Archive for the ‘convergence’ Category


April 28, 2010

Without actually discussing American Idol I do want to discuss the Jenkins reading because I want to talk about the commercial side of convergence.  The overall theme I got from the reading was a power struggle between the producers and the consumers.  When you look at the structure of reality television shows with audience participation there is an allusion of control given to the audience, but the reality is one step forward four steps back.

The audience has always had an opinion, but as long as they continue viewing you can see how networks and producers would ignore the value of that.  Enter cable television, the ability to view almost any show online as well as the ability to post your own creations online.  All of a sudden with numbers dropping you can see how there is now value in that opinion, Jenkins’s puts it nicely in saying “the need to quantify desire.”  So through convergence, the input of a public voting system, all of a sudden the public feel they are being heard and making an instant difference.

I feel like Triple J are an organization that over time has truly embraced convergence in order to maintain their audience and have them form “ a long term relationship with the brand.”  Traditional radio, in comparison with new technology, is a rather limited medium as it’s only audio and it’s set in real time.  Triple J realises that they can’t maintain the same loyalty through just one medium so they now have Triple J T.V, JMag, as well as podcasts, blogs, websites, online streaming and a heavy facebook and twitter following.  Essentially if you want to take part in Triple J there is no excuse not too, their brand is set up to cater for the zappers, casuals and loyals.  The important part of this convergence is that all of the above mentioned formats are linked.  Twitter lets people know what will be played next for that feel of exclusivity, the magazine announced competitions but you need to listen to the radio to win them and while you can always catch up on anything you have missed by listening to the blogs you can only participate through talk back or win competitions if you are listening live.

Triple J and reality television alike have used convergence to give the audience choice and a sense of power.  In the same way that in reality television the choices made make very little difference to overall outcome, Triple J’s multiple formats all still direct the listener back to the traditional radio if they want the full experience.  What we can see here is that in a commercial world convergence gives the allusion of power to the audience but inevitably it is just another strategy for the big guys to gain more power.


The Economics of information

April 27, 2010

After reading this weeks two readings on ‘convergance’, i find myself sitting between two ideals or trains of thought. Firstly, i wholheartedly agree that medias (am i allowed to pluralise?) are converging, whether or not for better or for for worse. However secondly the main feeling i took away from the readings, and especially the second, H. Jenkins “Buying into American Idol: How we are being sold on Reality Television”, is really how much of our information, our entertainment, is dictated by the economic interests of the networks/papers/websites.

This has surely always been the case, and i realise it was naive to assume the television content was run for the good of the people and in the best interests, however the fathoming of how far marketers go to attract our consumer interest i believe is astounding. Jenkin’s cites American Idol as his case study, and instead of the network (FOX in this instance) pitching its program to the audience, by having the audience as the program it affectively targeted the advertisers.

Essentially television stations work off the basis of advertisement dollars, and in order to gain greater advertisement dollars, they must run programs that are successful and popular. However Jenkin’s american idol study revealed to me personally that the marketers are looking for so much more than simply how many people watch, but rather:

  • who is watching
  • why are they watching
  • will they buy products if they feel “loyal” to the show?

I for one feel that most of the time i watch tv the ads are simply a time to carry out small tasks or simply tune out. And whilst i’d say this is the viewpoint of the majority (lol we all like to think we are normal), the marketers in U.S reality shows are digging deeper and deeper into viewer habits, converging not only ads and tv shows across medias but across consumers.

Take this video for instance, which is targeted at other businesses in helping them define the audience. I for one find it just a little creepy all the information they want to know so we can buy their product:

Both articles dealt with the convergance of media, and also the battle between old and new medias, and also introduced us to the new wonderful terms such as ‘internetisation’. They survey how media is increasingly leaning towards conveniance on the behalf of the user, yet in the same instance also developing more targeted advertisement and marketing campaigns. So as Virginia Nightingale pointed out, they are both “positive and negative implications” – which are of course present with all new technology; i guess we just have to work out for ourselves how we can best control it to our benefit, and not the advertisers.

Although at the end of the day, i guess we are all waiting for our 15 minutes of fame (including me haha) even if it is nowadays the zappers ‘3 seconds’ of fame …

Media Haves and Have-Nots

April 26, 2010

In Nightengale’s article, New Media Worlds? Challenges for Convergence, of the two arguments presented in the article, between media digitization and convergence versus internetisation and mediatisation I would have to say I identify with Fortunati’s approach of internetisation and mediatisation. The first argument, presented by Evans and Wurster suggests that firms must make compromises in order to adapt to the ever-changing world of media. Fortunati on the other hand suggests that as media evolves it is becoming more unified, allowing greater diversification, Fortunati continues to suggest that media has opened up many new opportunities for firms to access their audiences and reach consumers. Media growth is viewed not as a burden on firms (although many companies are slow to change so maybe it is slightly a burden) but rather as an opportunity for growth and improvements.

Additionally, I found Nightengale’s point regarding media haves and have-nots to be really interesting and tie in well with other things we have discussed throughout the semester. As media continues to evolve with technology, the gap is growing greatly between those who are media savvy and those who are not, whether or not it is by choice. In a prior media class that I took we talked about Web 2.0, which ties in with what Nightengale is talking about. In Web 2.0 users have a much greater say in what content in online, they are able to customize their media and influence producers. Rather than consumers watching what programs are on TV because that is the only option they have, consumers now dictate what they watch, when and where. And not only can they watch a television program at a different time of the day, they can now also make their own content and put it on websites such as YouTube or BlogSpot to share with the world. Consumers are no longer reliant on media producers to get their media fix- they can get it anywhere they want.

We are now encouraged to be our own media producers- that is after all what we are doing currently as we post these blogs online. However, Nightengale argues that this is leading to greater discrepancies in the media world, widening the gap between those who participate and those who do not, or cannot, creating a media literate and illiterate society. As media continues to evolve, creating greater opportunities for companies to reach their audiences in creative new ways, it is also creating disparities between the media haves and have-nots. In countries where technology is fairly advanced, this gap may exist more by choice as some people chose not to have televisions, mobile phones, etc. However in other countries this gap is growing by a lack of technology, resources, and funding. This will greatly impact information sharing- or the lack thereof- and largely effect the ability of these people to stay caught up with their international counterparts. I leave you with this: as media develops and consumers become more involved in the content production, will those who are unable to interact be subject to media poverty? What will this mean as our world continues to globalize and what will be the effect on relations between those who are media- devolved and those where are subject to media illiteracy?

New and improved- for better or worse?

April 25, 2010

The idea of convergence is assessed in the Jenkins article “Buying into American Idol”. The argument articulated is that “emerging discourse of affective economics has both positive and negative implications”; i.e. that media conglomerates direct consumer knowledge for their own benefits but at the same time this knowledge allows consumers a “collective bargaining structure” that permits them to be shown and use the media in which they favour most.

This makes some sense when you take a look at the reality shows like American Idol. Though a lot of us (myself included) may complain about the stupidity and obvious product placement of these programs, the numbers of people tuning in don’t lie so these shows are given a number of series for the producers and associated advertisers to cash in on. I must admit they I have even tuned in to shows like Big Brother (I am ashamed of it too). I think that these shows allow us to see ourselves in a better light when we see the actions of these “reality stars” and as such makes these shows more popular to boost our own self-esteem. And then when you look at programs like Idol we find ourselves connecting emotionally to the participants, finding those we like and willing them to go as far as we can get them to go, in a sense living through them. Does this mean by tuning in to these reality programs we are losing our own sense of reality? Or is it just us escaping our own lives for those 30-60 minutes?

Here is the recognisable picture most of us know of the guy crying over the media attacks on Britney Spears on you tube. It is great in showing just how much media and its associated identities can impact on an individuals everyday life. 

Jenkins goes on to say that people are changing and controlling the amount and flow of media into their household as a result of changing technology. Like many of us the computer has evolved into our television as well as we can access programs within a desired schedule- just like we read when “my time” was explained. My argument, however, is: do we really have more control? Has convergence allowed a greater space in which media affect and inevitably control our everyday life?