What is Media Convergence?
The term "media convergence" may
not be as familiar as it should be. In today's information age,
we are all surrounded by examples of converged media. Collaborations
between consumer online services and broadcast media, like MSNBC,
have brought the Internet to television and vice versa. However,
the implications of this trend go far beyond just repurposing the
same material for different mediums. Convergence will eventually
lead to the fusion of all forms of media, resulting in the creation
of an entirely new medium. Today, it is already happening-between
television, radio, print and the Internet. The state of media convergence
is always evolving, but its best application likely will be with
computers, utilizing the endless capabilities of the Internet.
How is Convergence being done?
The most obvious form of media convergence
is the mega-meld between companies like Microsoft and NBC (mentioned
above.) This collaboration and others like it (CNNSI) just scratch
the surface of convergence's potential. Even before the advent of
MTV in 1981, which combined elements of radio and television, companies
were repurposing the same material for different mediums. A truer
form of convergence is emerging at the local level. Television stations,
radio stations and print publications within a market are working
together to create websites that incorporate the advantages of each
medium. A single story on a web page can be augmented with video
clips, audio clips, relevant graphics and even links to related
stories. Converged media sites can be a one-stop source for all
aspects of a news story or event. National newspapers such as the
New York Times and Washington Post have joined the
trend, partnering with ABC and NBC respectively. Check the Examples
page for an overview of a couple local converged media sites.
Television, radio and print media have been
bitter rivals for decades, with the Internet recently joining the
battle. Besides an effort to add consumer service, these traditional
enemies have combined for many reasons. Most importantly, convergence
will allow media outlets to trim the bottom line. It will also increase
the visibility of each organization to the public, a form of advertising.
Ultimately, it is hoped that collaboration will give more credibility
to all companies involved. A more detailed discussion of these factors
can be found on the Reasons page.