Anthony J. Pennings, PhD


Emerging Areas of Digital Media Expertise, Part 4: Business Acumen

Posted on | April 10, 2016 | No Comments

In previous posts, I discussed the importance of various skill sets in the emerging digital world: analytics and visualizations, design, global knowledge, technical, and the strategic communication aspects of digital media expertise.

The competitive world of digital activities requires proficiency in an extensive variety of marketing, graphic design, and digital production skills. The area of media management has emerged from broadcast media to embrace digital media, especially as the creative economy and its various manifestations: experience industries, cultural industries, and entertainment industries emerge as crucial parts of the global economy. In this post, I will discuss the centrality of commercial, entrepreneurial and management skills in today’s digital media environment.

Previously, those trained in media skills were primarily focused on the production of entertainment, educational, and cultural products and services. They were somewhat removed from business decisions unless they moved up to editorial or management positions later in their careers. With the transition to digital technologies and processes, business knowledge and media abilities are increasingly intertwined.

Some of the ways digital media production and business acumen overlap:

– Managing creative workers and digital innovation
– Assessing digital threats and opportunities
– Understanding global media and cultural trends
– Marketing content and producing multiple revenue streams
– Ensuring intellectual property rights and obtaining permissions
– Preparing digital content for local and global markets
– Working with diverse in-house and third party partners/vendors to construct working media-related applications
– Developing metrics for key performance, strategic, and management requirements
– Develop continuity plans in case of security, personnel, equipment or environmental failures
– Recruiting, managing and evaluating other key personnel
– Evaluating and implementing various e-payment solutions for both B2B and B2C operations
– Working with senior management and Board of Directors to establish current and long range goals, objectives, plans and policies
– Working with established creativity suppliers such as stars, independent producers, and agents
– Discerning how complex international legal environments influence intellectual property rights, consumer rights, privacy, and a various types of cybercrimes
– Manage remote projects and collaborate with colleagues and third party vendors via mediated conferencing
– Utilize project management skills and monitoring technologies such as Excel spreadsheets and methodologies such as SDLC waterfall, RAD, JAD, and Agile/Scrum
– Licensing and obtaining legal rights to merchandise and characters
– Assessing competitive advantages and barriers to entry
– Implement and monitor advertising and social media campaigns
– Anticipate the influence of macroeconomic events such as business cycles, inflation, as well as changes in interest rates and exchange rates on an organization’s sustainability

Leadership and management skills such as understanding how to facilitate teamwork among colleagues and third party partners/vendors to construct and commercialize working media-related applications are increasingly important. As enterprises and mission-based institutions flatten their organizational structures and streamline their work processes, fundamental knowledge about accounting, finance, logistics, marketing, and sales becomes more valuable.

Professional management certifications are a valuable qualification on contemporary resumes and represent valuable experience as well (4500 hours of project management work with a 4-year degree). Specific project management skills using Excel spreadsheets and the ability to monitor workflows using methodologies such as SDLC waterfall, RAD, JAD, and Agile/Scrum are also valuable to employers as are budgeting, change management, project control, risk assessment, scheduling, and vendor management. The ability to coordinate and manage remote projects with online teleconferencing and instant messaging capabilities is also crucial in a global environment to facilitate collaboration among colleagues, different business units and partnering B2B companies.

Last, but not least, sales expertise is in high demand in new media companies. Last year I was in San Francisco talking to a venture capitalist about needed skills and this category came up strongly. Sales success requires strong product knowledge, communication skills, planning abilities and self-management. Customer relations management has transformed sales management and with it modern retail and wholesale organizations. But just as significantly, customer expectations have risen to anticipate 24/7, global service from any point in the corporate operations.



AnthonybwAnthony J. Pennings, PhD is Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Technology and Society, State University of New York, Korea. Before joining SUNY, he taught at Hannam University in South Korea and from 2002-2012 was on the faculty of New York University. Previously, he taught at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, Marist College in New York, and Victoria University in New Zealand. He has also spent time as a Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.


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    Professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea since 2016. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, digital economics, and strategic communications.

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