Although a relatively new sector to the Irish economy, the digital media industry is one of the most recent success stories to emerge in Ireland.
Drawing on the best from the computer industry, the telecommunications industry and the creative/content industries, the digital media industry is fast developing the interactive products and services that will drive the new information economy in Ireland.
Creative digital media is the industry of the future and refers to new audio, visual and textual information sources, which form the foundations of the new services of our Information Society.
It has emerged as a new economic sector with tremendous enterprise and creative potential for Ireland. It is at the forefront of the knowledge based economy, and has been accorded a 'high priority' status by the Irish government. There is a large and growing demand for high-level skills in digital media and eBusiness.
The Digital Hub is Ireland's flagship project in the digital media sector. The Digital Hub is a community of people - artists, researchers, educators, technologists, entrepreneurs and consumers - all working together to create innovative and successful digital media products and services which support their future.
Located in one of the oldest parts of Dublin's historic cityscape, the Liberties, The Digital Hub was set up over five years ago to support the development of digital media enterprises with the potential to move the economy up the technological value chain.
Over the next decade, the Digital Hub initiative will create a mixed-use development, consisting of enterprise, residential, retail, learning and civic space.
"What we have done in the liberties is we've created the most modern marketplace in the oldest part of Dublin" explains Philip Flynn, CEO of the Digital Hub Development Agency. The DHDA is the state agency established by the Irish Government with responsibility for the management of The Digital Hub.
According to Mr Flynn, there are now one hundred companies located in the Digital Hub, employing 870 people. "In just five years, we have grown from zero companies to one hundred. There are 870 people directly employed in the Hub and approximately 330 contractors, bringing the total number employed by the Hub to 1,200."
Supported by several enterprise driven State agencies and third level institutions the Hub business model provides state-of-the-art start up facilities for early stage, fast growth companies and established operators.
Dozens of companies, a combination of established companies and start up operations, are clustered at the Hub, providing services in a wide range of activities including animation, multimedia production, games, internet and mobile media technologies.
Tenants at the Digital Hub include Amazon, Calico Media, iFoods, France Telecom and animation company Kavaleer Productions which includes the BBC amongst its clients and Havok.
By 2012, it is expected that the Digital Hub will employ more than 3,000 digital media workers. "We have plans to develop an additional six acres of city centre property", says MR Flynn. "The Digital Age is with us and there has been a huge growth in internet-related businesses. More than 50 per cent of the population is now connected to the internet", he added.
Despite the downturn, studies project robust growth in Digital Media, according to the Digital Hub Development Agency. In addition, it is envisaged that 20 per cent of jobs in the ICT sector will require digital media training by 2012.
Irish universities and colleges have quickly responded to the demand for digital media skills. A number of key colleges offer an impressive range of Digital Media courses capable of meeting skills needs including:
For further information on The Digital Hub, you can visit the website at www.thedigitalhub.com