Skip main navigation

Explore: The media industry

We take a look at what the media industry is, how COVID-19 has impacted it and outline some media jobs as well as how to get into them.

Fl672 Explore Media Industry

The media industry is vast, large, and ever-growing, with a wide variety of different roles available. Media is an incredibly popular sector at the minute, and an extremely interesting area to work in.

From a classic newspaper to your Facebook homepage, it’s safe to say that media is all around us. In this article, we are going to explore the global media industry and take a look at different media jobs along with their salaries and the skills needed to get into them.

The global media industry

Let’s start by taking a look at what is meant by the media industry. New forms of media are constantly emerging, and with technology readily available all over the world, it is more relevant than ever. 

What is media? 

Firstly, let’s find out what media itself is. Media can be defined as a tool or communication outlet that is used to store and deliver information to people.

The media industry encompasses all businesses that allow information to be shared. The way that this information is shared varies massively, with some examples of media including radio, television, newspapers, social media, video games, film and music. 

In fact, even this blog post you’re reading now is a form of media! Media can be split into two categories: traditional and digital media.

Traditional media is any form of mass communication that occurred before the introduction of the internet, e.g radio, newspapers, television and billboards. Traditional media is often referred to as old media.

Digital media is any form of media introduced after the internet that uses an electronic device for distribution. It is quite a broad term, and encompasses media types such as social media, podcasts, online games, blogs and YouTube. Digital media is often referred to as new media. 

How big is the industry? 

The media industry is a very broad industry, with a lot of subcategories, as we mentioned above. The industry is constantly advancing, so it’s safe to say that the already large industry will continue to grow. The entertainment and media market is estimated to be worth 2.1 trillion US dollars in 2021, and is expected to grow to 2.4 trillion US dollars by the year 2024.

In fact, the film and TV industry alone made 100 billion US dollars in 2019. With the media playing such an important role in our daily lives, it comes as no surprise that the industry is thriving. 

As a lot of us use the internet for work, socialising and entertainment, it can be difficult to even imagine a world without internet access. The average internet user spends 2 hours 41 minutes browsing social media each day, and Gen Z spend a huge amount of 4 hours 30 minutes a day browsing social media.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the media industry? 

Along with the pandemic came a series of lockdowns across the world, with people stuck inside with lots of time on their hands to explore the media. In 2020, the average viewing time of audio-visual content increased by 47 minutes each day, and the UK’s public service broadcasters saw some of their highest ever TV viewing shares for five years.

Use of social media increased throughout the pandemic too, with TikTok reaching 2 billion downloads just eight months after reaching its first billion in 2019. Due to the pandemic, the world is embracing digital media now more than ever. 

People all around the world have moved onto digital platforms for work meetings and collaborative work as a result of the pandemic, and many have begun remote working as well as hybrid working

Because of this shift in the way we work, many companies are acknowledging the benefits of technology and remote working, and it seems as though this way of working is here to stay for a lot of companies.

Thankfully, the majority of media jobs can be carried out remotely, so those in the industry were mostly able to carry out their work from home. With media continuing to rise during the pandemic, jobs in the media industry seem stable.

The impact of COVID-19 on the film industry

Sadly, the global box office saw its lowest revenue since 2005, making a mere 12 billion dollars in comparison to 2019 when the global revenue came in at 42.3 billion. This is massively due to the fact that cinemas were unable to operate in a lot of places due to the virus, and so films did not bring in as much revenue as they normally would.

Although the global box office took a huge hit, film subscription services such as Netflix and Prime Video saw a rise during the pandemic, with video streaming app revenue jumping from 18.8 billion in 2019 to 24.1 billion in 2020 within the US alone.

As well as subscriptions to pre-existing streaming services rising, the long-awaited Disney plus was released during the peak of the pandemic, and this saw a large number of subscriptions. Streaming services are extremely popular alternatives to normal television and film watching. 

What kinds of media jobs are there in the industry?

With so many different areas of media to get involved in, there is a wide range of opportunities within the media industry. Media jobs are renowned for being creative and exciting, and some examples include:

Video editor

This area is becoming increasingly popular in recent years, with the prominence of YouTube and vlogging rising. Video editing is more than just an interesting hobby, it makes for a very rewarding career. 

As a video editor, you will use software such as Adobe Premiere Pro or iMovie to manage camera footage, dialogue, graphics and effects. You can specialise in areas such as film, television or advertisements.

Social media manager

Social media is a huge part of our everyday lives, with new forms of online communication emerging constantly. Social media gives users the opportunity to share their own content, stay on top of trends and engage with hundreds of thousands of other users. 

Being a social media manager means that you’ll be planning and creating content for various social media platforms (the platforms will vary depending on the company you work for), and it is an extremely creative and interesting role.

UX designer

This creative career is all about user experience, UX designers work on websites and apps to ensure that they are aesthetically pleasing and user friendly. As a UX designer you will be directly involved in the design of these digital platforms using design software, though the type of website or app will vary depending on the company.

If a role in UX design interests you, check out our ExpertTrack which will guide you through the UX design fundamentals.

Digital marketing specialist

The role of a digital marketing specialist is to promote or market a brand or product via digital or online efforts. This is a broad role, and can be broken down into different sections of digital marketing: search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC), email marketing,content marketing and more.

Within this role you’ll have to create and work on marketing strategies and campaigns. If you’re interested in a job within this area, check out our amazing digital marketing course.

Graphic designer

The role of a graphic designer is to create visual concepts such as infographics and logos using computer software to do so. Graphic design is the perfect combination of artistic skill and tech knowledge, it requires a creative mindset, and is great for those who are artistically inclined.

Production designer

If film and television are your preferred forms of media, perhaps a role in production design will be well suited to you. In this appealing role, you will be taking part in the film production process by working alongside other art departments and directors to create the world/setting of the film you’re working on. This involves working on the script, lighting and composition.

Video game designer

This is an extremely fun and creative career choice – as a video game designer you’ll be tasked with the creation of core features for video games such as concepts and designs. This often includes the characters within the game, storylines, settings and sound for the game. It’s all about making ideas come to life, and that makes it extremely rewarding.

How do salaries compare?

When seeking out a new career, one of the major determining factors is the salary scale. The average media salary in the UK is £30,970, but let’s take a look at some of the average annual salaries for some media jobs within a few countries:

UK USAAustraliaCanada
Video editor£24,741$48,868$55,106$45,838
Social media manager£25,364$52,298$62,685$46,520
UX designer£32,384$74,819$74,158$61,190
Digital marketing specialist£26,248$50,380$65,401$50,857
Graphic designer£23,281$46,553$54,778$44,963
Production designer£24,500$49,230$54,500$48,531
Video game designer£29,188$66,391$75,987$53,730

These are all average salaries taken from Payscale, but it’s important to note that salary will vary greatly depending on what company you work for and how much experience you have. 

What skills do I need to enter the industry?

Seeing as the media industry is quite broad, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what skills you need unless you’re discussing a particular role. However, there are a range of soft skills that can be beneficial to all areas of the media industry.


A lot of media jobs require creative thinking as there are a lot of visual and aesthetic elements to this work. Media is often intended to entertain, and so creative elements are always important to integrate into your work. 


Media jobs involve a lot of collaboration; different teams will work together in order to create something or solve a problem. Effective communication and the ability to work closely with one another is absolutely essential to a role within this industry.

Problem solving

Problem solving goes hand in hand with creative jobs, and it is another important skill for working in this industry. These roles involve a lot of creating which means trial and error, and an interest in solving issues or problems is very beneficial.

By creating content you’ll be providing a solution to something, whether that be to entertain or inform, you should be well versed in solving problems.

Strong work ethic

Media is quite a competitive industry seeing as the jobs are very desirable, so committing to your work and showing a strong work ethic is crucial. You will be more likely to get hired, promoted and invited to opportunities within your role if you show a strong work ethic.

Tech knowledge

Knowledge of tech is also a very important skill to have when working in media, a lot of these roles require the use of technology to create and distribute various content. There are programmes and software specific to each role so depending on which path you choose, it will be beneficial to learn the relevant software. 

For example, if you’d like to get into video editing then you’ll need to understand how video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro works, and if you’re getting into graphic design then you’ll need to learn how to use Photoshop etc. 

Why choose a career in media?

As we’ve mentioned, jobs in media are often creatively inclined, which is one of the most appealing factors. These jobs are perfect for those who are really interested in their chosen media genre, as passion goes a long way.  

Jobs in media are often sought out by those who are interested in that area as a hobby, and then that passion is turned into a career. Many people list film and video games as some of their main hobbies, so it’s understandable that they would be interested in contributing to exciting projects such as these in their work.

By working in this industry, you’ll get the chance to work on a variety of projects which will keep your work interesting and give you opportunities to try new things. Jobs in media are anything but repetitive, which is one of the reasons it’s such an exciting area to work in.

As we mentioned earlier, the value of the media industry is constantly growing, and with this will come new job opportunities to take advantage of. If you’re looking for a rewarding career in a booming industry then look no further.

How to get started in the media industry 

So, how can you jump into the exciting world of media? A lot of the time creative careers reward experience/knowledge, and there are many chances to climb the career ladder. 

We suggest that you get experience in your chosen area if possible, as this will really boost your CV and make you stand out amongst other applicants. For the more creative jobs like graphic design and UX design, a portfolio is an extremely powerful tool for finding media jobs. 

As well as working on a portfolio to showcase your skills, applying for work experience is another great way to get involved in the media industry. This is especially relevant to those who wish to work in film as it’s very competitive and experience goes a long way. Reach out to companies you’d like to work for and ask if you can get some free work experience.

Another great way to get started in the media industry is to upskill, and utilise some of the online resources available to improve your media skills. We’ve linked to many useful courses throughout this article, they are all worth checking out to improve your knowledge and learn relevant skills.

Final thoughts

There are many different career paths within the industry, and it’s safe to say that in this digital age, the industry will only continue to grow. We hope that this article has equipped you with the knowledge to seek out a job within the media industry. 

If you’re keen to boost your creativity and prepare for any of these amazing media roles, check out some of our amazing creative courses.

Related stories on FutureLearn

FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now