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Master of Science in Digital Media Management

The acceleration of worldwide mobile internet access has made digital media indispensable to commerce, culture, and human connection. Digital media platforms and content are driving growth across industries, with sectors such as streaming video, music, games, and online publishing experiencing an unprecedented increase in global revenues. ​Envisioning and deploying the digital media products of the future will involve collaboration between culturally diverse and geographically dispersed teams. The Master of Science in Digital Media Management (MSDMM) program is designed to prepare managers to better understand the evolving media landscape, to make data-driven and ethical decisions, and to build a more equitable future by leading diverse teams with the technical, artistic, analytical, and production skills needed to create engaging content and technologies for the global marketplace.

Meeting the demands of diverse markets starts with digital media managers who can effectively advance an inclusive and equitable culture within their own organizations. MSDMM students will learn professional practices needed for the strategic management of their teams, including: recruiting and onboarding an optimal mix of talent, promoting anti-racist and non-discriminatory policies, and cultivating a work environment where each person thrives. Additionally, by analyzing how organizations use digital platforms to aggregate and empower users, students will explore how to support diverse perspectives in storytelling and content-creation, delivering a user experience that balances organizational needs with the ethical imperatives to foster inclusivity, equity and access.

Through an examination of the intersecting relationships between digital media practices, consumer culture, and society, students will also acquire a holistic understanding of digital media culture and business practices, and develop a critically-oriented foundation that prepares them for their roles as future leaders. Students will use real-world case studies as a springboard to ideate, create and evaluate the cutting-edge techniques, data collection methodologies and creative guidelines that can be used to implement long-range strategies for ethical media management. The program encourages immediate application of key concepts to industry challenges and opportunities with consideration of emerging technologies. Strategies for effectively communicating complex ideas to a variety of audiences and stakeholders are incorporated throughout the program.

Learning Outcomes

Apply impactful, ethical, and collaborative leadership and management approaches in digital media settings.

Make innovative and effective decisions based on critical evaluation of digital media-related data.

Propose marketing communication and branding strategies to connect consumer needs and organizational goals.

Design digital content strategies to support organizational initiatives.

Create entrepreneurial strategies to pursue new opportunities, solve problems, and foster innovation in digital media settings.

Develop strategies that address diversity, inclusion, equity, and access issues in digital media and communication practices.

Evaluate emerging technology trends, including their use and influence on the digital media industry.

Curriculum

A Master of Science degree in Digital Media Management requires 24 units of coursework offered in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. ​The program may be completed on a 1- or 2-year track. Students attending the program on the 1-year track can earn the degree within 12 months and those on the 2-year track can complete the program in 24 months or less.

Our curriculum was designed by academic experts and industry leaders at the forefront of digital media who are shaping the direction of the field every day. USC Annenberg’s experienced faculty will prepare you to advance in your profession and will give you increased confidence in your skills that will serve you throughout your career.

DMM 500 – Principles and Theories of Digital Media Management (2 units)

This course explores the digital media environment, its sociohistorical evolution, and the impact of digital technologies and media on practices within cultural and business ecosystems.

In this course you will:

  • Examine digital business and technological practices through the lens of social justice and ethics.
  • Evaluate the real-world impacts of technologies and digital media on society and culture.
  • Distinguish between representational digital media practices to discern normative patterns.
  • Apply grounding digital media literacies that serve as scaffolding for future applied practice.

DMM 505 – Digital Audience Research and Analysis (2 units)

This course explores research methodologies and digital audience analytics, evaluating online audience needs and wants and focusing on data-driven and ethical decision making.

In this course you will:

  • Evaluate online research for its quality and validity related to digital audiences.
  • Consider ethical implications for online research and decision making.
  • Differentiate the various quantitative and qualitative digital online research methods and determine how they apply to real-world digital audience analytics.
  • Evaluate the main components of audience analysis vendor tools.
  • Apply best practices in presenting research to a digital environment.

DMM 510 – Digital Media Buying, Measurement, and Analytics (2 units)

This course examines digital media advertising sales technologies: digital advertising, media buying, digital asset performance measurement, and data collection methodologies used for business planning.

In this course you will:

  • Differentiate between types of digital media sales methodologies and the technologies associated with them.
  • Assess the viability of new ad technology innovation and developments in digital media campaigns.
  • Evaluate different date measurement methods and their impact on media performance analysis.
  • Analyze models and search engine methodologies as they relate to customer behaviors and conversion.
  • Assess the ethics, equity, and inclusiveness of intended targeted marketing techniques and demographics of AdTech methods.
  • Develop strategies to use media advertising technologies and measurement analytics to support a brand, product, or service.

DMM 515 – Digital Content, Production, and Distribution (2 units)

This course explores the evolution of digital media content, content categories in digital media, innovations in content production techniques and technologies, and the digital distribution revolution.

In this course you will:

  • Differentiate between types of current content categories.
  • Correlate the business models used for digital media distribution and their current market leaders.
  • Compare the impacts of direct-to-consumer distribution and their current market leaders.
  • Illustrate the effect of production technology advancement, industry innovations, and their potential impacts.
  • Assess the market potential for various types of digital media creations, depending on return on investment, business models, and cost to produce using certain technologies.
  • Analyze the ethical implications of using technologies in certain content production and distribution roles.

DMM 520 – Strategic Digital Media Marketing (2 units)

This course uses case studies and examples to ideate, create, and evaluate cutting-edge techniques used to implement long-range strategies for ethical digital media management and marketing.

In this course you will:

  • Examine the principles of managing digital media accounts, including primary task roles and expectation for data acquisition, research and analysis, strategic targeting, content production, and execution.
  • Analyze structural and functional paradigms, operational frameworks, tactical strategies, tools, and resources used for executing best practices in digital media management.
  • Evaluate opportunities for added value and key performance indicators through practical analysis and critical thinking.
  • Appraise the technical and sociological dimensions of influencer marketing.
  • Practice executing the core principles of digital traffic management and audience engagement through the strategic use of soft sociocultural cues, as well as hard technological assets.

DMM 525 – Digital Media Leadership (2 units)

This course examines personal leadership principles and practices applicable to digital media, focused on leading within organizations, building diverse, high-performing teams, and delivering digital media initiatives.

In this course you will:

  • Evaluate personal strengths and areas for improvement as current or aspiring leaders.
  • Create a personal leadership philosophy based on leadership theories, principles, and styles relevant to digital media organizations.
  • Examine the role of the leader in promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in organizations.
  • Solve digital media challenges using a change-oriented mindset and collaboration.
  • Practice effective communication strategies with different stakeholders in digital media organizations.
  • Develop effective and ethical leadership responses to complex challenges and opportunities in digital media environments.

DMM 530 – Managing Digital Media Teams and Projects (2 units)

This course covers the principles and skills needed to manage teams and projects within the digital media environment and achieve organizational goals through strategic planning.

In this course you will:

  • Create a strategic plan that aligns a digital media initiative in support of broader organizational goals.
  • Examine concepts related to assembling and managing a diverse team in an inclusive environment.
  • Apply project management principles in order to deliver digital media initiatives on time, on budget, and with the appropriate level of quality.
  • Compare the benefits and challenges of managing digital media teams and projects in virtual and distributed environments.
  • Practice effective problem-solving techniques at the team level.

DMM 535 – Digital Content Direction (2 units)

This course covers principles and strategies for directing digital content across platforms to achieve organizational objectives beyond creating awareness, informing, or entertaining.

In this course you will:

  • Evaluate digital content performance on strategic objectives.
  • Craft creative directions based on market data, brand guidelines, and imagination.
  • Analyze campaign progress using key performance indicators beyond vanity metrics.
  • Integrate digital content into marketing campaigns that address all stages of the customer journey/marketing funnel from awareness to satisfaction.
  • Devise guidelines for digital content to promote diversity and inclusion, addressing accessibility and cultural sensitivities.

DMM 540 – Developing Effective User Engagement Strategies (2 units)

This course examines strategies to balance the needs of creating a user experience and content with the ethical imperatives of fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In this course you will:

  • Analyze strategies to improve user experience on digital media platforms.
  • Develop design strategies that build on existing media assets to improve the achievement of digital media companies’ goals.
  • Devise social and technical strategies to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion on digital media platforms.
  • Create innovative plans for balancing competing needs of digital media companies to improve user experience while limiting contributions of inappropriate content.

DMM 545 – Digital Platforms: Disruptions and Directions (2 units)

This course explores how the platform economy is disrupting traditional marketplaces and industries with new, digital technologies, and ways for optimizing outcomes from those changes.

In this course you will:

  • Assess how existing platforms have disrupted traditional markets and industries through analysis of transformations and socioeconomic impacts that have occurred.
  • Evaluate the central schools of thought in studies of digital platforms, innovation, and market disruption.
  • Examine the external conditions, institutions, agents, and processes that foster or restrict the disruption of industries, markets, or technologies by digital platforms.
  • Craft decisions and actions to optimize outcomes from market disruptions fueled by digital platforms.
  • Apply well-established and innovative platform design and governance strategies that have the potential to lead to digitally-driven, disruptive changes.
  • Address inequities and other ethical issues in the digital platform economy leading to disruptive changes.

DMM 550 – Digital Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2 units)

This course covers management of digital media innovation within digital media organizations and new entrepreneurial ventures, and ways for alleviating challenges to equity and diversity.

In this course you will:

  • Categorize concepts of innovation across organizational, technological, and humanistic registers.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of options for entrepreneurship in projects common to the digital media industry.
  • Create strategies for content production that builds on existing organizational assets.
  • Analyze challenges to equity, diversity, and inclusion in digital media innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Examine the benefits of direct forms of communication with customers to improve product ideas and acquire funding.

DMM 555 – Digital Media Management Capstone (2 units)

Students create an innovative idea or initiative that solves a problem or achieves a goal within a digital media organization or business unit.

In this course you will:

  • Devise effective leadership and management strategies to support organizational goals in digital media organizations.
  • Interrogate relevant data to draw conclusions and make ethical decisions in digital media organizations.
  • Evaluate the impact of technology trends on digital media organizations and business units.
  • Assess content, marketing, and branding strategies that support organizational goals and consumer demand.
  • Integrate considerations of diversity, inclusion, equity, and access into digital media planning and decision-making.
  • Develop a project to support an innovative idea or initiative that addresses a digital media challenge or opportunity.
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