Thanks to the development of technology, today, we testimony the development of new media, which is the change process of the digital computer (Manovich, 2002). Manovich (2002) states when cinema was appeared in our life hundred years ago, people totally realize the importance of the new media revolution and it was also the possibility that new media became available to our life. He also argues that these days, web sites, computer games, digital images and more new media objects witness individuals have entered a new media age.
With the new media innovation, traditional media and new media collided in many times (Lawson-Borders, 2006). Lawson-Borders (2006) believes that convergence is as a possible field that to use computers and the internet to deliver multimedia contents when collaboration happens between print and broadcast. In addition, media convergence is an inevitable result of the development of media. Media convergence is important because it can enrich media content, increase media authenticity and produce better journalism (Zhang, 2008).
This essay will discuss the importance of media convergence in the new media age. Firstly the essay will explore the background of new media and media convergence. Then two examples of media convergence will be illustrated to show the importance of media convergence. After that, some opposite aspects will also be mentioned. The definition of new media has changed dramatically. The most popular identification of new media is that use computer to demonstrate and illustrate everything, such as web sites, E-book and so on (Manovich, 2002).
Manovich claims that new media quite distinguish from the production. He said that computing and media technologies were two parted progress, but when they converge, they may represent what the new media is. The five key differences contents between old and new media is numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability and transcoding (Manovich, 2002). There are several reasons why new media emerged to people’s life. Firstly, Manovich (2002) maintains that the coming of information society makes the development of media industry not only so fast, but also very urgent.
Our society has never liked nowadays that is full of desire to information which have incredible amount, clearly and multifarious classification and the transmission speed even in seconds. Furthermore, Manovich (2002) states that with the Internet as a representative of new and high technology, especially the development of information technology provides the possibility to the development and reform of the media industry. Even in a quiet part, it is the development of this technology to promote the progress of the media industry and the revolution (Manovich, 2002).
The conception of media convergence was defined in several ways. But it was first proposed clearly by Professor Paul at the University of Massachusetts. He said that media convergence means various media present a development trend that is multi-function integration (Paul, 1983). Media convergence was also defined by Nachison, who was the director of American Press Institution’s media center. He said”the strategic, operational, product and cultural union of print, audio, video and interactive digital information services and organizations” (Nachison, 2002).
Lawson-Borders (2006) states that with the development of media technology, media organizations will further to unite and the media convergence has a big impact for individuals that people may see this phenomenon everywhere. Lawson-Borders also believes that when the traditional media face to the pressure of competition in the new media age, the market constantly being invaded. On such occasion, the traditional media must explore new business models, make the best of its own advantages and integrate with emerging media in a multi-level and diverse way.
Thus, they could better to possess media market (Lawson-Border, 2006). Zhang (2008) argues that in the development of media emergence, technical background, consumer background and industry background jointly improve and restrict the media convergence in both width and depth. It seems that media convergence brings individuals numerous advantages in the new media age. ‘IPTV’ is one of the examples to show the importance of media convergence. IPTV was defined as an emerging technology, which uses the Internet Protocol (IP) to transfer digital video content (Held, 2007).
Held (2007) maintains that because the only delivery mechanism of IPTV is the Internet Protocol, IPTV could receive different types of content both from the Internet and personal IP-based nets. People may use IPTV to watch diversity programs,”from music videos to television shows, full feature movies, rock concerts, and a variety of special events, such as boxing matches, football games, or even Broadway musicals. “(Held, 2007:2) Held (2007) claims that installing a personal network, individuals could see different television contents via IPTV, including some potential activities such as download a movie or subscribe a television service.
The advantage of using IPTV is that one could use on demand business to choose their favorite TV programs. For example, people could watch the famous fashion show Victororia’s Secret via IPTV and there is no time limitation (Held, 2007). Held (2007) also states that the traditional TV is unidirectional broadcasting pattern, which greatly limits interaction between the television audience and television service providers, also limits the personalization and promptness of program.
In addition, IPTV spread the world via the Internet and the audience also all over the world, but digital TV is limited in cable television in the locality. It is true that IPTV brings numerous merits to people’s life. As an integration product of television and network , IPTV has made individual’s life more convenient, people may use it at anytime and anywhere to enjoy colorful TV content. Also the emergence of IPTV has proved that media convergence has vital significance in the new media age.
Another example to prove the importance of media convergence is an integration of the BBC and new media. BBC is a very famous British public service broadcaster and it is also the largest broadcaster in the world (Collins and Purnell, 1996). Ten years ago, the BBC began to explore the digital living space of the media convergence and their own development problems (Raboy, 2008). Raboy (2008) argues that the media convergence of the BBC has three kinds of way. The first one is BBC launched network platform (Raboy, 2008).
He said that in 1991, the BBC researchers registered domain name of the BBC on the Internet. In 1998, the BBC Online emerged, it transformed into a “portal” website and provided a large number of program related background materials and extensibility reports to users. In 2007, BBC iPlayer came into the individual’s life, it provided about 1. 5 million online radio and television programs for the majority of Internet users (Raboy, 2008). Furthermore, Raboy (2008) states that BBC expanded mobile platform which the user may use the streaming media via the connection of
WiFi and use the iPhone and iPod touch to install iplayer. In addition, the BBC provided digital interactive TV service in 2008, the audience may use the TV button to choose the digital service function (Raboy, 2008). He believes this TV service mainly provides audio, video, pictures and text form about latest news information, education, entertainment content such as live Wimbledon, formula car, BBC outdoor concerts, the national election, political activities, and iPlayer Internet service.
It seems that the media convergence of the BBC makes itself has a broader development space in the new media age, not only limited to traditional media. The media convergence of BBC affected people’s life in a large extent. Individuals not only through the radio and television form to obtain the news, but also through the network, mobile phone to get the latest information and watch TV programs. The media convergence of BBC also proved the importance of media convergence in the new media age. While some scholars speak highly of media convergence, it is also not necessary in new media age.
It seems that media convergence could not alter individual’s lifestyle in some kind of degree. Hockly (2011) argues that for old generations, they contact to computers later in life. Thus, they do not feel very comfortable reading everything on the computer screen. They would rather according to the traditional lifestyle to print off an email or online article. Besides, he also claims that for some younger generations, they may adept at using computers but they need to learn more sophisticated IT skills.
It seems that not all individuals adapt to the media integration product and change their ways of life. From what has been discussed above, it is obviously concluded that media convergence is really important in the new media age. With the innovation of technology, people could not live without new media in today’s society. New media and traditional media collision not only reflects the media develops to a certain stage of the inevitable result, but also give us a more colorful life in today’s society.
The example of IPTV and media convergence of the BBC has proved that media convergence brings numerous advantages for individuals. Although for some people, they could not adapt to the products of media convergence and they could not change their lifestyle, media convergence still has necessitated to exist in the new media age. In the future, there will be more media convergence production available for our life, and the prospective of media convergence will be better.