Multimedia is content that uses a combination of different forms of content such as text, audio, images, animations, videos, and interactive content. Multimedia contrasts with media that use only rudimentary computer displays such as text or traditional forms of printed or hand-made material.

Multimedia can be recorded and played, displayed, interacted with or accessed by information from content processing devices, such as computer and electronic devices, but can also be part of a live performance. Multimedia devices are electronic devices used to store and play multimedia content. Multimedia differs from mixed media in the fine arts; for example, including audio, it has a wider reach. In the early years of multimedia, the term “rich media” was synonymous with interactive multimedia and “hypermedia” was an application of multimedia.


The term multimedia was coined by singer and artist Bob Goldstein (later “Bobb Goldsteinn”) to promote the opening in July 1966 of his show “LightWorks at L’Oursin” in Southampton, Long Island. [1] Goldstein may have been aware of an American artist named Dick Higgins, who had discussed a new approach to art making two years earlier called “intermedia”. [2]

On August 10, 1966, Variety’s Richard Albarino borrowed the terminology, reporting: “Brainchild of Bob-Bob (‘Washington Square’) Goldstein, the ‘Lightworks’ is the latest multi-media-visual-visual to debut as a fare disco. [3] Two years later, in 1968, the term “multimedia” was re-appropriated to describe the work of a political consultant, David Sawyer, the husband of Iris Sawyer, one of Goldstein’s producers at L ‘ Sea urchin.

In the forty years that followed, the word took on different meanings. In the late 1970s, the term referred to presentations consisting of timed multi-projector slideshows on an audio track. However, in the 1990s, “multimedia” took on its current meaning.

In the first edition of Multimedia: Making It Work, 1993, Tay Vaughan said, “Multimedia is a combination of text, graphic art, sound, animation, and video that is provided by computer. To control when and when these elements are delivered, it is an interactive multimedia: when you provide a structure of linked elements through which the user can navigate, the interactive multimedia becomes hypermedia. [4]

The German company Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache recognized the meaning and omnipresence of the word in the 1990s by awarding it the title of “Word of the Year” in 1995. [5] The Institute summarized its logic by stating that “[Multimedia] has become a central word in the wonderful world of new media”. [6]

In common usage, the term multimedia refers to a combination of electronically supplied media, including video, still images, audio and text, accessed interactively. Much of the content on the Web today fits into this definition as understood by millions of people. Some computers that were marketed in the 1990s were called “multimedia” computers because they incorporated a CD-ROM drive, which allowed the delivery of several hundred megabytes of video, image, and audio data. This era also saw an increase in the production of educational multimedia CD-ROMs.

The term “video”, if not exclusively used to describe motion photography, is ambiguous in multimedia terminology. Video is often used to describe the file format, delivery format, or presentation format instead of “footage” that is used to distinguish motion photography from “animation” from rendered motion imagery. Multiple forms of information content are often not considered modern forms of presentation such as audio or video. Similarly, unique forms of information content with unique methods of information processing (eg non-interactive audio) are often referred to as multimedia, perhaps to distinguish static media from active media. In the fine arts, for example, Leda Luss Luyken by ModulArt brings two key elements of music composition and cinema in the world of painting: the variation of a theme and the movement and within an image, which ModulArt an interactive multimedia form art. Performing arts can also be considered multimedia, since artists and props are multiple forms of content and media.


Multimedia presentations can be viewed by a person on stage, projected, transmitted or played locally with a media player. A broadcast can be a live or recorded multimedia presentation. The programs and recordings may be analog or digital electronic media technologies. Online digital media can be downloaded or broadcast. Streaming multimedia can be live or on demand.

Multimedia games and simulations can be used in a physical environment with special effects, with multiple users in an online network, or locally with an offline computer, game system or simulator.

The different formats of technological or digital multimedia may be intended to improve the user experience, for example to facilitate and accelerate the transfer of information. Or in the entertainment or the art, to transcend the daily experience.

Improved levels of interactivity are made possible by combining several forms of multimedia content. Online multimedia is becoming more object-oriented and data-driven, allowing applications with end-user collaborative innovation and customization across multiple forms of content over time. Examples of these range from multiple forms of content on websites such as photo galleries with images (images) and titles (updates), simulations whose coefficients, events, illustrations, animations or videos are modifiable. “Experience” to modify without reprogramming. In addition to seeing and hearing, haptic technology allows virtual objects to be felt.


Multimedia can be broadly divided into linear and non-linear categories:

  • Linear active content often progresses without any navigation control for the viewer, such as a movie presentation;
  • Non-linear uses interactivity to control progress like a video game or a self-paced computer training. Hypermedia is an example of nonlinear content.

Multimedia presentations can be live or recorded:

  • A recorded presentation can allow interactivity via a navigation system;
  • A live multimedia presentation can enable interactivity through interaction with the presenter or interpreter.


Multimedia finds application in a variety of areas including, but not limited to, advertising, art, education, entertainment, engineering, medicine, mathematics, business, scientific research and temporal space applications. Several examples are:


The creative industries use multimedia for a variety of purposes ranging from fine art, entertainment, commercial art, journalism, media and software services provided for one of the industries listed below. An individual multimedia designer can cover the spectrum throughout his career. The demands for their skills range from technical, to analytical, to creative.


Much of the old and new electronic media used by commercial artists and graphic artists is multimedia. Exciting presentations are used to attract and retain attention in advertising. Business-to-business and inter-office communications are often developed by creative services companies for advanced multimedia presentations beyond simple slide shows to sell ideas or conduct training. Commercial multimedia developers can be hired to design government services and non-profit service applications.


Multimedia is widely used in the entertainment industry, especially to develop special effects in movies and animations (VFX, 3D animation, etc.). Multimedia games are a popular hobby and are software available as a CD-ROM or online. Some video games also use multimedia features. Multimedia applications that allow users to actively participate instead of simply being passive recipients of information are called interactive multimedia. In the arts, there are multimedia artists, whose minds are able to mix techniques using different media that, in a way, integrate the interaction with the viewer. One of the most relevant could be Peter Greenaway who mixes cinema with opera and all kinds of digital media. Another approach involves creating multimedia that can be exhibited in a traditional arena of fine arts, such as an art gallery. Although multimedia display equipment can be volatile, the survivability of content is as strong as that of any traditional media. Digital recording equipment can be just as durable and infinitely reproducible with perfect copies every time. the survivability of the content is as strong as that of any traditional media. Digital recording equipment can be just as durable and infinitely reproducible with perfect copies every time. the survivability of the content is as strong as that of any traditional media. Digital recording equipment can be just as durable and infinitely reproducible with perfect copies every time.


In the field of education, multimedia is used to produce computer – based training courses (commonly known as CBT) and reference works such as encyclopedias and almanacs. A CBT allows the user to go through a series of presentations, texts on a particular subject and associated illustrations in various information formats. Edutainment is the combination of education with entertainment, especially multimedia entertainment.

The learning theory of the last decade has expanded considerably because of the introduction of multimedia. Several lines of research have evolved, for example cognitive load and multimedia learning.

From the Multimedia Learning Theory (MML), David Roberts has developed a practice of group conferencing using PowerPoint and based on the use of complete slide images with a reduction of visible text (all text can be placed in Power Point’s notes section). [7] The method has been applied and evaluated in 9 disciplines. In each experiment, student engagement and active learning were about 66% greater than those achieved with bullets, texts and speeches, which corroborates a series of theories presented by learning specialists. multimedia like Sweller and Mayer. [8] The idea of ​​media convergence is also becoming a major factor in education, especially in higher education.


Media companies around the world are trying to adopt this new phenomenon by implementing its practices in their work. While some have been slow to come forward, other major newspapers such as the New York Times, USA Today and the Washington Post set a precedent for positioning the newspaper industry in a globalized world.

The reports are not limited to traditional media. Independent journalists can use different new media to produce multimedia pieces for their reporting. It mobilizes the global audience and tells stories with technology, which develops new communication techniques for media producers and consumers. The Common Language Project, later renamed The Seattle Globalist, is an example of this type of multimedia journalism production.

Multimedia reporters who are mobile (usually traveling in a community with cameras, audio and video recorders, and laptops) are often referred to as mojos, mo bilo jo urnalist.


Software engineers can use multimedia in computer simulations for everything from entertainment to training like military or industrial training. Multimedia for software interfaces is often done as a collaboration between creative professionals and software engineers.


In mathematical and scientific research, multimedia is mainly used for modeling and simulation. For example, a scientist can look at a molecular model of a particular substance and manipulate it to arrive at a new substance. Representative research can be found in journals such as the Journal of Multimedia.


In medicine, doctors can be trained by looking at a virtual surgery or they can simulate how the human body is affected by diseases spread by viruses and bacteria and then develop techniques to prevent it. Multimedia applications such as virtual surgeries also help physicians get hands-on training.


In Europe, the reference organization for the multimedia industry is the European Convention of Multimedia Associations (EMMAC).

The scholarly lectures on multimedia include:

  • ACM Multimedia
  • IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo (ICME)