You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Master class

Globalization savvy prof predicts media's emerging markets

Among the six courses Al Lieberman teaches as executive director of NYU Stern’s Entertainment, Media and Technology Program, two focus on the subject that intrigues him most: the globalization of the entertainment and media industry.

It’s a subject he learned well when launching Silhouette Books for Simon & Schuster, a romance-novel imprint he helped expand to 18 languages in 50 countries. After founding EMT, his education continued through travel to such countries as China, India and Brazil, as well as through the formation of partnerships with schools around the world.

“The two strategies that drive the consumption of media and entertainment in other countries are the growth of disposable income and the growth of discretionary time,” Lieberman says. The key to targeting where this has occurred (and will occur) is defining the emerging middle class in key foreign territories and measuring its growth, a difficult task Lieberman and his students undertake by culling figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ global entertainment and media books and other resources.

“In my own career development, I watched the P&L (profit and loss statements) from major media companies change dramatically, particularly in film and eventually in television and other areas,” Lieberman says. “Last year, the Chinese film market went up 30%. When I was visiting and worked on the bid for the 2000 Olympics 15 years ago, they were nowhere near that,” he says. “A movie ticket was 8 yuan, which was equal to about $1. Even though there were about 1.4 billion people in the country, there were maybe 200 million who could afford that. Well today, 500 or 600 million can afford to pay $4, or about 30 yuan, because it’s a huge growth world.”

The key to his analysis, Lieberman says, is looking at the right figures and cultural changes. “We’re not concentrating on cars or gasoline or their exports to America; we’re talking about what they have in their pockets and what they’re using, because entertainment and media is not the first thing you spend your money on. You take care of the market basket first. If you’re working in the field seven days a week, you don’t have time to read a book, magazine or newspaper. The moment you have weekends or holidays off, all of that is part of the growth.”

While extreme poverty remains a fact of life for hundreds of millions in countries like India, Lieberman says, “It still leaves a lot of people who’ve grown into a middle class there who are watching Rupert Murdoch’s Star, Sony TV and the government television channel Doordarshan.” They have fueled the “explosion of Mumbai,” he says, in film, music, telecom, cable, TV and other areas.

Through his research, Lieberman has identified the countries with “mature,” “developing” or “growth” economic potential for the entertainment industry. “All of Western Europe is mature — they’re not going to grow much, but they’ve already become very large,” he says. “Eastern Europe, India and China are developing. Australia and New Zealand are somewhere between mature and developing because they’re English speaking and get so much content from the U.S. and U.K. We talk about piracy, corruption and difficulties in Russia, but clearly it’s in the growth category, as is Latin America. And then there’s South Africa, which is enormous.”

More from the Education Impact Report 2011:
Brave new ways to teach media | Yesterday’s grads share key lessons | Film school directory | Fox topper shows real class | Media’s emerging markets | Media mentor of the year | Master class | Brands sponsor student shorts

More Film

  • NEW TOY? – Everyone’s favorite pull-string

    China Box Office: 'Toy Story 4' Beaten by Old Animated Film 'Spirited Away'

    Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” has debuted to record-breaking opening weekends all over the world – but not in China, where it was soundly beaten by a nearly 20-year-old Japanese anime classic, Ghibli Studios’ “Spirited Away.” While “Toy Story 4” made film history in territories around the world with the largest-ever three-day opening for [...]

  • The Wolf Hour

    Shanghai Film Review: 'The Wolf Hour'

    Run a finger along any of the surfaces in Alistair Banks Griffin’s sophomore feature “The Wolf Hour,” and it will come up slicked with sweat, grime and the residual soot of the city. It is the summer of 1977,  and it’s hotter than hell. June Leigh (Naomi Watts) perches on the window sill of the [...]

  • The Christmas Gift

    'The Christmas Gift,' 'Guaxuma,' 'King Wah' Win Top Awards at Palm Springs ShortFest

    The Palm Springs International ShortFest wrapped Sunday with top prizes going to “The Christmas Gift,” directed by Bogdan Muresanu, for best of the festival, Nara Normande’s “Guaxuma” for best international short and Horatio Baltz’s “King Wah (I Think I Love You)” for best North American short. The festival is the largest shorts-focused event in North [...]

  • Vortex

    Shanghai Film Review: 'Vortex'

    Official statistics imply that violent crime is close to an all-time low across China today, but you would hardly guess as much from the glut of commercial-leaning crime and gangster movies that the Middle Kingdom is producing and, as often as not, given the accessibility of the genre and the historical pedigree of Asian action [...]

  • Box Office: Toy Story 4 Opens

    Box Office: 'Toy Story 4' Launches Overseas With $120 Million, 'Aladdin' Clears $800 Million

    Disney’s summer box office slate continues to dominate over other studios as “Toy Story 4” launches overseas with a solid $120 million and “Aladdin” crosses $800 million in ticket sales. Disney and Pixar’s latest “Toy Story” entry led international box office charts when it debuted in 37 foreign territories. It also dwarfed the competition in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content