Musings on Media Shifts

I've been speculating lately on changes in media – what's hot, what's not, whats big, what to look for.  The following is a semi-structured look at industries, and relevance to geeky careers.

Anime is pretty much here to stay, and has moved online for the most part.  Not sure what kind of careers are out here except for the fields of technology (getting it out to people) and translation (obvious).  As anime distribution normalizes online, I can see companies tapping backlogs of untranslated anime to make a quick buck.

The anime style seems to be pretty much here to stay.

Animation seems to be reasonably accepted at least in NA culture.  It's got five to ten years before its no longer seen as being kids stuff/humor by a lot of the culture, but it's getting there.

The impressive use of CGI in films makes me think that's a good career area to look at.

This is an odd area, and I think it's best viewed as facing a lot of the challenges publishing is facing – how to distribute it faster, cheaper, better.  However the difference is that comics have had a variety of distribution methods (comics, webcomics, TBP, etc.), and the companies behind them – and those following in their footsteps – seem pretty savvy on multimedia.

I think the experimental print-on-demand comics, webcomics, etc. are one wave of the future – different income models are good, but also a person can start a comic series with little overhead and build an intimate following with less overhead.

As for Manga, much like anime, I see a chance for companies to dip into past publications and translate them – perhaps as freebies online to lure people in.

Publishing is really having a time.  I sit typing this in a bookstore, seeing copies of the same book (and not sure it's going to sell) and know it took a lot to print it and ship it.  There are ways to get textual and visual information on the internet, there is print on demand, etc.  People like books (and physical ones), but right now publishing is just a weird area.

It gets weirder when you consider possible income models and changing methods of implementation.  There's Twitterfic, there's interactive websites, etc.  Publishing for me is a big "I don't know" right now.  I vaguely feel social media elements may play into it, and there may be experiments with online and text distribution, but I honestly don't know.


Video distribution is big, Audio distribution has and is big, and this is an area where I see a lot of growth.  There's content to be had, there's people that want it, and there's all sorts of ways to distribute it.  Hulu, Joost, Podcasts, etc. – a lot going on.

Technically this is probably a good area to be – as long as you stay on top of the shifts.  As for content distribution, there's new opportunities that will probably pay off for producers in the long run – right now it's just confusing.  I can easily see more and more web/cast only shows evolving on shoestring budgets, forming more intimate relations (ala webcomics).

As I've stated before, video games are normalizing.  They're going mainstream, and I expect they're pretty much solid as an industry.  There are also huge markets and huge potentials with different demographics.

With video gaming, the problem is highly varied markets, changing technology, a lousy economy, and an industry still evolving.  Gaming has a lot of potential, from blockbusters to backfill, but adapting to all the challenges is maddening.  There's money to be had, but how to get it is the problem.

I see MMOs becoming more and more normal, until people casually discuss them.  MMOs connect to the social urge that's driven social media.

So a few theories of mine.  Let me know what you think!

– Steven Savage