

    Citation:

    Rangan, V. Kasturi, Anita Elberse, and Marie Bell. "Marketing New York City." Harvard Business School Case 506-022, April 2006. (Revised October 2008.) View Details
  19. Marquee: The Business of Nightlife

    In December 2008, nightlife impresario Noah Tepperberg is celebrating the fifth anniversary of his New York City nightclub Marquee. While most clubs are over within their first one-and-a-half years, Tepperberg has succeeded in keeping Marquee one of NYC's hottest clubs for what seems an eternity in the nightlife industry. However, concerns remain about Marquee's staying power, rising costs, and increased competition. When is the right time for Tepperberg to pull the plug on Marquee?

    Keywords: Business Growth and Maturation; Customer Focus and Relationships; Cost; Marketing Strategy; Competition; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; New York (city, NY);

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, Ryan Barlow, and Sheldon Wong. "Marquee: The Business of Nightlife." Harvard Business School Case 509-019, February 2009. (Revised November 2010.) View Details
  20. Marquee: The Business of Nightlife

    In December 2008, nightlife impresario Noah Tepperberg celebrated the fifth anniversary of his New York City nightclub Marquee. While most clubs are over within their first one-and-a-half years, Tepperberg has succeeded in keeping Marquee one of NYC's hottest clubs for what seems an eternity in the nightlife industry. However, concerns remain about Marquee's staying power, rising costs, and increased competition. When is the right time for Tepperberg to pull the plug on Marquee.

    Keywords: Forecasting and Prediction; Cost Management; Marketing Strategy; Competitive Strategy;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, Ryan Barlow, and Sheldon Wong. "Marquee: The Business of Nightlife." Harvard Business School Video Case 510-702, September 2009. (Revised November 2010.) View Details
  21. Marvel Enterprises, Inc.

    The management team of Marvel Enterprises, known for its universe of superhero characters that includes Spider-Man, the Hulk, and X-Men, must reevaluate its marketing strategy. In June 2004, only six years after the company emerged from bankruptcy, Marvel has amassed a market value of more than $2 billion. Originally known as a comic book publisher, the company now also has highly profitable toy, motion picture, and consumer products licensing operations. However, doubts about Marvel's business model and its growth potential continue to exist. Had Marvel's winning streak been just a fluke? Was marvel's success dependent on a limited set of blockbuster characters, most notably Spider-Man, and should Marvel continue to capitalize on those characters? Or was it time to seek growth in a larger set of lesser known characters? In exploring growth opportunities, was it wise for Marvel to venture outside its current business model and move into more capital-intensive activities? What marketing strategy would allow Marvel to sustain its success in the coming years? Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Intellectual Property; Business Model; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Opportunities; Growth and Development Strategy; Rights; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "Marvel Enterprises, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 505-001, November 2004. (Revised May 2005.) View Details
  22. Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (Abridged)

    The management team of Marvel Enterprises, known for its universe of superhero characters that includes Spider-Man, the Hulk, and X-Men, must reevaluate its marketing strategy. In June 2004, only six years after the company emerged from bankruptcy, Marvel has amassed a market value of more than $2 billion. Originally known as a comic book publisher, the company now also has highly profitable toy, motion picture, and consumer products licensing operations. However, doubts about Marvel's business model and its growth potential continue to exist. Had Marvel's winning streak been just a fluke? Was Marvel's success dependent on a limited set of blockbuster characters, most notably Spider-Man, and should Marvel continue to capitalize on those characters? Or was it time to seek growth in a larger set of lesser known characters? In exploring growth opportunities, was it wise for Marvel to venture outside its current business model and move into more capital-intensive activities? What marketing strategy would allow Marvel to sustain its success in the coming years?

    Keywords: Business Model; Intellectual Property; Rights; Growth and Development Strategy; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (Abridged)." Harvard Business School Case 511-097, January 2011. (Revised January 2011.) View Details
  23. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Tom Cruise

    In November 2006, Harry Sloan, chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (MGM) offers movie star Tom Cruise and his business partner Paula Wagner a chance to run United Artists (UA), a dormant studio within MGM's portfolio. Just over two months earlier, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone publicly complained about Cruise's controversial behavior and abruptly ended Cruise and Wagner's 14-year relationship with Viacom's movie studio, Paramount Pictures. Sloan's proposal gives Cruise a chance to strike back. Can Cruise, Wagner, and Sloan, who regards the deal as an "interesting experiment" aimed at aligning the incentives of studios and creative talent, make the partnership work?

    Keywords: Business Units; Talent and Talent Management; Film Entertainment; Brands and Branding; Partners and Partnerships; Value Creation; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Peter Stone. "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Tom Cruise." Harvard Business School Case 508-057, November 2007. (Revised March 2010.) View Details
  24. The Metropolitan Opera (A)

    In April 2007, the New York City Metropolitan Opera's general manager Peter Gelb looks back on the first season of a daring experiment to broadcast performances live in high-definition to movie theaters across North America. While the "Live in HD" program has received mostly positive reviews, there are lingering concerns. Do the benefits of the simulcasts continue to outweigh the possible drawbacks and the significant operational and financial resources?

    Keywords: Arts; Technological Innovation; Marketing Strategy; Nonprofit Organizations; Competitive Advantage; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Crissy Perez. "The Metropolitan Opera (A)." Harvard Business School Case 509-033, December 2008. (Revised March 2009.) View Details
  25. The Metropolitan Opera (B)

    In April 2007, the New York City Metropolitan Opera's general manager Peter Gelb looks back on the first season of a daring experiment to broadcast performances live in high-definition to movie theaters across North America. While the "Live in HD" program has received mostly positive reviews, there are lingering concerns. Do the benefits of the simulcasts continue to outweigh the possible drawbacks and the significant operational and financial resources?

    Keywords: Technology Adoption; Arts; Fine Arts Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Crissy Perez. "The Metropolitan Opera (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 509-034, December 2008. (Revised March 2009.) View Details
  26. MRC's House of Cards

    In March 2011, Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk, co-chairmen and co-chief executive officers at independent production company Media Rights Capital (MRC), are debating whether to accept a licensing offer from Netflix for their most ambitious project to date, a new television series called House of Cards. MRC executives had begun to pitch the series to each of the major premium cable networks in the US, including AMC, FX, HBO, Showtime, and Starz. To the surprise of the two entrepreneurs, Netflix executives had made it known they were prepared to make a bold step into the world of original programming. As thrilled as Satchu and Wiczyk were about Netflix's offer, accepting it—and thus forgoing a sought-after one-season offer from a traditional premium cable network—raised major concerns, for instance about MRC's ability to secure international rights fees, to obtain sufficient marketing support, to gain the necessary credibility in the marketplace, and to satisfy artists and other key constituents. Was Netflix the right partner for MRC?

    Keywords: marketing; television; house of cards; asif satchu; modi wiczyk; Netflix; media rights capital; Technology; Change Management; Marketing; Television Entertainment; Motion Pictures and Video Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "MRC's House of Cards." Harvard Business School Case 515-003, August 2014. View Details
  27. NBCUniversal

    In September 2014, Stephen Burke, chief executive officer at media and entertainment company NBCUniversal, has to decide between possible priorities for the company's 'Project Symphony,' guaranteeing the winners a high level of visibility and support across the media conglomerate's broadcast and cable television, film, and theme park divisions. Past "Gold" priorities for Symphony, an initiative introduced shortly after Comcast made steps to acquire NBCUniversal in 2010, saw subsequent success in the marketplace. Symphony is so powerful, in fact, that competing conglomerates are keen to buy some of NBCUniversal's cross-promotional strength, as Disney did with its megahit Frozen in 2014. For 2015, the choice is between five films—Fast & Furious 7, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Minions, and Pitch Perfect 2—as well as two choices in television. Which are most deserving of Gold status?

    Keywords: Business Conglomerates; Film Entertainment; Product Marketing; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "NBCUniversal." Harvard Business School Case 515-039, October 2014. View Details
  28. The NFL's Digital Media Strategy

    In late 2009, Brian Rolapp, senior vice president of media strategy and digital media for the NFL, was faced with the challenge of determining the league's strategic approach to the wireless market—and presenting his views to NFL team owners. What was the league's best strategy for the mobile space? The case describes the antecedents of what is widely regarded as a landmark deal for the NFL, its $780 million, four-year exclusive partnership with Verizon. Provides in-depth information on the NFL's digital media revenues and relates those to the league's overall media and other revenues. Enables a rich discussion of new distribution opportunities and ensuing marketing and channel-management challenges.

    Keywords: Business Model; Marketing Channels; Marketing Strategy; Media; Distribution Channels; Mobile Technology; Wireless Technology; Sports Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, C. Kelsey Calhoun, and Daven Johnson. "The NFL's Digital Media Strategy." Harvard Business School Case 511-055, October 2010. (Revised November 2010.) View Details
  29. Octone Records

    In February 2007, Octone Records founders James Diener, Ben Berkman, and David Boxenbaum had been highly successful with the first two bands they had signed, Maroon 5 and Flyleaf. Known for its grassroots marketing campaigns, Octone operated through a unique joint-venture model with SonyBMG Music Entertainment's RCA Music Group, which enabled the nimble record label to orchestrate mass-marketing campaigns once an artist was ready for "prime time." Octone had been less fortunate, however, with its third act, Michael Tolcher. Despite significant investments, Tolcher's first full album had not sold enough copies to recover its costs and merit RCA's marketing support. Octone's executives faced a decision: whether to continue to support Tolcher's first album, increase the stakes by financing a second album, or cut their losses and instead focus on other artists. At the same time, Octone had to evaluate a proposal from Universal Music Group to buy out SonyBMG's interest in the joint venture. Allows for an in-depth examination of new product development and launch strategies in the context of the music industry. Provides rich insights into how grassroots and mass-marketing approaches can facilitate new product/artist development. Octone's "hybrid" marketing structure is described in considerable detail, and supporting economic data is provided. By enabling an analysis of how long and how aggressively an artist should be supported before commercial success is achieved, serves as a vehicle for contrasting different approaches to the new product development process.

    Keywords: Arts; Joint Ventures; Investment Return; Marketing Strategy; Product Launch; Product Development; Outcome or Result; Creativity; Music Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Elie Ofek. "Octone Records." Harvard Business School Case 507-082, June 2007. (Revised August 2011.) View Details
  30. The Passion of the Christ (A)

    Bob Berney, president of Newmarket Films, must decide on a distribution and marketing strategy for Mel Gibson's controversial new movie, The Passion of the Christ. Fueled by Gibson's star power as well as an extensive prescreening campaign among Christian leaders and others representing likely target audiences in the summer of 2003, the religious movie had started to generate publicity in mainstream media. Five months prior to the film's scheduled opening on February 25, 2004, Berney has to choose whether to continue with the prescreening campaign to stimulate further word-of-mouth among core audiences or switch to a mainstream media advertising campaign more commonly used to promote new movies. He also has to determine the appropriate distribution strategy, in particular whether to opt for a wide or limited release and whether to change the timing of the release.

    Keywords: Advertising Campaigns; Film Entertainment; Marketing Strategy; Product Launch; Product Positioning; Distribution Channels; Religion; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;

    Citation:

    Quelch, John A., Anita Elberse, and Anna Harrington. "The Passion of the Christ (A)." Harvard Business School Case 505-025, September 2004. (Revised February 2010.) View Details
  31. Polyphonic HMI: Mixing Music and Math

    In 2003, Mike McCready, CEO of Barcelona-based Polyphonic HMI, was preparing to launch an artificial intelligence tool that could create significant value for music businesses. The technology, referred to as Hit Song Science (HSS), analyzed the mathematical characteristics of music and compared them to characteristics of past music hits, making it possible to determine a new song's hit potential. McCready must decide on a target market--record companies, producers, or unsigned artists--and develop a marketing plan that helps overcome the likely resistance against adoption.

    Keywords: Forecasting and Prediction; Music Entertainment; Business History; Leadership; Marketing Strategy; Strategic Planning; Problems and Challenges; Mathematical Methods; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, Jehoshua Eliashberg, and Julian Villanueva. "Polyphonic HMI: Mixing Music and Math." Harvard Business School Case 506-009, August 2005. (Revised September 2006.) (Spanish version also available.) View Details
  32. Radiohead: Music at Your Own Price (A)

    In October 2007, the British band Radiohead caused a stir when it announced it would allow customers to decide how much to pay for its new album, released exclusively as a digital download and available only from the band's own website. The pricing plan represented a significant break from the industry standard of fixed prices for music, typically 99 cents for individual songs and upward of $9.99 for complete albums. How viable is such a "name-your-own-pricing" plan? And what does Radiohead's move say about the future of the music industry?

    Keywords: Music Entertainment; Price; Marketing Strategy; Distribution; Problems and Challenges; Online Technology; Music Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Jason Bergsman. "Radiohead: Music at Your Own Price (A)." Harvard Business School Case 508-110, May 2008. (Revised September 2009.) View Details
  33. Real Madrid Club de Fútbol in 2007: Beyond the Galácticos

    On June 17, 2007, Real Madrid sealed its first Spanish league championship under new president Ramon Calderon, ending an unprecedented title drought. Real Madrid had seen a significant growth in revenues and now was the world's biggest soccer club and among the largest and most profitable sports franchises globally. Although Calderon signed several new stars in his first year, he also rejuvenated the team by acquiring the promising youngsters, thereby moving away from what had been dubbed the "Galacticos Strategy" introduced by former president Florentino Perez. Would the move away form this strategy bring continued successes on the field? And how would it impact real Madrid's business performance?

    Keywords: Talent and Talent Management; Risk Management; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Sports; Sports Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and John A. Quelch. "Real Madrid Club de Fútbol in 2007: Beyond the Galácticos." Harvard Business School Case 508-060, December 2007. (Revised October 2008.) View Details
  34. Roppongi Hills: City Within a City

    Minoru Mori is the CEO of Mori Building, which has built Roppongi Hills, an ambitious large-scale, mixed-use development in Tokyo, Japan that includes high-end retail, restaurants, hotel, office, library, and art museum. A destination site for tourists and local people, the performance of the development was strong, with the exception of the art museum, which posted losses. Also, the branding efforts by Mori were at odds with other tenants and he needed to manage "the town.” Lastly, another competing development was in the works just blocks away, and Mori needed to determine how to address this new competitor.

    Keywords: Buildings and Facilities; Development Economics; Brands and Branding; Urban Development; Competition; Real Estate Industry; Tokyo;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, Andrei Hagiu, and Masako Egawa. "Roppongi Hills: City Within a City." Harvard Business School Case 707-431, January 2007. (Revised October 2011.) View Details
  35. Sir Alex Ferguson: Managing Manchester United

    Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in British football history, is preparing for the 2012–2013 season—his record-setting 26th as manager of one of the world's most decorated professional football clubs and one of sport's biggest franchises. Over the years Ferguson has overcome several major challengers to United. The newest rival can be found closer to home: since Manchester City, United's "noisy neighbors," has switched owners, the club has invested unprecedented amounts of money in new players, resulting in its first league title in decades. How could Ferguson lead his team to another victory and bring the next chapter in United's illustrious history to a successful end?

    Keywords: managing teams; Leading teams; leadership; sports industry; European Football; Sports; Leadership; Sports Industry; England; United Kingdom; Europe;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Thomas Dye. "Sir Alex Ferguson: Managing Manchester United." Harvard Business School Case 513-051, September 2012. View Details
  36. Sony Digital Entertainment, Japan

    It is late 2007. So-called cell phone ("keitai") novels have turned into an extremely popular form of entertainment-on-the- go in Japan, in particular among young, female readers. In fact, consisting mostly of love stories written by amateurs in short sentences and containing little plot or character development, cell phone novels republished in book form and even remade as movies have come to dominate mainstream media content. At media giant Sony, Ken Munekata, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), and Atsushi Fukuda, President of Sony Digital Entertainment (SDE), are attempting to craft an adequate response. After establishing SDE as a 100% subsidiary of Sony Japan, they now develop a wide range of digital content offerings for mobile phone users, mostly original content "made in Japan"—including keitai novels. But can SDE's subscription model compete in a market dominated by free keitai novel offerings? And, more generally, do Sony's current keitai initiatives move the company in the right strategic direction? Allows for an in-depth examination of viable business models for established media companies competing in digital markets dominated by user-generated, advertising-supported content. Also enables an assessment of the economics of producing and distributing traditional films and books versus digital (cell phone) content.

    Keywords: Books; Marketing Strategy; Open Source Distribution; Competition; Mobile Technology; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Publishing Industry; Telecommunications Industry; Japan;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "Sony Digital Entertainment, Japan." Harvard Business School Case 508-071, March 2008. (Revised November 2008.) View Details
  37. Sony EyeToy

    In early 2004, less than a year after its launch, Sony's EyeToy, a unique video gaming concept, had become a tremendous success across Europe. Developed for use with Sony's PlayStation 2 console, the revolutionary technology allowed users standing in front of a small camera to interact with game objects appearing on a television screen just by moving their bodies. Sales for the first EyeToy product ("Play"), a bundle of the camera and software, exceeded all expectations. However, sales for the second product ("Groove") were disappointing. Was it time for the EyeToy team to rethink its product development and marketing strategy? How could the team sustain EyeToy's initial success and prove that the concept was not a fad?

    Keywords: Games, Gaming, and Gambling; Growth and Development Strategy; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Product Launch; Product Development; Performance Improvement; Software; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; Europe;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Youngme E. Moon. "Sony EyeToy." Harvard Business School Case 505-024, July 2004. (Revised March 2007.) View Details
  38. Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries

    A note for educators describing an elective course for second-year MBA Students at Harvard Business School, "Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries." which focuses on strategic marketing challenges for firms in the creative industries, defined as industries that produce goods and provide artistic, cultural, or entertainment value to consumers (such as the performing arts, film, television, music publishing, video games, advertising, fashion and sports).

    Keywords: Marketing Strategy;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries." Harvard Business School Background Note 511-011, December 2010. (Revised March 2011.) (Course Note, Instructor Only.) View Details
  39. The Vancouver 2010 Olympics

    It is February 2007, exactly three years before Vancouver hosts the 2010 Winter Olympics. Judy Rogers, City Manager for the City of Vancouver and a member of the Board of Directors for Vancouver's Organizing Committee (VANOC), is keen to ensure the Games will have a lasting positive impact on the city and on Canada. However, a recent event reveals that significant social tensions could negatively effect the event and Vancouver's image across the globe, and Rogers will have to find a way to address the growing concerns. More pressingly, Rogers and her team are faced with the task of creating an Olympic Legacy Reserve Fund that could enable the city to achieve its sustainability goals, but involves a significant tax increase for Vancouver's residents and businesses. With the world watching and the clock ticking, there is a lot at stake. How should Rogers respond to these challenges? Allows for an in-depth examination of critical social marketing issues in the context of one of the world's biggest sports events. Provides rich data on the possible benefits and drawbacks for a variety of constituents, including the International Olympic Committee, the host country and city, its businesses, and local residents, and can serve to illustrate the key tensions as well as best practices in social marketing initiatives.

    Keywords: Globalized Markets and Industries; Social Marketing; Business and Government Relations; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Conflict and Resolution; Sports; Public Administration Industry; Sports Industry; Vancouver;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, Catherine Anthony, and Joshua Callahan. "The Vancouver 2010 Olympics." Harvard Business School Case 507-049, March 2007. (Revised October 2008.) View Details
  40. Vogue: Defining the Culture of Fashion

    In March 2013, Susan Plagemann, vice president and publisher of Vogue—widely regarded as the world's most influential fashion magazine, and publishing conglomerate Condé Nast's marquee title—is seeking answers to two questions. First, how she can best approach the intensely competitive advertising market in which some competitors in recent times have had two to three times the page growth that Vogue has had? Second, how should she utilize the growing importance of digital channels that may increase pressure on traditional revenue sources but also fuel new ecommerce partnerships and other opportunities? Can Vogue, as both the fashion industry and the magazine's readers have become so accustomed to, stay one step ahead?

    Keywords: Creative Industries; fashion; publishing; advertising; Digital technology; entertainment; product portfolio management; magazines; Journals and Magazines; Online Technology; Change Management; Resource Allocation; Creativity; Media; Advertising; Fashion Industry; Publishing Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, Joseph Ferrer, Elizabeth Gough, and Victoria Katsarou. "Vogue: Defining the Culture of Fashion." Harvard Business School Case 514-036, September 2013. View Details
  41. Xanadu on Broadway

    Can one of Hollywood's biggest flops magically turn into a Broadway hit? Xanadu, an adaptation of a 1980 Olivia Newton-John roller-disco film described by one critic as "the epic failure to end all epic failures," opened on Broadway in July 2007. Producer Rob Ahrens, the driving power behind the resurrection, anxiously awaited the verdict of audience members. Was the choice to produce Xanadu the Broadway musical the right choice?

    Keywords: Theater Entertainment; Product Marketing; Product Launch; Demand and Consumers; Risk and Uncertainty; Creativity; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "Xanadu on Broadway." Harvard Business School Case 508-062, December 2007. (Revised August 2014.) View Details
  42. YouTube: Time to Charge Users?

    In January 2010, YouTube, the world's largest online video aggregator, was still seeking to become profitable. Was the time right for Google, YouTube's parent company, to charge users seeking to upload content, as some analysts had suggested—and if so, who should be charged how much and for what? Could YouTube charge users for downloading content, a model it was now beginning to test? Or would it be better for the online video giant to continue to pursue an advertising model, but perhaps broaden its services to advertisers? Describes the online video market as of 2010 as well as YouTube's offerings to users, content owners, and advertisers. Provides information on the site's revenues and costs. Also contains detailed data on online video users and usage behavior.

    Keywords: Online Advertising; Business Model; Cost; Profit; Revenue; Consumer Behavior; Internet; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Sunil Gupta. "YouTube: Time to Charge Users?" Harvard Business School Case 510-053, February 2010. (Revised October 2010.) View Details

Popular Writings

Presentations

  1. The Long Tail

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita. "The Long Tail." In The Future of Video Content on the Web. Paper presented at the Bernstein Long View Conference, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC, New York City, November 2007. View Details

    Research Summary

  1. Research Focus

    My research focuses on "creative industries," defined as industries that supply goods that we commonly associate with artistic, cultural, or entertainment value -- including book and magazine publishing, film, music, television, video games, the performing arts, sports, advertising, and perhaps fashion. I borrow the term from the economist Richard Caves, who argued that these industries share certain key economic properties: among other things, demand is highly uncertain, products are primarily differentiated based on subjective rather than objective dimensions of quality, and time is of the essence in that there is a need for a tight coordination of production activities and a timely realization of revenues. While it is difficult to come to an exact definition, taken together, these properties distinguish creative industries from other sectors of the economy. The industries that feature in my research are essentially content industries that compete for the attention of audiences (or "eyeballs") and, often, the advertisers that seek access to those audiences.
  2. Research Questions

    One overarching question drives my research: What are effective marketing strategies for managers in creative industries?

    I focus on three sub-questions:

    1. How can managers in creative industries effectively manage products and product portfolios?
    2. How can managers in creative industries effectively manage and market talent?
    3. How can managers in creative industries effectively respond to advances in digital technology?
    I consider strategic marketing challenges from a number of different viewpoints, but the dominant perspective is that of a manager of a firm that produces content, such as a book publisher, film or television studio, record label, or sports team or league. The three questions capture what are arguably the main challenges that today's content producers face in serving consumers. The questions relate directly to the producers' position in the marketing channel, which also consists of the talent (authors, actors, musicians, athletes, and other "creative workers") they employ to create goods, and the content retailers or aggregators (such as book or music stores, theater chains, television networks, and online video sites) through which they distribute and market those goods -- a marketing channel that is severely impacted by the rise of digital technology.

    Teaching

  1. Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries (MBA)

    This second-year MBA course is primarily designed for students pursuing a career in the creative industries, such as film, television, music, publishing, video games, the performing arts, sports, fashion, and advertising, or who plan to work in companies that advise or support those sectors. It may also be interesting for students seeking to advance their knowledge of strategic marketing in the context of a challenging, rapidly changing environment. The course revolves around three questions:
    1. How can firms best allocate resources across a portfolio of projects and for one project over time? For example, does it pay to pursue a "blockbuster" strategy?
    2. How can firms best approach the management and marketing of creative talent? In particular, how should companies invest in and capture value from superstars and the teams to which they belong?
    3. How are digital technologies changing the creative industries? For instance, how are firms affected by – and how can they benefit from – the increased pressure on prices and the larger assortments offered online? 
    Cases focus on established and emerging firms, products, and personalities in media, sports, and other entertainment industries. Examples include Marvel Enterprises, Grand Central Publishing, Warner Bros., Octone Records, Vogue, Real Madrid, Boca Juniors, Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson, Maria Sharapova, LeBron James, MGM, Lady Gaga, The Metropolitan Opera, Radiohead, Hulu, Major League Baseball, the NFL, Droga5 and Jay-Z, and Marquee.
  2. The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Sports (Executive Education)

    In the business of entertainment, digital technologies are dramatically disrupting the way products are developed, marketed, and distributed. As a result of this paradigm shift, entertainment executives and content producers are challenged to effectively allocate limited resources—both human and financial—across a seemingly infinite array of fragmented channels in order to survive. With an increasing number of musicians, athletes, stars, and authors promoting their brands via a wide range of online and offline channels, intermediaries must reinvent their strategies to compete effectively. This innovative new program provides proven approaches for marketing creative products and portfolios, managing and marketing talent, determining when to make smaller versus blockbuster bets, and identifying and capitalizing on market disruptions.
  1. Received the 2014 Robert F. Greenhill Award for "exemplary work on behalf of the Harvard Business School and its mission."

  2. Awarded Amazon’s "Best Books of 2013," Business and Investing category, for Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment (Henry Holt and Company).

  3. Named a TriBeCa Disruptor Foundation Fellow.

  4. Marketing Science article ("Demand and Supply Dynamics for Sequentially Released Products in International Markets: The Case of Motion Pictures," 2003, with Jehoshua Eliashberg) chosen as finalist for the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science "Long Term Impact Award," awarded annually to papers published in the last ten years that are viewed to have made a significant long run impact on the field of Marketing.

  5. Received the 2012 Emerald Management Reviews Citation of Excellence Award, for Harvard Business Review article ("Should You Invest in the Long Tail", 2008) as one of the top 50 articles with proven impact since its publication date from the top 300 management journals in the world.

  6. One of three faculty elected by the HBS Class of 2011 to take part in the "Best of EC Year" Speaker Series, honoring faculty teaching in the second year, Elective Curriculum (EC).

  7. Selected as the 2011 Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar, "identified as a likely leader of the next generation of marketing academics".

  8. Received the 2011 Charles M. Williams Award for "outstanding and effective teaching" in the MBA program, awarded by HBS Dean Nitin Nohria.

  9. Received the HBS Class of 2011 Faculty Award for "excellence in teaching".