Pros and Cons of a Digital Television Producer Career
A digital television producer is a professional who coordinates business activities, manages administrative functions and uses computer technologies to develop visual content for TV productions and related projects. You can learn other pros and cons to being a digital television producer by reading below.
|Pros of Being a Digital Television Producer|
|High earning potential (2014 annual median salary was $69,100 for all producers)*|
|Opportunity to be creative*|
|Interesting work activities*|
|Cons of Being a Digital Television Producer|
|Long periods of unemployment may occur (particularly with traditional/non-technical producer roles)*|
|Extended and irregular work hours are common*|
|Outsourcing to other countries is a major concern for producers with a technical/multimedia work emphasis*|
|May work in harsh environments (e.g., bad weather at outdoor work site)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As a digital TV producer, you would have business/administrative responsibilities that are consistent with traditional (non-technical) producers and also technical duties that are consistent with multimedia artists. Your business responsibilities may involve time management, budgetary and fund-raising activities. Before production begins, you may also make decisions about written content, such as creating original storylines and serving in an editorial capacity.
Technical duties may center on developing or managing a production's visual components, such as graphics and layouts. You may also need to focus your attention on budgetary concerns and finances; this may involve finding investors, marketing the production and distribution.
Salary and Outlook Info
The most recent data from PayScale.com in 2012 revealed that the salary range for digital producers in the 10th-90th percentile is approximately $38,000-$94,000 per year. Consistent within that salary range, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the 2014 annual median salary for traditional producers, in general, was $69,100. The BLS also reported that producers would experience 3% employment growth from 2012-2022.
What Are the Career Requirements?
While no education is required to work as a producer, there are some degree programs that provide a blend of business/administrative and technical training for digital production in the TV/broadcast industry. Some of the degree titles include film and digital production, television and media production and digital video and media production. Business-related coursework in these programs may include topics in fundraising, scriptwriting and production management. Technical training may be covered through subjects in digital cinematography, digital FX, compositing and broadcast design. If you'd like to focus on the technical and creative side of producing, degree programs in creative writing, animation and multimedia design are available.
What Employers Are Looking for
In addition to educational training, employers are also looking for candidates with practical work experience. Communications skills, critical thinking abilities and flexibility are also desirable. The following job postings for this profession are from May 2012:
- A multi-service corporation in NY wants to hire a digital producer with a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience. At least five years of TV news production is required. Control room and digital media platform experience is also necessary. Knowledge of business and financial markets is preferred.
- A multimedia news publishing firm in CA is looking for a multimedia producer. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism or a related discipline. At least two years of professional experience in news writing, newscast producing or broadcast news is also required.
- A broadcast company in NY would like to hire a digital media producer with a bachelor's degree and 3-5 years of website or media company experience. You must have hands-on experience with HTML, Photoshop and related components. Excellent writing and editing skills are also required.
How to Stand out in the Field
Getting hands-on experience and training with multiple industry-related applications may help you stand out in the job market. This may be facilitated through internships, freelance work and supplemental college coursework. Also, by joining a trade association, you would have access to professional networking opportunities and current industry updates. The Producers Guild of America and the Digital Media Association are just a few of the many national associations that you may want to consider.
Alternative Career Paths
If you would like to work more in design without the inconsistency in work responsibilities that occur as a digital TV producer, then perhaps becoming an art director may be more favorable. Your work would primarily focus on developing the visual style and layouts of your projects. You will only need a bachelor's degree, and the 2011 median salary for art directors was about $81,000, according to the BLS. From 2010-2020, the predicted job rate for this profession is slower than the national average at nine percent.
If you would prefer concentrating on the business aspect of the industry in an upper level management position, then you may want to consider becoming a top executive. As a top executive, you would need extensive work experience and a minimum of a bachelor's degree. According to the BLS, the 2011 annual median salary for chief executives was about $167,000, and the projected employment rate for top executives is slower than the national average at five percent from 2010-2020.