BY DR. VANEETA AGGARWAL

A varied lot of industries and find digital media skills to be extremely helpful. Such popularity of a relatively new development is due to how digital media merges the two worlds of creativity and tech. Therefore, it is little wonder that professionals find it easier to get jobs if they are duly trained in digital media. Digital media has assumed a proportion in our times that is almost all-encompassing. From websites, social media, video games and even advertisements, many aspects of our online world involve one or another form of digital media. Suppose a business can safely chart through digital media waters. In that case, they can make better, more informed strategic decisions regarding marketing and, even sometimes, core business activities.

What Is Digital Media?

By using the term “digital media,” people refer to content that has been encrypted or consumed through machine-readable platforms. The tech that powers such encryption or consumption is something people use the term for also. To break up the phrase, people can refer to numerical, usually binary digits as digital. On the other hand, the word “media” refers to a specific information transmission method. Finally, people use the whole term to refer to sharing information through digital screens or devices. Thus, all media, irrespective of format created, distributed, viewed, or stored on an electronic device, can be digital media.

Now that we have digital media covered let’s acquaint you with an even newer term- the new normal. Almost anyone connected with business and other organizational aspects like HR has heard of the word; it is still helpful to know precisely what it is.

What then is the New Normal?

The world before COVID-19 and after it are hardly the same. Things have changed, and as people resume their everyday routines after the lockdown, the wholly changed set of practices and habits are what is together referred to as the “new normal.”

The new normal has affected many fundamental aspects of society and our way of life:

  • How We Interact With One Another
  • The Even Bigger Rise in Telehealth
  • How We Evaluate Personal Hygiene

However, a section of people does indeed feel as if everything will return to the pre-pandemic way of life after some time. Things will only get better, but COVID-19 has brought about changes too fundamental to revert to an earlier state for the foreseeable future.

Consumers Delight, Providers Steep Path Ahead

When we talk about media, the conversation is incomplete without the mention of the entertainment industry. The various competitors trying to tap the digital entertainment content market are significant in number. And that’s good because it gives consumers, particularly US consumers, to pick from various free and paid solutions. According to a particular survey, most respondents enjoy paid video streaming and are frequent or occasional players of video games. Additionally, a good number of them also pay for streaming music. The interesting thing to note here is that they also pay for TV-based entertainment packages and subscriptions.

The plethora of options available to entertainment lovers makes observing and noting their favourite activity valuable and gives us crucial insights. The survey we were discussing listed 16 entertainment activities. The most popular entertainment is still watching TV and movies from the comfort of the respondent’s home. The 57% majority of respondents list the two in their top 3 favourite entertainment activities. For the demographic Gen X, Millennials and Boomers, it occupied the top slot in their preferences. However, things were a bit for Generation Zers’. For this particular demographic, playing games was the favourite entertainment activity (26%), music (14%), net surfing (12%) and enjoying engagement with social media (11%). It is interesting to note how a mere 10% of Zers professed that watching TV and movies at home was their favourite entertainment activity.

Suppose the entertainment preferences don’t change over time. In that case, that could mean a tremendous upheaval in the entire entertainment industry, especially in video entertainment. The number of digital media options is already significant. The money you need to pay up for them is already totalling a considerable number. Naturally, more and more consumers are turning to ad-supported digital media entertainment options to get the best of both worlds. Lack of high-quality content and unsatisfactory user experience is also causing many consumers to switch their platform of choice. Due to the pandemic, many media production firms found it hard to produce entertainment content.

Everybody Loves Social But Many Don’t Trust It Anymore

Social media has evolved into something far more functional than merely being a platform to connect and share stuff. It has become one of the commonest gateways to consume media-related content, including games, video and the tricky subject of news on social media. Social media commands such a power in our times that international governments are trying their bit to “tame the beast,” if we may say that. However, awareness about the potential value of their data has made social media users question the intentions of the platforms. To salvage the situation, social media platform firms must take trust-building steps, show responsibility, and have some regulation mechanism in place.

Almost every one of all ages uses social media, but their online social activities vary significantly as per age. Millennials and Zers use social media to catch up on music than anything else. For the Generation X demographic, the most popular online activity is consuming news. A significant 34% of US adults use social media news as a source of information.

Use Advertisement to Personally Engage with Consumers

Social media and entertainment both depend to a great extent on advertising dollars that support these popular mediums. They spend their money obviously to get new consumers by catching their attention, eventually boosting their ROI or Return on Investment. After the emergence of COVID-19, the revenue generated from advertising went down in 2020. In contrast, digital advertisement spending surged, and its profits were similarly at an all-time high. Again, digital advertising grew phenomenally on almost all the popular social media platforms. Hand in hand, ad-supported streaming services also continued to become even more popular with consumers, mainly after COVID-19 emerged.

Advertising will need to get its act together as it continues its forays into digital advertising regarding consumers’ personalization and privacy preferences. These are not at all rigid, and different media and consumer segments show different choices. For example, a significant number of consumers are only too happy with ads provided the content is free. At the same time, the other side is averse to ads in any of their forms. So, knowing the exact, specific sentiments of consumer segments is essential.

It is evident that, like all other spheres of life, we will feel the new normal’s effects in digital media. One exciting thing that we must add to the pointers we mentioned above is how transmedia or mixed-media is gaining popularity. Both artists and writers and their fans and followers are discovering and loving its possibilities. As artists went back to the studios with the only social interaction online, experimentation was inevitable.

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