Tutorial 6 Convergence

Nightengale and Dwyer’s ‘New Media Worlds? Challenges for convergence’ central argument claims fundamental differences between the internet and traditional media are generating problems for the process of convergence. The text presents the ideology that how these hurdles are handled by the traditional media, who are faced with competing against the internet which is able to provide rich information with an extremely wide reach, will determine what the media of the next generation will become.

 In order to further explore these theories the key concepts deconstruction and disintermediation and internetisation and mediatisation and are employed.

The term deconstruction used to describe the process when an entire business must be pulled apart and reconstructed.  Disintermediation is defined as when a competitor causes an existing business to re segment thereby changing the market landscape. The second meaning highlights competitors who place themself in direct competition with an existing business which is presented with no market re segmenting options and may have to close down. Through Nightengale and Dwyer these concepts are placed in the context of broadcast TV. Faced with the competition of the internet and a loss of audience and consequently advertisers broadcast media are unable to just re segment, they are forced to entirely change. These financial obstacles are the first hurdle in the process of convergence.

Internetisation explores the gradual process currently being undertaken by traditional media attempting to resemble the internet. Clear examples of this progression are the new formatting techniques of several news channels such as CNN and BBC modified to resemble the opening page of a website. They incorporate side bars and moving headlines to create this aesthetic. In further attempts to merge closer to the internet Channel V offers interactive TV on particular days allowing viewers to choose what they watch. Despite traditional media’s attempts to regain their lost audience this has emerged as a major obstacle of convergence. Content; unlike the internet traditional media is unable to have content with both rich information and far reach instead having to choose one or the other. Mediatisation is the opposite concept.  The text exemplifies this process through the use of an example Google is offering to pay the creators of the most popular YouTube clips. Despite, this being a good idea it is likely to favour larger corporation style media causing discord between the traditional style of institutional media and the internet style of user created media.

The process of convergence has reached a crucial point as media rapidly moves forward. Traditional media forms have made obvious attempts to merge into the internet world for example initiating websites corresponding to popular TV shows. Although these sights allow further contact with the show, they are limited in their content and the amount of profit they are able to generate. Broadcast media and newspapers have become less profitable. They are unable to gain enough revenue through internet sites to remain the large institutions that they are. This illustrates the burden and obstacles of convergence directly aligning with the core argument of the text. As the internet and individual sites begin to take over questions begin to arise. What will happen; will internet sites make enough money to conduct research, are those people held to the same standard and accountability as journalists. These are further obstacles found in the process of convergence.

 

From Nightengale and Dwyer (Eds) ‘New Media Worlds’ Oxford, 2007, p 19 – 36

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