Media sector definition, work areas, employers and trends
Updated 17 July 2023
The media industry offers a wide range of career opportunities, from publishing and journalism roles to jobs in television, film production and video game design. Since it's a fast-moving and innovative sector, it's an especially rewarding choice for those with the latest digital media skills. If you want to work in the media industry, understanding its trends and skills shortages can give your application an advantage. In this article, we define the media sector, list its work areas and some graduate employers and explore its work environment, skills shortages and trends.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
What is the media sector?
The media sector includes all the organisations that store and share information with consumers using communication methods and tools. These organisations share this information in various ways, including television, radio, social media, newspapers, films, video games and music. The sector has two main categories, digital and traditional media. Digital media is a broad category that refers to the sharing of information online through digital devices and includes podcasts, social media, blogs and online games. Traditional media refers to mass communication methods other than the internet, such as billboards, television, newspapers and radio.
Media industry work areas
Those who work in this sector typically focus on a particular media type, but there are opportunities to move between types. For instance, you may decide to move to digital media after working in traditional media for many years, or you might transition from a newspaper role to working in television. The media industry includes the following sectors:
Publishing: This refers to the publishing of literature, information, software, music and other types of content that consumers purchase or use for free.
Journalism: This involves producing and distributing accurate news reports and features in various formats to consumers.
Post-production: This is the editing process that takes place in video production, filmmaking, photography and audio production after the initial photography or recording.
Digital marketing: This involves using online digital platforms and devices to promote goods and services.
Advertising: This area produces content that encourages consumers to purchase an organisation's goods and services.
Animation: This involves bringing characters or objects to life using animations, visual images and special effects for films, television shows, website graphics, advertisements and other media forms.
Television: This refers to the creation, production and broadcasting of news, entertainment and sports shows and television advertisements.
Radio: This involves the broadcasting of public service and commercial radio.
Film: This incorporates the organisations and individuals involved in making films, including actors, distributors, editors, film festivals, film production businesses, cinematography companies and film studios.
Interactive media: This involves working with digital goods and services that respond to actions from users and present them with text, animations, moving images, audio, video and other types of content.
Music: This encompasses organisations and individuals earning an income from writing and selling music, hosting concerts and managing musicians.
Scriptwriting: This area of work refers to those involved in the scriptwriting process – including scriptwriters and script editors – for various media types, including video games, television shows and films.
Special effects: This entails creating or manipulating images in video production and filmmaking that are challenging to capture in live film shots.
Technical production: This area involves planning, transporting, installing and using technical equipment to prepare for and manage live events.
Video games: This work area encompasses developing, marketing and monetising video games.
Website design: This area includes the different disciplines that create and maintain websites, including graphic design, search engine optimisation (SEO), user interface (UI) design, user experience (UX) design and coding.
Business-to-business (B2B) media: This area involves working with communication methods that connect different organisations.
Graduate employers in the media industry
Here are examples of graduate employers in the media industry:
Bloomberg is a software, financial, media and data company. It provides financial organisations with financial tools, including data services and trading and analytics platforms. Bloomberg also operates radio stations, magazines, subscription newsletters, websites, television networks and news agencies. The company often provides entry-level roles, apprenticeships and internships. Graduates may apply to work in various Bloomberg divisions, including its data, editorial, engineering, sales, customer support, finance, human resources, media, marketing and legal teams.
Pinewood Group is a television and film studio company with headquarters in Buckinghamshire. It offers employees an exciting and creative work environment, with good progression opportunities and the ability to work on high-profile TV shows and critically acclaimed films. Graduates can apply for various jobs, including editing, logistics, operations, administrative and account management positions. Apprenticeship and internship opportunities are also available at the company.
Rockstar Games publishes video games, predominately racing and action-adventure titles. The company hires people who want to help create and publish high-quality content and work on challenging and rewarding projects. The company might offer opportunities in the administration, audio, IT, release management and quality assurance, coding, analytics, cybersecurity, marketing, animation, online services, communications, art, customer experience, creative services, game design, human resources and writing teams.
The BBC is a national broadcaster and highly creative organisation that offers candidates an exciting and rewarding work environment and access to effective training programmes. Graduates may apply for work experience and training schemes. Jobs may also be available in the BBC's business, journalism, design and engineering and production divisions.
Oxford University Press is the University of Oxford's academic publishing house. Its publications include academic journals, bibliographies, literature, language resources, dictionaries and historical works. It publishes materials in various countries, languages and formats. Oxford University Press offers graduates career opportunities in many fields, including editorial, production, sales, marketing, finance and accounting, art and design, customer service, content management, distribution, project management, publicity and information technology (IT). It also offers internship opportunities.
Working in the media industry
Here are some aspects of what it's like to work in the media industry:
Employment types: Many jobs in this sector involve short-term contracts or freelance work. However, organisations may also offer full-time, permanent positions.
Work hours: Depending on the role, it might be necessary to work unsociable hours. For instance, live events often occur during the evenings and weekends, so technical production jobs may involve working at these times.
Dynamic environment: The media industry changes constantly, so expect your role to evolve. Entrants can often expect an exciting work environment and varied workload.
Travel opportunities: Roles in this industry may include domestic and international travel. For instance, journalists frequently travel to events and other locations to conduct interviews.
Creative contributions: Media jobs tend to have a creative focus, so those working in the industry can make unique contributions and enjoy high levels of job satisfaction. This may involve completing design work or applying creative thinking to fulfil the role's duties.
Skills shortages in the media industry
The media industry currently has a shortage of the following skilled individuals:
engine coders, VFX producers and facial modellers in the special effects industry
production managers, editors, producers, costume designers, location managers, camera operators, unit managers, make-up and hair artists, set decorators, accountants, visual effects experts, production coordinators, script supervisors and assistant directors in the TV and film industry
colourists and producers in the post-production industry
animators and storyboard artists, production managers, 2D designers and background designers in the animation industry
engine coders, 3D programmers, UI designers, technical artists, network programmers, game designers, animators and back-end programmers in the video game industry
Current key trends in the media industry
The key trends in the media industry include the following:
Media spending shift: Spending on digital media (such as music, games and video) is increasing, whereas spending on traditional media (including printed magazines, books and newspapers) is falling.
Demand for subscription services: More individuals are subscribing to music and video services because they're more convenient and offer more choices.
Journalism careers: Jobs in journalism are increasingly competitive because of print journalism's decline, making strong digital journalism skills and significant work experience more important for pursuing these careers.
Video gaming success: This part of the media industry generates significant income and outperforms other parts of the sector – including the music industry – due to the popularity of mobile and tablet gaming and the introduction of next-generation video game consoles.
Vibrant film industry: The TV and film industry continues to thrive and produce successful international productions despite the popularity of streaming services.
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