Carving Out Your Own Space In Digital Media Distribution As An Independent

Digital media professionals working at computer on project

The world of digital media distribution is a a fast-paced environment. Not only do digital media professionals need to adapt to changes in technology and the storage of digital media content, but also format changes themselves.

High definition (or HD) has long been the standard for all content, but quality demands from producers in response to the appreciation from audiences has led to more creation. Because of these demands, higher definition levels like UHD (Ultra High Definition), 4K and 8K can be found in production.

Production companies often have to answer all of these questions, including how much the added definition will cost. Companies are competing with newer companies as these innovations grow and expand.

For those looking to start out in the field of digital media distribution ventures, it may seem like an uphill climb. Cost is a key determining factor, especially if you have goals of starting your own company. Despite this, it is not impossible to keep pace, and depends on the kind of digital media that your company wants to create.

The Rise of Digital Media Distribution

Digital media distribution rose as VHS tapes, optical discs and other physical media were losing their appeal in the early 2000’s. Music saw this shift first, as retailers saw their CD sales plummet due to the rise of illegal downloads on the Internet. These compressed files, mostly in MP3 format, led to lower distribution and coordination costs.

For video, media distribution was primarily done in HDCAM, Betacam and Blu-Ray DVD, but companies and mediahouses were beginning to rely on early digital-based systems that created files with Avid Media and Final Cut Pro.

How Disaster Inspired Change in Digital Media

Some in the industry will point to the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that ravaged the Fukushima and Miyagi offices in Japan in 2011. As those natural disasters heavily impacted businesses across the globe, the media industry was in panic. As Sony and other companies’ workflows and productions were disrupted with damage, factories also experienced power outages and reductions. This situation led to the rise of the tapeless workflow.

This method of content creation and distribution was actually more popular, and as a result people were able to consume media faster than real time. This route also allows editors to work with material from different sources. For example, editors were now able to work with raw data from the cameras. Storage also proved to be easier as files could be stored on hard drives and servers.

How Audio and Media Industries Differ

With music content digital workflows are the norm, however in production analog workflows are still embraced. Many still want to rely on the organic elements and find the right note using the physical knobs. Still, the digital format allows for more creativity by those who utilize it thanks to a variety of programs and applications.

Post-Production for Media

When it gets down to the post-production, the digital format allows for ease in sound mixing, mastering and overdubbing. These tasks can be handled also with a good amount of expertise gained from time spent in music engineering courses. Like video digital media content, content that’s musical can also be stored on servers and hard drives. Producers and facilities also use cloud-based storage to archive and transfer files for post-production.

Video Games and the Media Industry

The video game industry also benefits from this growth, with many developers creating games for niche audiences. With game services like Steam, more creators control the entire process from pre-production to digital sales.

Landing a Job in Digital Media Distribution

As the industry changes, the media industry requires training to stay afloat with the demands of production and distribution. While there are veterans with backgrounds in analog media distribution still present, the industry continues to shift to digital. Because of these changes, it is wise to seek education to prepare for these roles. You may be able to reach your goals by attending digital media schools and colleges that have video and audio production classes.

With the right education, there are a handful of careers to choose from in digital media. Some of the positions available in digital media include:

  • Runner
  • Web content manager
  • Multimedia Specialist
  • Digital Media Coordinator
  • Producer
  • Executive Producer

The average salary varies as well – for example, according to recent estimates, a digital media coordinator can see an annual salary of $44,981. This changes with the role, as analysts can make over $50,000. Post-production supervisors working with audio and video make a lot as well, with salaries reported in the $60,000 range. Finding success in the industry could lead to financial success – as long as you start out with a solid game plan.

Creating An Independent Digital Media Distribution Entity

As mentioned before, the post-secondary path can help you to carve out your own space in the media distribution world. As you prepare to graduate, how can you keep on track with your goals? The next step involves finding your content niche and a marketing strategy that showcases your skills.

Marketing your Digital Services

The biggest piece of advice is to avoid a general approach to your content marketing. Keep an open mind and you may find that it opens doors to working with various businesses. Going this route also affords you greater flexibility. Many of these positions are work-from-home or flexible, but it does depend on the company and clients.

Furthermore, you’ll want to showcase your various products and services. Create a selection of services that you’ll offer to prospective clients that’s suitable for all budget levels, and consider offering a package that the client can create themselves as an entryway to do more work with your independent entity.

Technological advances combined with a high level of training about all forms of digital media and the business behind it is a vital formula for those looking to establish themselves within the industry on an independent basis. With the right strategy and a positive work ethic, standing out among the pack in this regard will be a career path that can be thrilling beyond words.

Want to Learn More?

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about digital media distribution interest you? The Institute of Production and Recording (IPR) Digital Video and Media Production program allows students to participate in hands-on exercises and real-world shows to apply the knowledge they have learned throughout the program.

Contact us today to learn more about starting a rewarding career in Digital Video and Media Production.