A career as a media researcher opens a window into how television, radio, movies and the Internet help the public make decisions. Many companies need media researchers to explore the best use of new communication opportunities, especially online.
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Media researchers find information and ideas for television, radio, movies and Internet products. They develop ideas for new programs and find appropriate audiences and media for those programs. They conduct research to find information for those programs and check for copyrights and permissions to use information and images. A typical day may involve scanning news sources for trends, fine-tuning a proposal for a new program or reviewing ratings data to find out the typical age or gender of a show's audience.
Other media researchers analyse various media to determine the best marketing and advertising venues for advertisers. A typical day for these researchers may involve meeting with the advertisers to find out what audience they want to attract, comparing ratings data to find out which shows that audience is watching and contacting the show's staff for their help in drawing that audience.
Still others work at universities and research centres to discover trends in media development. These researchers conduct surveys, compile data and write scholarly reports on their findings.
Media research positions usually require at least a bachelor's degree in marketing, advertising, mass communications, journalism, public relations or a related field. During their coursework, students in these fields will learn about writing, editing, research methods, production etc. Some positions require a master's degree.
Salaries vary depending on education, experience, duties and type of company. the median salary for market research analysts (similar to media researchers) is £38,233, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With more experience and education, media researchers may advance to senior status in their department or company, coordinating the efforts of several media workers to develop comprehensive advertising strategies. They may obtain jobs with the government or a university to conduct studies on media trends or to teach courses on media issues. They may choose to open their own consulting firm. Otherwise, they may move on to other positions in advertising, broadcasting, publishing or research analysis.
Market and media research is expected to be faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau notes that the best opportunities will go to those with master's or doctorate degrees in marketing or related fields and who have strong skills in quantitative analysis.
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