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What Is The Future of Digital Media? What Are Types of Digital Media?
Digital media is any form of digitized content that’s transmitted via the internet. The music you stream, the movies you find in your queue and even your social media apps are just a few of the ways we discover digital content. The rise of digital media has increased innovation across almost every sector, ranging from journalism to e-commerce and education.
What is Digital Media?
What comes to mind when you hear the word “media?” Does a news outlet like CNN or NPR pop into your head? Maybe you’re thinking of your favorite newspaper, like The New York Times. Perhaps you’re even thinking of the last movie you saw. In any case, you’re right. Media is all around us, and digital media specifically, is becoming an omnipresent part of our lives. However, what exactly is digital media?
To put it simply, digital media includes any device or medium that uses digital signals to convey content. Examples of digital media in your daily life could be the video games you’re playing, the podcast you’re currently obsessed with or the touchscreen kiosk that just took your food order. Digital media has revolutionized the way we receive news, discover new products or even entertain ourselves to the point where we’re now seeing a reduction in the once-popular sector of print-based media. Digital media, unlike traditional forms of media, like printed books or art, gives anyone the flexibility to access their favorite digital content where and when they want it.
Digital tools are everywhere we turn, and they are enabling us to lead internet-centric lives. There are more cell phones on the planet than people. AirPods are so popular that, standalone from Apple’s other products, revenue sales would make them their own Fortune 500 company. Google receives more than 3.5 billion search queries each day. The point is that we’re entering an incredibly important age for digital media and content. Thanks to the latest technological innovations, we can consume our favorite multimedia wherever and whenever we want it; and we are doing just that. We are so connected to digital media that we spent an astounding 6 hours and 35 minutes on it each day in 2019. Digital media has become our go-to source of entertainment and information throughout our day.
Digital media is shaping the way we view the world through music, movies, games, search engines, digital touchscreens and more. These devices and mediums provide us the ultimate convenience and efficiency. As technology continues to progress, it’s only a matter of time before digital media becomes the only form of media we consume on a daily basis.
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Types of Digital Media
The invention of computers changed everything and that’s no exception for digital media. The computer brought about other technological game-changers, like video game consoles, cell phones and the Internet. As technology evolves, so do the types of digital media that are used to engage and inform people all over the world. Below are just four of the seemingly-endless ways that we’re experiencing digital media in our daily lives.
Social media is one of the most popular forms of digital media today. When it comes to providing access to virtually unlimited digital content, social media is king. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok and dozens of other social platforms give billions of users the ability to receive their news, information and ideas from content creators on these platforms.
The reason why social media is such a successful digital media channel is due to the inherent “virality” of each platform. “Retweets,” “likes” and “pins” can cause digital communications to become instant sensations, reaching millions in the process. And people tend to trust the digital content from social media to inform their opinions. About two in every three Americans receive their news from at least one social media site, while 3.48 billion people globally spend an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes a day interacting with the latest digital content. These staggering numbers show just how impactful social media has been on society and the meteoric rise of digital media.
Film and video have long been one of the most widely used forms of digital media. The film industry uses the most advanced technologies in the world, like digital editing, CGI and virtual reality, to deliver some of the most enthralling experiences in entertainment. The movie industry has also seen a huge boost in viewership because of streaming services, like Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu, which have made it possible for more people to access an endless library of movie content.
Video has become one of the most popular forms of media over the last decade due, in part, to its ability to be concise, attention-grabbing and entertaining. These mediums can also be vital towards the spread of information. In fact, 38% of US adults claim to get their information from sites like YouTube. Additionally, sites like Vimeo and Instagram are used by companies all over the world to promote their content and get millions of eyeballs on their brand.
Music’s evolution, from record player to streaming service, is one of the most important series of technological advancements for the digital media industry. Why? Because listeners can now stream music wherever and whenever they want. The flexibility of today’s music has made it one of the most globally-adored forms of digital media on earth. 2019 was a gigantic year for music and podcasts, which brought in more than one trillion digital streams worldwide. Apps like Spotify and Apple Music have made it almost too easy to access our favorite tunes wherever we go. These apps have given rise to a wider variety of music genres, points-of-views and digital information outlets. Today’s music digital media scene has given us on-demand access to all the music, content and information we need at the touch of a button.
Gaming has had a meteoric rise towards becoming one of the world’s most popular forms of digital media. Gaming is an important part of our culture because of its innate ability to entertain and be an inclusive form of digital media. Since more than two billion people engage with console, PC or mobile games each month, it’s no wonder why it’s becoming an important part of the digital media sector.
The video game industry is starting to look more like the movie industry, employing film veterans to craft some of the most stunning visuals and epic storylines out there today. These immersive and enthralling games make it fun for gamers to consume digital content. Meanwhile, video games, like Fortnite and League of Legends, have drawn in millions, if not billions, of players because of the social and competitive aspects of the games.
The gaming industry has also spawned new forms of digital media, mainly with streaming platforms and e-sports. E-sports has become one of the most watched sports leagues on the planet, with more viewers than the NBA finals or the MLB World Series, while video game streamers are seeing billions of hours of gameplay watched. Technological advancements in the gaming industry have made it one of the most exciting, entertaining and important industries of digital media.
Digital Media Jobs
Digital media’s popularity is spawning job opportunities across all facets of the sector. We are seeing a steady rise in jobs that are available in digital content writing & editing, content production, marketing and communications. Below are four popular job titles within the digital media sphere:
Digital Media Specialist
A digital media specialist develops content to use for multimedia platforms. These knowledgeable digital specialists have the skills to create content, special effects, animation, etc. for everything from websites to video games and even commercials. Most roles require a bachelor’s degree and a familiarity with software tools, like Dreamweaver or InDesign. Job growth for a digital media specialist is projected to grow by 4% over the next 8 years. Digital media specialists can expect a healthy annual salary of around $72,500.
A company’s content must be refreshing, engaging and informative in order to thrive in the digital world. That’s where a content manager comes in. Content managers, specifically for web content, oversee everything that appears on a website. They’re in charge of the voice, tone and message of all of the content that an audience sees. They also are charged with strategizing content calendars, increasing website traffic and ensuring that nothing but quality content is being written. Job growth for content managers is projected to grow by an impressive 13% through 2028. Content managers with 3-5 years of experience make about $58,000 a year.
Creative directors oversee the work of copywriters, artists, designers, photographers, and any other members of creative teams. A creative director’s main job is to ensure that the strategy and leadership they’re providing is leading to stunning visuals that help purposefully tell stories. Their thoughtful leadership and vision is the difference between a bad digital user experience and one that elicits loyalty and engagement with customers. A creative director’s salary currently stands at about $100,000, and the demand for creative directors is expected to rise by about 4.5% over the next 8 years.
Media planners are key to today’s fast-paced digital world. Media planners orchestrate the placement of marketing content into different digital mediums, like TV, search engines or podcasts, in order to amplify a campaign’s efforts. Media planners are the go-to people for strategizing content, executing campaigns across various outlets, then reporting on the return-on-investment (ROI) of the campaign. An experienced media planner can make upwards of $62,000 a year. This demand for media planners is expected to explode over the next six years with a projected job growth of 23%.