Media and Entertainment Overview
The media and entertainment sector is a big favourite with graduates, particularly those from arts and humanities backgrounds. Every year, hordes head to the industry attracted by glitz and glamour, not realising the actual work is far removed from rose-tinted visions. The sector is hard work, hugely competitive and badly paid. Many journalists, for example, put in similar hours to investment bankers and accountants without any of the material compensation. Newly qualified reporters working on local newspapers are lucky to earn 14,000 pounds a year, after at least three years at university and normally a period of time studying for a postgraduate diploma in journalism. To reach the heady heights of a broadsheet correspondent, an Oxbridge education, or equivalent, is often required as well as contacts, pluckiness and a good amount of luck.
All too often, success depends on who you know, or indeed, who you get to know. This is partially because of the industry’s size and the fact that networking is all-important. The sector, including film and television production, journalism, book and magazine publishing, digital publishing and web design, advertising and PR, accounts for the majority of the 56.5 billion pounds earned by the UK’s creative industries.
The easiest sub-sectors to find employment in are advertising and business-to- business writing. The B2B sector is increasingly prominent, exhibiting growth of 35 percent between 2003 - 2006 according to the Periodicals Publishers Association. The market is now worth around 23 billion pounds and is primarily based in London, although there are smaller outposts in Manchester and Birmingham. Pay levels are higher than local journalism, with people normally starting on 17,000-24,000 pounds, but this often includes London weighting.
Along with most industries, media and entertainment had a tough year during 2007 amid global financial turmoil. Exposure to the slowing economy saw earnings pressured as consumers were squeezed. Traditional media companies also took a big hit on advertising revenues and audience figures as the internet became an increasingly popular conduit for information. National newspapers, for example, have had to revamp their online presence as the internet has increasingly progressively devalued news as a commodity. As a result of the tough conditions consolidation has been rife, with many struggling companies taken over. The value of mergers and acquisitions in the sector hit a record high in 2007 and the number of completed deals was also up to 75, according to figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Undoubtedly, the biggest and most talked about deal of 2008 was Canadian group Thomson’s purchase of financial news provider Reuters, for 8.7 billion pounds, a deal sealed in April 2008.