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.

Why Converge?

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.

MSNBC Website
MTV was one of the first tv networks to converge media

© Dana Mallard, dsm0380@aol.com