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The Future of Media: Concepts and Trends for Communication Professionals

Communication, whether it’s personal communication with friends, family, and colleagues, or a large brand communicating to its consumer base, is more diverse than ever before. The mainstream introduction of the internet in the early 1990s brought new and exciting communication methods, including using digital media to share your message more quickly and across greater distances. Social media channels and streaming video services became popular platforms for delivery and discussion of digital content; smartphones enabled brands to reach consumers regardless of their location. These advances in technology have impacted traditional communication professions, paving the way for digital media as a major influence on businesses and brands in creating relationships with their customers. The result is new job titles and a new landscape for what communication looks like.

The future of media is continuing to turn to digital media for entertainment, news, and business, which translates to major opportunities for businesses. According to the Pew Research Center, the digital media industry continues to grow, with about 93% of American adults consuming some of their news online. As the audience for online media grows, so do the number of platforms, and more consumers than ever flock to sources born on the web. For businesses, maintaining an online presence that allows them to effectively communicate with their audience is critical.

As specialists with a communication degree look to the future, there are key areas of growth to watch that are likely to give shape to the communication careers of the future. Social media managers, digital media managers, content strategists, and communication specialists offer different focuses on digital communication. The expectations of these positions vary and may include creating social media and content strategies, as well as executing on those strategies through social media messages, blog posts, landing pages, video, and more. In addition, customer interactions, relationship management, and data analysis are important skills within this field.

Future Media Concepts Driving the Job Market

Digital media dominates how Americans receive and share information. As such, there are key influences taking shape that are likely to impact the future of the field. Innovation is the new norm when it comes to media, and that trend isn’t likely to change as we look to future media concepts. Social media, digital advertising, and increased access to the internet through various devices have all shaped trends in media.

Digital media continues to evolve as new tools emerge, consumers make new demands, and the quality and accessibility of the technologies improve. The rise of mobile video, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the more refined use of data analytics will all influence the future of digital media.

Mobile Video Marketing

According to a report by Multichannel News, by 2025 half of those under the age of 32 who watch television will not subscribe to a traditional cable TV service, preferring streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Already, 6 out of 10 consumers prefer to watch online video platforms over traditional television, and many of those consumers are using their mobile devices to do so. This indicates that the future of media, particularly video, requires a mobile-first strategy. This goes beyond advertising on popular streaming channels and requires businesses to evaluate how they appear in the marketplace. With videos now accessed across platforms, having mobile friendly, accessible video content is key.

It’s a move that makes sense — Google analytics indicate that YouTube alone reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any broadcast or cable channel, and many consumers use their mobile devices to access video. Mobile internet usage surpassed desktop in 2016 and has continued every year since. This is good news for marketers since Google stats indicate that YouTube mobile users are two times more likely to pay close attention while watching YouTube on their mobile phones compared to television viewers. All that attention equals a huge opportunity for marketers to connect with their customer base — and not just through traditional ads. Video blogs (vlogs), live video, and virtual reality video all play a role here.

Data Analytics and Public Relations

Public relations has gotten in on the big data action and has incorporated insights gleaned from such data to improve PR tactics. Analytics from online advertising measure more than the success of a specific advertising campaign. They can also detect shifts in the campaign. Data collected can help marketers refine the ad’s message, determine which channels to use, and gain insight into who exactly is listening.

Through data analysis, professionals in PR are creating more effective outreach campaigns. The large amounts of data available today allow communication experts to predict news cycles and interest, discover which outlets cover their industry most, and uncover potential relationships with media channels, other organizations, and influencers. While some of the metrics associated with public relations may seem intangible, data is giving shape to the future of media concepts in PR through its ability to make sense of all the noise.

Continued Investment in VR and AR

Through specific software and hardware, VR recreates environments, while AR enhances physical images. These two industries, which have grown up side by side, are seeing new emphasis placed on them in recent years, and each is growing quickly.

The virtual reality industry in the U.S. alone will likely grow to about $19 billion by 2020 (from $2.2 billion in 2017), according to accumulated statistics from Statista. Revenue from AR, a more accessible platform, will likely grow three times as much as VR. Many experts envision these technologies will allow customers to have immersive experiences with their products before they buy them, helping to convert ad dollars to actual customers. These technologies can also help print media integrate with digital, and use real-time data to deliver powerful, personalized experiences to customers.

Preparing for the Future of Digital Media

As students and current industry professionals consider the future of media, it’s clear that mobile video marketing can provide big rewards, the study of data will provide key insights and make business more competitive, and the continued exploration of emerging technologies like VR and AR could yield huge returns.

As you consider your own future in media, discover how an online communication degree can prepare you for the exciting innovations to come in the world of media. With an increasing need for digitally inclined professionals, an understanding of emerging and social media platforms, data analytics, visual communication and content creation are typical in the study of communication.

These trends mark a shift in how we consume media and how companies interact with consumers. If you’re excited by the prospect of leveraging new, cutting-edge technology to reach a young, tech-savvy audience, consider an online degree in communication from Maryville University. You’ll emerge prepared for the modern world of marketing and ready to make an impact. Apply today and begin your digital media journey.


Entrepreneur, “Five Video Marketing Trends You Should Follow in 2019”

Forbes, “How PR Can (And Should) be More Data Driven”

Forbes, “How Technology is Changing Communication in the Workplace”

Multichannel News, “Half of Viewers Under 32 Won’t Pay for TV by 2025”

Pew Research Center, Digital News Fact Sheet

Pew Research Center, “Key Trends in Social and Digital News Media”

Statista, Augmented Reality (AR) Statistics and Facts

Statista, Virtual Reality (VR) Statistics and Facts

Think with Google, “The Latest Video Trends: Where Your Audience is Watching”

Think with Google, “The Latest YouTube Stats on When, Where, and What People Watch”


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