What is the Digital Content Industry? Let’s Find Out


There is a line (I think) I read in a management book once; “If you can’t describe it, it doesn’t exist”. Ergo, if you can’t describe the Digital Content Industry in terms that are relevant to investors, government and other industries then to them, it doesn’t exist.

“What is the Digital Circle?” is a simple question to answer. Digital Circle is the representative body for the digital content industry in Northern Ireland.

The hard bit is in the answer. So: “What is the digital content industry?” It came up during the Internationalisation Group meeting and at least 3 other meetings in the last two weeks. So to answer that, this question needs to be asked: “What terms need to be used to make the answer relevant to the people who are asking the question?” And there is another question hanging around – “Who are the Digital Content Industry?” sometimes followed by “How can I contact them?”

We know how many members there are in this ning group. Matt and I know how many people are registered as members. (We can’t tell you who, by the way, because of Data Protection. When we collected members’ details, we didn’t ask if we could make those details public. But that’s a side issue we are about to fix.)

We are about to embark on a process to define what the Digital Content industry in Northern Ireland is in terms of

– Number of businesses
– Number of people working in those businesses
– (Broadly) what sectors
– (Broadly) what specialities.

Now, this is not a “proper” Industry Survey looking at Turnover and Impact on the Economy done by one of the Business Consultancies in silver and glass towers. It is a snapshot. Turnover and Economic Impact are the two BIG questions, the two most important questions but they probably need to be carried out by someone more qualified. That possibly will be part of the next phase.

That’s why I describe it as “the beginning of the process” because we will need to take the snapshot first.

The DC Steering Group believes that the industry is bigger than Northern Ireland business expects it to be. I believe the industry has a bigger impact on the economy that is generally thought.

But there remains the problem. If you can’t describe it – then it doesn’t exist.

There are all sorts of discussions going on about whether it should be called The Digital Content Industry, or The Digital Industry. It's a fascinating discussion coming your way soon. I have a particular interest – “What is ‘Content’?”

So the simple survey will be arriving with you soon.

Please spend the time to do it. It’s not a whim or a box-ticking exercise. If we do not describe who we are – we won’t exist and we won’t get our fair share.

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