Saturday , September 23 2023

Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Media Economics and Sustainability (CMS 405)

With the unbundling of Mass Communication programme in Nigeria, the face of communication education in the country has changed. The programme has transited into a full college/faculty while individual courses have adapted to the change. While several new courses now exist in the seven new departments, some of the courses you used to know before have also taken a new shape. We have done a thorough research on what these courses offer in universities across the world; and we have provided prototype syllabus for students to study ahead. This is also to assist lecturers who might be facing new challenges with several new courses to have an idea of what the syllabus of each course offers.



Faculty: Communication and Media Studies                          Department: Journalism & Media Studies

Course Code: CMS 405                                          Unit(s): 2          Semester: First

Course Title: Media Economics and Sustainability

Lecturer:                                                       Programme: B.Sc.



This is a two-in-one course which deals with two broad but related categories – media economics and media sustainability. The course explores the basic concepts, theories, and approaches of media economics. It is designed to expose students to the basics of how to use theoretical constructs in media economics to analyze media markets, industries, and the practices of media organizations. Students will learn how media economy has been shaped by multiple factors among which are technology, globalization, and regulation. New trends in media economy in the digital era, especially the rapid development of social media industries, will also be discussed extensively in this course. Media sustainability which is primarily concerned with the factors needed for independent media to develop, and make meaningful contributions to the society, will also be discussed. Students will also be exposed to factors in sustainability and examines what those starting and working in media need to be concerned about and what they can do to improve the sustainability of their operations. At the completion of this course, students would have learned how to utilize principles and theories in media economics and other constructs in this specialized field to analyze the media markets and industries. Students would also be conversant with critical issues on sustainability of the media in the face of a rapidly changing economy and media technology. Students will also have a clear understanding of the conditions that need to be pursued to make media in today’s dynamic, digital society.



By the end of this course, students will have learned:

  1. Basic concepts and theories in media economics
  2. Economic forces that drive media industries, as well as the economic rationales for media regulations
  3. Factors that influence media economy (including technology, globalization, regulation and social aspects)
  4. Approaches to the study of media economics
  5. How to apply principles, and theories in media economics in analyzing media organizations and issues in media industries
  6. How to analyze the new trends in media industries and the driving forces underlying these new trends
  7. Analyze the development of New/social media industries and its influence on media economy
  8. Special issues in media industries (including finance and labor)
  9. The future of media economy and social media industry
  10. Business model of multi-platform media companies
  11. Meaning of media sustainability
  12. Importance of Media sustainability in the society
  13. Factors that influence media sustainability


  1. Lectures
  2. Quizzes
  3. Assignments
  4. Practical Classroom Sessions


1. Introduction

Defining fundamental concepts of media economics

Principles of media economics

Relevance of media economics

Course overview

2. Approaches to the Study of media economics

Theoretical tradition

Applied tradition

Critical tradition

Political economy approach

3. Media Products

What is media product?

Concept of media goods

Two main components of media products

  • Non-material components (media contents such as the written stories, broadcast media programmes, movies; media content as information goods, multipurpose goods, talent goods)
  • Material components (tangible packages such as DVDs of movies, hard copies of newspapers, magazines)

Audience as product (many media survive through the sale of audience to advertisers; media organizations mostly attract adverts based on the ‘value’ of their audience or audience base)

Audience as consumer

Audience as producer in modern media market (user-generated contents)

4. The media industry

Components of the media industry

Stakeholders in the media industry (media owners, media workers, audience members, government, Advertisers, etc.)

How stakeholders influence media economics

5. Theories in media economics

Defining the basic concepts (theory, media economic theory)

Theories of media economics

Applying theories in media economics in analyzing media organizations and issues in media industries

6. Structure of Media Ownership

Independent media

Private ownership

Government ownership



Public service

Horizontal integration

Vertical integration

Cross media divergence



Share of ownership


Economic forces that drive media industries, as well as the

7. Economic Rationale for Media Regulation

What is media regulation?

Economic rationales for media regulations

Kinds of media regulation

  • Media controlled by government (mostly exists in authoritarian societies)
  • Regulation by government approved independent statutory regulators
  • Voluntary media regulation
  • Regulation based on pressure from the audience

8. Sources of Income for Media Organizations

Print media (newspapers, magazines)

Electronic media (radio, television, social media and other online media)

Entertainment Industry (music, movies, cinema)

Advertising as a major source of income for media organizations

9. Factors that influence media economy




Social aspects

Nature of the economy



10. Social Media Economics

Overview of the social media industry

Characteristics of the social media industries

Explore the business models of the social media industries.

Updated patterns of the social media industries

Role of news in the social media industries

How social media influence the economy

Development of New/social media industries and its influence on media economy

11. Issues in Media Economics

Finance and labor in the media economy

Basic concepts in financial management

Patterns of labour in media industries

Factors that influence labour in media i

The future of media economy

New trends in the media industry

12. Media Sustainability

Meaning of media sustainability

Importance of media sustainability in the society

Factors that influence media sustainability

Self-generating revenue streams

Effective governance and management of the media enterprise

Promotion of journalistic and media professionalism

Government and society

Functioning economy

Protections of free expression

Governmental transparency

13. Governmental Factors in Media Sustainability

Regulation/laws and development/sustainability independent media

Why do freedom of expression and government transparency affect sustainability?

How does licensing and registration of media and journalists affect sustainability?

How does the government response to attacks on journalists and media affect sustainability? Why do some libel laws make media unsustainable?

Government direct or indirect subsidy, media independence and sustainability

14. Media professionalism and sustainability

How is quality of content related to credibility, trust and media sustainability?

Why are training programmes for those working in media critical to professionalism?

Why are market research and reliable industry statistics crucial for developing sustainability? How do ethical standards and fairness/balance in journalism affect sustainability?

15. Business Models and Financial Aspects of Media Sustainability

Efficient expenditures and sustainability

Effective uses of capital, caution with debt and liabilities

Cash flow management, strategic uses of accounting, operational self sufficiency,

Continuous renewal of resources and sustainability

Planning for future income and unexpected expenses

What is a business model and why is it more than merely sources of money?

The importance of business models and sources of financial resources

How should journalists and media managers think about their sources of revenue?

16. Roles of management and governance in sustainability

Defining the key concepts (governance, management, sustainability)

Why creating the capability to continue operations must be the primary task of those leading a media enterprise

Sustainability issues that should concern a manager

Role of directors of the company in sustainability

Managing company resources

Dependence on sources of funding and supplies, and debt

How editorial independence reconciles with the interests of managers, boards and owners

Ethical approaches to pursuing the business sustainability of media outlets

17. Class activities and Assignments

(Case studies)


Lowe, G.F. & Brown, C. (Eds.) (2016). Managing Media Firms and Industries: What’s so special about media management? New York: Springer. (An e-book). file:///C:/Users/ACCESS~1/AppData/Local/Temp/WhatsSoSpecial2016.pdf

Albarran, A. B. (2010). The media economy. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

Albarran, Alan B., Sylvia M. Chan-Olmsted, and Michael O. Wirth, eds. 2006. Handbook of media management and economics. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Alexander, Alison, James Owers, Rodney A. Carveth, C. Ann Hollifield, and Albert N. Greco, eds. 2003. Media economics: Theory and practice. 3d ed. New York: Routledge.

Picard, Robert G. 2003. The economics and financing of media companies. New York: Fordham Univ. Press.

Albarran, A.B. (2013). The social media industries (Eds). New York: Routledge


Media as Partners in Education for Sustainable Development

Community Media Sustainability Guide

The Economics of Media Companies

Structure and Ownership of Media Sector

Why Media Are Regulated

How Does Social Media Influence the Economy?

Contents as Products in Media Markets


READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Intro to Communication I (CMS 101)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Introduction To Communication II (CMS 102)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: History of Nigerian Media (CMS 103)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Traditional African Communication Systems (CMS 105)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Editing & Graphics of Communication (CMS 203)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Foundations of Communication Research (CMS 205)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Gender & Communication (CMS 303)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: News Writing and Reporting (JMS 201)

About Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a writer with passion for cutting-edge news

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