Digital Takes the Jobs Lead in New Mainstream Media

Staffing at Internet-Media Businesses and Web-Search Portals Soars

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When it comes to jobs, digital is the new mainstream media. Consider this: U.S. employment at digital-media ventures is on track to pass employment in broadcast TV and in magazines by early 2012.

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Staffing at internet-media businesses and web-search portals has soared 32% -- adding 26,700 jobs -- since the recession officially ended in June 2009, according to Ad Age DataCenter's analysis of figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Over the same period, magazines cut 8,800 jobs. Staffing for broadcast TV (local TV stations and TV networks) fell by 400 jobs.

Internet-media ventures employed 110,300 people in the U.S. as of July 2011, closing in on magazines (115,300) and broadcast TV (117,700).

Employment in internet media passed cable-TV programming in December 2009 and radio in July 2010.

Newspapers (242,200 jobs) still make up the biggest sector for media employment. But newspapers have eliminated more than 100,000 jobs since 2007.

Figures here come from government classifications of employment based on the primary business activity at an establishment. For example, magazine job figures include staffers who work on a print magazine's digital offerings; broadcast TV includes staffers who work on TV websites.

The government's "internet publishing and broadcasting and web-search portals" classification consists of establishments that don't offer traditional (non-internet) content. Employment at these internet-centric media ventures finally is poised to pass the 2000 dot-com bubble peak (112,800).

Staffing in other media sectors is sharply below levels seen amid the ad boom of 2000: Newspapers are down 43%; magazines, -33%; radio, -22 %; broadcast TV, -13%; cable, -8%.

In the first seven months of 2011, traditional-media businesses cut 10,000 jobs. The only traditional sectors to add jobs year to date are cable (1,100 jobs) and magazines (500).

Over that same period in 2011, digital-media businesses added 13,900 U.S. jobs. Exhibit Z: Zynga, the fastest-growing Media 100 company.

Zynga, which generates real revenue selling virtual goods on its Facebook games, in the first seven months of 2011 added 1,060 jobs, up 71%.

At a time when others worry about recession and 9% unemployment, Zynga labors to find talent. Zynga noted in disclosures for its pending initial public offering: "We must expend significant resources to identify, hire, integrate, develop and motivate a large number of qualified employees."

It's a new game in media.

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