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Bharat N. Anand
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Change Management / Strategy / Digital Transformation, Information Technology & Data Analytics / AI, Robotics & Automation / Emerging Technology / Executive Education / TED Speakers


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    Digital Change and the Content Trap (Bharat Anand)

Learn More About Bharat Anand

Bharat N. Anand is Vice Provost for Advances in Learning at Harvard University, the Henry R. Byers Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Senior Associate Dean of Harvard Business School Online, the school’s digital learning initiative he helped create. He has served on the university-wide HarvardX and VPAL faculty committees since their inception.

Professor Anand is an expert in digital strategy, media and entertainment strategy, corporate strategy and organizational change. His work has examined competition in information goods markets, focusing on two central challenges firms face in these markets: “getting noticed” amidst the increasing clutter of alternatives available to consumers, and “getting paid” for what they produce.

His book, “The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change (Random House, October 2016), examines digital transformation in content industries, with a view to distilling the learnings from a quarter century of change that might inform digital efforts elsewhere. The book has received acclaim for its perspective on strategy and digital transformation. It was also named one of Fast Company’s top 10 business books of 2016, Bloomberg’s “Best Books of 2017” and received the Axiom Best Business Book Award in “Business Theory” (Silver) in 2018.

Professor Anand’s papers have shed light on the roles of branding and advertising as vehicles of matching and information, on competition between cable news networks, and on strategies that firms employ to tackle the challenge of weak or insecure property rights. In prior work, he studied the financing of R&D, the structure of technology licensing contracts and the industrial organization of financial intermediation markets. His papers have been published in several leading journals in economics, marketing and strategy.

Professor Anand created HBS’ first executive program on digital strategies for media companies and was a faculty co-founder of its interdisciplinary research initiative on digital issues. He has authored numerous case studies on business and corporate strategy, including those on Danaher, The Economist, International Management Group, News Corporation, Random House and Schibsted. His research and case writing have received various awards and his work has been profiled in numerous media outlets, including The New York TimesWall Street JournalEntrepreneurFast CompanyForbesFortuneInc. and Bloomberg. His work on digital transformation has influenced both start-ups and established companies, and he has advised leading organizations and entrepreneurs across the globe.

Professor Anand has served as faculty head of the required strategy course in the MBA program, has taught strategy in the General Management Program and has served as faculty chair of various executive programs at the school. For several years, he taught the popular second-year elective course in corporate strategy in the MBA elective curriculum, for which he received the Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence at HBS from the MBA classes of 2006 and 2007. He also received the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching at HBS.

Professor Anand currently leads HBX, HBS’ digital learning initiative, which launched in 2014. He helped oversee the design and creation of the digital learning platforms and created one of its first online courses. HBX has received accolades for its innovative approach to online pedagogy; its virtual classroom has been described by Fortune as the “Classroom of the Future.”

Professor Anand received his B.A. in economics from Harvard College magna cum laude and his PhD in economics from Princeton University. He is a recipient of the Greenhill Award for outstanding contributions to HBS.

Bharat Anand is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Bharat Anand was last modified: June 3rd, 2024 by Justin Louis

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“As Bharat Anand shows in this eminently readable book, connections are now more important than content. His insights will bring you several steps closer to understanding the digital revolution and how you can avoid its many perils.”

Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive and To Sell Is Human

“This book is a clarion call for creativity and imagination in strategy development. I measure the success of a business book by my desire to share it with colleagues. After reading The Content Trap, I want all of my former colleagues at The New York Times to read it.”

Martin Nisenholtz, former CEO, New York Times Digital, Professor of the Practice of Digital Communication, Boston University

“’The Content Trap’ by Bharat Anand is a must-read for anyone entering the Digital Age of business. It corrects common misperceptions that are based on assumptions rather than fact-based research. Filled with anecdotes and case studies, it will free you from making mistakes that others have learned from. It is a page-turner.”

Deepak Chopra

“Bharat Anand thinks both globally and functionally: our group and I have learnt a lot from him over the years. He has provoked us to shape ideas in new ways. That is what you will experience when you read ‘The Content Trap.’”

Koos Bekker, Chair, Naspers, global internet group

​“In my professional life I have seen audiences’ relationship with movies, television programming and music be radically transformed by the digital revolution. Bharat Anand’s book is invaluable in its analysis of how this change has affected the media space and in particular how consumers relate to the content that we are creating. It helps to explain what has happened and also provides insights as to what we might expect. I thoroughly recommend it.”

Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment

“Bharat Anand offers a fresh look on how and why organizations are winning and losing in the digital world—and it is not for the reasons we so often hear. ‘The Content Trap’ is brimming with fascinating examples, applied theory, and new insights that go beyond the hype and reveal the dynamics that are crucial for all organizations aiming to succeed in today’s increasingly digital environment. It is a must-read for all leaders interested in devising strategies and building organizations that can thrive in the future.”

Jeff Bradach, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Bridgespan Group

“’The Content Trap’ by Bharat Anand is a rare book that is both extremely personal, because of what Harvard University — where he teaches — is being forced to acknowledge in the rise of digital education platforms, and simultaneously academic, because of the extensive, real-life examples he has accumulated to illustrate smart theories around the dilemmas and challenges we all confront in this era of endless digital-led transformation. It is a ‘must read’ for those who think about digital, live it, and are willing to embrace the challenges and opportunities that it brings to everything we do.”

Raju Narisetti, SVP, Strategy, NewsCorp., former Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal Digital & The Washington Post

“Bharat Anand has written the rarest of books, one that combines deep strategic insight with great practical impact. ‘The Content Trap’ is both a delight to read and the essential book for understanding today’s digital revolution. In the process, Anand debunks the conventional wisdom time and time again; his insights are sharp, perceptive, and strikingly original.”

David Garvin, C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

“A very smart book — creators, ignore this at your peril. This revolution has been twenty years in the making, and Bharat Anand makes the past (and the future) a lot more clear.”

Seth Godin, New York Times bestselling author of Meatball Sundae and Linchpin

“’Content is king’ may once have been true, but favoring content over connections will only get you dethroned today. In clear and compelling prose, Anand shows us how to lay the strategic groundwork to thrive in an increasingly connected world. Understanding the Content Trap is the true solution to your digital dilemma!”

Barry Nalebuff, Milton Steinbach Professor, Yale School of Management, co-author of Why Not? and Co-opetition, and co-founder of Honest Tea

“A masterful and thought-provoking book that has reshaped my understanding of content in the digital landscape.”

Ariel Emanuel, co-CEO, WME | IMG

“’The Content Trap‘ is a book filled with stories of businesses, from music companies to magazine publishers, that missed connections and could never escape the narrow views that had brought them past success. But it is also filled with stories of those who made strategic choices to strengthen the links between content and returns in their new master plans. . . . The book is a call to clear thinking and reassessing why things are the way they are.”

The Wall Street Journal

“My favorite book of the year.”

Doug McMillon, CEO, Wal-Mart Stores