Carnegie Mellon University
October 30, 2012

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon Launches Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics

Contact: Ken Walters / 412-268-1151 /

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University announced today the creation of the Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics (IDEA), which will conduct research into timely public policy and managerial questions raised by the emergence of digital distribution channels for entertainment content.

IDEA is an interdisciplinary university-wide effort led by acclaimed CMU professors Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang from the H. John Heinz III College. Smith and Telang study the digital entertainment industry and have authored many papers on the subject in leading academic journals as well as the Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review. They also provide expert commentary on their research to policy audiences such as the Federal Trade Commission, Congressional Internet Caucus and Technology Policy Institute.

"The digital age has fundamentally changed how people consume and produce entertainment including movies, television, music and books," said Smith, professor of information technology and marketing at the Heinz College. "These industries now face the challenge of balancing the need to protect their content while also providing users with choices in consuming that content. The goal of IDEA is to produce objective, academically rigorous research to inform both policymakers and industry managers addressing these important and challenging issues."

The creation of IDEA was made possible through an unrestricted gift from the Motion Picture Association of America. This gift will allow Smith and Telang to extend their groundbreaking research in this area and lead a group of scholars from around the university interested in these important policy and management questions.

"Our goal is to inform billion-dollar revenue streams for an industry experiencing rapid changes. The research is heavily data driven, which can answer questions that are not only useful and important to business and policymakers, but can also create new methods and scientific knowledge," said Telang, professor of information systems at the Heinz College.

Growth of the Internet and mobile devices has created new distribution opportunities in the entertainment industry as companies innovate to meet changes in consumer demand, and has given rise to new business challenges from digital piracy networks, bringing issues of copyright, intellectual property and counterfeiting to the forefront.

"IDEA brings together the Heinz College's expertise in data analytics, evidence-based management and public policy, and in applying interdisciplinary approaches to real-world problems," said Ramayya Krishnan, dean of the Heinz College. "We are thrilled that professors Smith and Telang can use these resources to extend their intellectual leadership in this important research domain."