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In-Depth Jobs


Issue no 42, 15-21 January 2022

Changing Media Landscape and Emerging Opportunities in Digital Media

Dr. Rajesh Kumar

Media and entertainment is one of the fastest growing industries globally. The sector has come a long way from print and electronic to the digital media and plays a pivotal role in building the socio-political, economic and cultural fabric of any country. The media and entertainment industry has had tremendous impact on the lives of people and its definition and scope keeps on changing due to the fast and ever changing information and communication technologies scenario.

Media and entertainment industry has witnessed a sea change in the era of digital revolution. The advent of digital technology has widened the horizons and has integrated all forms of media and entertainment into one platform. And it is reaching every nook and corner of the country at a very fast pace. According to a report published by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with Ernst & Young Private Limited (EY), the Indian media and entertainment (M&E) sector was estimated at Rs 1.73 trillion in 2021 which is projected to reach at Rs 2.23 trillion by 2023 due to digital penetration among users across geographies. The role of digital penetration depends on access to the internet which has had tremendous growth in India in recent years.

According to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Govt. of India, the total number of internet users in the country had reached 825.30 million at the end of March 2021. At present, India has the second largest internet users in the world after China according to Internet World Stats. It is pertinent to note that the Digital India Program launched by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India, has given a significant boost to digital media in India by providing digital infrastructure as a core utility for every citizen, governance and services on demand and digital empowerment of citizens.

Hence, the rapid growth of industry in the era of new information and communication technologies has raised the demand of skilled manpower that has paved the way for exponential job opportunities and career prospects in this sector. Traditionally, mass media assumes significant importance and offers a huge range of career opportunities that each willing career prospective can find an area to clench on. One can explore opportunities in reporting, editing, photography, videography, anchoring, production, designing, proof reading, desktop publishing and many more in print as well as electronic media. Apart from this, one can search job prospects in advertising, public relations, corporate communication, event management and marketing communication. Further, independent freelancer, blogger, citizen journalist, Youtuber and stand-alone mode of media operations have also received respected space now-a-days. However, in the era of digital transformation, all forms of media and entertainment have now shifted to digital platforms that have the features of instant publishing, linking, interactivity, multimedia, and archiving which gives upper hand to digital media over the traditional media. The entire process allows creators and consumers to become more interactive, participative, virtual, open and connected with communities.

WORKING MECHANISM OF DIGITAL MEDIA

Digital Media is an amalgamation of technology and content which essentially requires a pool of skilled professionals in diversified areas such as technical, artistic, analytical and production with an aim to provide the best user experience. The working mechanism of digital media is based on creation, consumption and sharing of content. Creation of content involves all kinds of text, audio, video, photographs, infographics, logo, caricature, animation etc., which is being consumed by the users who can also participate actively by posting comments, views and taking part in surveys etc.

 

Simultaneously the content may be accessed and shared through various virtual platforms that may reach millions of people located in diversified regions across the globe in a fraction of second. The entire process is very fast which essentially requires coordination among various teams that deals with artistic, technical, analytical and production work. The prime responsibility of all the teams is to ensure quick and fast updates with accuracy and credibility in order to provide information and entertainment. And it is essential to have required skills for integrated production, multiplatform delivery and multiskilled professionals for working in various digital platforms.

CAREER PROSPECTS IN DIGITAL MEDIA

Digital Media provides a plethora of career opportunities in the media and entertainment sector that has added new dimensions to the world of media which was earlier dominated by the conventional mediums of mass communication. One can choose a right career option among diversified areas and can groom his/her potential as per requirement of the digital landscape. However, it is imperative to learn digital media skills and continuously update it as per the needs of the fast and ever changing information and communication technologies scenario. Career prospects in the digital media landscape include:

 

Digital Journalist

Every medium of mass communication like print, radio, television and cinema has now transformed into digital platforms. Now-a-days, every newspaper, radio, television and stand-alone media has its own digital newsroom. Over the years, every medium has evolved its own writing, reporting and production pattern as per changing information and communication scenario, but they all have adhered to the basic principles, which is also applicable to digital newsrooms. However, the basic difference lies due to the nature of medium and accordingly types of language, words, length of the news and its presentation changes. In the digital newsrooms, various teams such as editorial, technology, design, photo, video, Social Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO) coordinate from creation to dissemination to sharing of content. And various job opportunities are available at the level of content writer, publisher, designer, photographer, producer, script writer, audio and video editor.

 

Social Media Manager/ Social Media Specialist

Social media has emerged as one of the specialized areas of communication and has the potential to reach out to a large number of users located in diversified regions. Now-a-days every corporate, multinational, public and private sector company showcases their brands/service through social media. Therefore, the demand for social media managers/social media specialists has increased. The role and responsibilities of a social media manager is to look after institutional interactions with the public through social media platforms. It includes analysis of engagement with the public, identifying their current trends and planning various online campaigns to build online communities.

 

Social Media Content Writer

With the advent of various social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, the requirement of social media content writers has also increased and their main responsibilities are to update social media pages, to respond to followers and to track user engagement. It is essential for social media content writers to have good command over writing, editing and publishing content that engages the audience and optimizes social media posts based on target audience behavior.

 

Digital Public Relations (PR) Specialist

Traditionally, the role of a Public Relations specialist is well defined. S/he creates and maintains a positive and favorable public image of an institution/organization by planning various public relations programs and engaging media for positive coverage. However, the role has been redefined in the digital era which includes creating digital public relations strategy, developing unique and creative approaches to journalists, bloggers and influencers and developing stories in order to build institutional image through various digital platforms.

 

Fact Checkers and Trainers

The rapid flow of information 24x7 through multiple platforms has witnessed some serious concerns. That is why it is important to identify the right information in the right context. Media and Information Literacy (MIL) initiatives are gaining momentum across the world. Many national and international agencies give emphasis on such programs to spread awareness regarding news and information and to inculcate creative and critical thinking skills among school children, journalism students, journalists and other groups of society. Many international bodies are joining hands with local agencies to outreach their projects. They need good trainers with prior media exposure who can effectively conduct training for the selected groups and in return professionals are getting good remuneration and recognition. In order to combat misinformation and disinformation, the need of Fact Checkers and Trainers are also in demand in various media institutions. Today, the media outlets are in need of such techsavvy youth, who can verify any information that comes in the form of text, images, audio and video. In fact, nowadays many Fact Checkers work independently and are running their own fact checking websites.

 

Web Designer and Developer

The creation of web design and development for digital platforms requires necessary technical skills and training that inculcates technical, creative and business capabilities. The need for web designers and developers has increased in both the news and non-news media industry. It provides bright job opportunities in digital marketing, graphic design, digital media publishing, web design and development, advertising, sales, and independent media production.

 

Social Media Influencer/ Blogger

A Social Media Influencer/ Blogger is a personality who has the ability to influence the decision- making process of the consumer because of his/her reputations and positions that s/he has earned through knowledge and expertise over the years. They use social networking sites or channels to publish their regular posts in which the audience pays attention in order to acquire knowledge from it. That helps the audience in making decisions. Many companies who launch various brands and services try to associate social media influencers in order to grab the attention of the audience towards a particular brand and service.

 

Digital Data Analyst/Analytics Specialist

The advent of digitization has made data collection and analysis much easier. And it is the current practice that every organization preserves the data digitally, which may be processed and analyzed for various purposes from various sources such as websites, mobile applications and social networking sites etc. Digital data analyst primarily deals with the collection, analysis and interpretation of digital data that provides a broad understanding about consumers’ behavior pattern, perception and attitude, which has utmost importance in organizational growth.

 

It is amply visible that the digital revolution has given a boost to the media and entertainment sector leading to the evolution of a plethora of career opportunities that have increased the demand for skilled manpower. Jobs in the digital media industries are diverse and interest specific which provide job satisfaction with rapid career growth and impressive pay packages. However, shortage of trained hands has always been a shortcoming. Hence, there is a huge need for skilled manpower produced through focused and rigorous academic training and education

 

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS & TRAINING

At present, India has more than 350 faculties offering media programs from certificate to doctoral level in central, state, deemed and private universities across the country with various nomenclatures such as journalism, mass communication, communication, advertising and public relations, corporate communication, convergent journalism etc. And every media program incorporates teaching and learning of various components of media and mass communication. Those include print, radio, television, cinema, advertising, public relations and digital media.

 

However, in recent years, the focus on digital media has grown because of the digital revolution and every media department is designing course curriculum with special emphasis on digital media skills that covers its various aspects. The teaching and learning involves theoretical as well as practical aspects of digital media in which industrial training or internship is an important aspect that provides hands-on training to the learners in various media and corporate houses. Further, the trend from generalization to specialization has also increased the demand for specialized programs in digital media. Some of the renowned institutions/ universities where one can understand theory and praxis of digital media are:-

 

  • Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi.
  • AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi.
  • Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad (MICA), Ahmedabad.
  • Department of Media & Communication Studies, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune.
  • School of Communication, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad.
  • Manipal Institute of Communication, Manipal Institute of Higher Education, Manipal.
  • Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Symbiosis University, Pune.
  • Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumba
  • Department of Media Studies, Christ University, Bangalore.
  • Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai.
  • Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bengaluru.
  • Manorama School of Communication, Kottayam.
  • Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University, New Delhi.

 

(The author is a Senior Assistant Professor & Coordinator, Department of Mass Communication, Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi. He can be reached at rajesh.kumar@cuj.ac.in. Views expressed are personal)