Convergence in Media can be defined as the “realm of possibilities when co-operation occurs between print and broadcast for delivery of multimedia content through use of computers and the internet. ” (Gordon, 2003). The definition of convergence has undergone various changes and adaptations in context of media over the past decade. Per say, the term is elusive and vague.
Some other definitions of Convergence in Media are: According to Missouri Group, Convergence is defined as the practice of sharing and cross promoting content from a variety of media, some interactive, through news room collaborations and partnerships. On the other hand, in 2001, Seib suggested that Convergence involves marrying the slick format of television to the almost infinite information providing capacity of the internet. The schools of thoughts, opinion leaders, and industry experts have been dealing with this buzz word for a while now, and the reactions to this have been across extremes.
While some see the future in convergence, others view it as a mess. However, one common concern amongst all media professionals across the world is to understand the effects of convergence in media. This paper tries to understand the various need-gaps and challenges which exist in the measurement of a convergent media; it also looks at some identified methodologies and finally explores some other schools of thoughts on the very definition of Convergence.
2 LITERATURE REVIEW:
INTEGRATING NEW MEDIA AND OLD MEDIA: SEVEN OBSERVATIONS OF CONVERGENCE AS A STRATEGY FOR BEST PRACTICES IN MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS – BY GRACIE LAWSON-BORDERS, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY, DALLAS, U. S. A
This paper tries to establish that the primary goal of convergence in media is to integrate content across media platforms, so that the declining shares of users as a single entity can be pulled together as a joint entity. The paper explores the concept of convergence through both academic and process oriented approach.
The paper defines convergence through a convergence definition model, which is as follows: According to this paper, the debate revolves around, whether the media industry is in the content business or in the business of providing complimentary channels to deliver that content. Therefore, the author claims the convergence is essentially intersection of content delivery through different platforms; however, the central driving factor in all this is how the juxtaposition of content (text, audio, video, etc. ) is placed across mediums.
The authors then talk about “diffusion of innovation”, where they identify the ability of an organization to delve into newer technologies (in this case, the internet broadly), while still maintaining the strengths of the existing mediums is the real key to success. 3 Further, the authors discuss Convergence as a process, i. e. it is not a static but a continuum in which organizations need to select an appropriate medium or a mix of some mediums to achieve their goals for effective media coverage, essentially a process through which content is managed across platforms.
This leads to the seven observations of convergence, which should be used by media organizations to form best practices used as strategies to operationalize convergence. These seven observations are:
Described as the discussion of editors and managers to strategize content across business units. The authors take example of Tampa Tribune and Chicago Tribune. In both the places, the heads usually meet over budgetary discussions, how content should be placed across mediums. What should be shared, what should be integrated? Where the maximum convergence is seen, etc.
It also covers ‘content sharing’ policies across mediums
Defined as the incorporation of convergence as a part of its mission and philosophy. Essentially weaving in convergence from economic and financial aspects to research and skill development. Again, Authors take example of Tampa Tribune and Dallas News. In both cases, the physical locality of the print, television and online medium in close proximity, enabling heads to put heads together and come up with strategic guidelines
Entails staff from different departments and various business units, working together to develop and execute ideas for content.
The idea is to bring the concept of convergence into the work culture of the organization. In this case, the employees under different mediums attend meetings of other mediums to be on the same page as the rest of the organization.
The dawn of convergence means additional responsibilities and increased expectations on knowledge and skills from the employees. Therefore, media managers need to consider how to acknowledge and compensate for the additional skills which are required of the employees.
Therefore, convergence will truly take place, if the employees understand that while it is fine to have expertise in one particular medium. It is a sure premium to have a knowledge base of other mediums as well.
5. Cultural Changes:
The authors here recognize that the journalists across different mediums, print, TV, online, etc. are used to and accustomed to their own set of cultures, their own languages and way of working. Therefore, for an effective operationalization of convergence it is important the media providers invest time in training and educating all 4 involved stakeholders about the way of functioning of others.
So, as to achieve comfort and smooth operations.
The authors bring to attention the differences in the very definition of ‘competition’ since the inclusion of print media, i. e. the competition increases in terms of geographic scope and time. a. Geographic Scope: Being on the internet means that one is no more competing with the local area print of television provider, and then you are on the worldwide web. Therefore, organizations are trying to practice convergence by tie-ups with other business subsidiaries. b. Time: The competition to catch the audiences, when they have very little time is massive.
Traditional media fights for this space. Through convergence with new media, the 24 hr operations of internet can bring audience’s attention, when they are not so busy.
Customer according to the authors is the central authority for convergence. Traditionally, the customer could be distinguished on the basis of maybe his need for a printed medium over television viewing audiences. However, with the other mediums such as the internet, the very debate goes for a fix, i. e. people who read newspapers online then are readers or viewers of content.
Therefore, the internet has created users as well as producers of content. In the era of convergence, the audiences decide when and what they select to access. This further dictates that customers have diverse interests and utilize media in different ways. They key for a media organization therefore, is to figure out how to use this convergence effectively to reach maximum number of customers This brings the authors to conclude that these elements are all central to media companies as they seek to position themselves against competition in the converged environment they exist in.
The converged operation of the Chicago Tribune, by use of different mediums to promote the first one is cited as a successful utilization of convergence. Similarly, the Wall Street Journal’s Interactive Model serves as a benchmark for the inclusion of paid subscription, specialized content and a well targeted market segment. Therefore, there is more pressure on media companies to produce innovative and specialized content, provide more interactivity and have a larger dynamic presence across electronic media to succeed. The authors recognize limitations in terms of how the convergence and its future implications will unfold. Since, convergence is still in the process of evolution; its effects outside the internal operations also pose an important question, which needs to be addressed THE CONVERGENCE CONTINUUM: A MODEL FOR STUDYING COLLABORATION BETWEEN MEDIA NEWSROOMS LARRY DAILEY LORI DEMO MARY SPILLMAN Convergence as a concept still remains vague in its absolute meaning for the media professionals.
However, two broad schools of thoughts have emerged as the buzzword around convergence increases. The first school of thought focuses on convergence as plainly a technological advancement, with the newly available digital tools; While, the other views convergence as a completely new method of storytelling. However, this confusion around the basic definition of convergence has not stopped media owners across mediums to develop what is now known as converged content, forming alliances, and partnerships.
These relationships have become more and more attractive and lucrative, as the media owners realize how different mediums speak to different audiences and hence through a converged approach a much larger customer base can be targeted. Still though, the two main problems which face ‘Convergence’ are: A lack of common, behavior based definition of Convergence A lack of a common instrument for measuring converged efforts This paper attempts to study convergence in various media research related methods.
The Convergence Continuum Model The paper assumes that convergence is defined by some level of interaction and cooperation among media partners. The operations are usually cross-media, whether under the same banner or 6 through alliances. The Continuum identifies 5 main activities among news organizations. These 5C’s are: Cross promotion, Cloning, Coo petition, Content Sharing and Full Convergence. The author explains them as follows: 1. Cross Promotion: Defined as the process of using words or other visual elements to promote content, which is produced by the partner, by appearing in the partners’ medium.
E. g. When a television newscaster asks the viewers to read a story in the newspaper, or when a newspaper advertised the logo of the television partner 2. Cloning: Defined as the unedited (almost) repetition of the partners’ product across mediums. E. g. Content from a newspaper is republished on the web portal 3. Coo petition: Defined as the point where partners cooperate by sharing content or some selected stories, however, at the same time compete and produce original content. E. g.
When a newspaper reporter appears on a newscast as an expert to discuss a story or a broadcaster allows a print photographer to ride on the station helicopter to cover breaking news 4. Content Sharing: Defined as the joint development of special projects by partners through regular meetings and exchange of ideas. E. g. Election coverage or investigative work 5. Convergence (Full): Defined as the level at which the partners have a shared assignment and the story is developed by team members who use the strength of each media to best tell the story.
E. g. a multimedia project that contains in-depth text for print and Web, still photos and video, audio, graphics, searchable databases and other interactive elements Therefore, The Convergence Continuum has implications for both researchers and practitioners as a tool for the study, understanding, and implementation of cross-media efforts because it provides a heuristic for the way in which two traditionally separate, competitive, and culturally different 7 media can share work or even create a third media operation.
It also can help extend research in diffusion of innovation as used in media, agricultural, and health studies. Gate keeping: In context of the continuum, the authors feel that it can help media researchers’ measure relative strength of different forces which determine whether news item passes from one gate to another, and reaches the new consumer. Newspapers and Television journalists brings different values to their jobs. In convergence continuum, it can be analyzed how a conceptual framework for studying how individual gatekeepers’ values influence what passes through the gates of a cross-media partnership.
For true convergence to happen, the partners would need to agree on news values, and also to understand at which point the true convergence happens, and what it means for the audiences. In the new cross media partnerships, it is important to evaluate the number of gatekeepers involved in different media. One school of thought suggests, just one gate keeper at the television level; while the other suggests multiple gatekeepers for newspapers. Continuum allows study into how the different ways in which newspapers, television, and digital media shape, display, and time news informs which items make their way through the gate to the audience.
As per organizational constraints, the news gathering which happens at lower levels is expected to be done by separate staff, while news reporting at higher level is convergent. Therefore, it is important to study which set of organizational norms affect what the audience sees. Also, in context of the continuum, certain negative forces such as lack of good visual aids can prevent a story to pass through the television gate. Identifying the strength and conflict of various forces becomes a critical factor in cross media partnerships in determining which stories will pass through to the audience.
Diffusion of Innovation: Diffusion of innovation defines how a new idea, practice of object is communicated over time through different channels. The convergence continuum can be especially useful in identifying how media organizations move through the stages as they adopt one behavior to another from one level of continuum to another. 8 The Convergence Continuum is a dynamic model that defines convergence as a series of behaviorbased activities that illustrate the interaction and cooperation levels among staff members at newspapers, television stations and Web organizations with editorial partnerships.
PATHWAYS TO MEASURING CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR IN AN AGE OF MEDIA CONVERGENCE STACEY LYNN KOERNER & DAVID ERNST, INTERACTIVE MEDIA NORTH AMERICA HENRY JENKINS & ALEX CHISHOLM, MIT COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES
Media Convergence or the age of Interactive Media is under speculation by almost all media professionals. Its’ been a while since scholars have been talking about the need to find standard mechanisms for media evaluation to be increasingly insufficient for establishing value.
However, these metrics have essentially been developed to tally the impact of broadcast signals and their effect on consumption within the mass market. The age of Interactive media and the related stories woven around it have been talking about the new way of measuring audience behavior and a more accountable media pattern emerging. However various trends such as the comparison between viewership of the Super bowl in the US, with the favorite advertisements on the net during the game bring forth a much more complex view of what interactive convergent media presents to us.
In this paper, the authors try to understand the current issues related to advertising in the interactive media, critique the currently existing systems and also try and find out a method for a better aggregation of audience behavior in convergent media. The authors bring forth an interesting point which is while convergence is happening on almost all levels across mediums, corporations, and internal functioning of media companies; the audience is getting more and more fractionalized. As content is becoming more innovative and niche, the quantity of audiences per program are decreasing.
The trend is moving towards the computer becoming more like television and vice versa. Overall, the audience has much more control over what kind of a media experience he or she desires. This is movement towards an age of 9 collaboration where the lines between consumer and producers are blurring. Another important point to note is that, while audiences have more control, advertisers also have a much more focused consumer group to target at their disposal. Therefore, Digital technology is not only driving change in media delivery but is forcing us to reconsider our research models and the methods we employ to understand audience behavior.
Media companies thus need to take much more focused steps towards new methods to measure audiences that help predict ‘individual behavior’, potentially through greater use of statistical modeling, database analysis, ethnographic investigation, and fusion techniques, moving away from a strict and sole reliance on standard survey methods as a means to understanding effectiveness and assigning value. Research methods must therefore be developed to assess the value of consumer interaction as a new aspect of communication how it is related to media exposure (i. . , impression) and how it, in turn, demonstrates communication effectiveness (i. e. , expression). Interactivity and Its Measurement So what is interactivity? Essentially, the authors describe interaction as a choice by audience members to actively enhance or control media-delivered content. The paper also brings to notice that the notion of control is not new, in fact it came into existence since the introduction of the remote control for television, and how the relationship of the audience with the TV changed tremendously.
Companies such as AC Neilson have been a pioneer of understanding audience’s behavior patterns ever since the introduction of remote control. Some trends which are emerging are that the traditionally believed linkages between advertisement and opportunity to see do not exist anymore, i. e. to watch a program is no longer to necessarily see the advertisements and to see the advertisements has not necessarily led simply or directly to engaging with their messages or buying their products.
There is a clear need to demonstrate the value of contact with the medium beyond the traditional ‘Opportunity to See’. The authors discover that while various attempts have been made to measure the effects of new media are mostly closed loop systems which ignore the marketing and communication aspects. Even basic Internet measures, such as the impression, have been appropriated and re-purposed, losing the capacity for meaningful comparisons with other media forms. So while we are awash in 10 ata, we have little real information, and even less knowledge about Internet productivity and the value of consumer interaction. Adding Interactivity to the Model of Basic Advertising Process Taking the AIDA model forward, the authors talk about how the beginning of marketing is gaining the viewers’ attention and how overtime, in process the relationship between the consumer and the brand is made. So, the authors develop a framework for measuring interaction within the context of the ‘flow of consumer effects’, which in some ways is similar to ARF.
ARF focuses on devising a conceptual framework or model of how the advertising process worked and promote the development of relevant measures of media performance. The six step model charts the aspects of communications delivery and effects from initial vehicle distribution, to program and advertising exposure, through consumer impacts and finally to sales, essentially tries to map the level of communication involvement at each stage. This model resulted in the Target Rating Point and Impression as critical units of measurement in the media marketplace.
While this model was updated in 2001, the inclusion of internet measurement was based on the ‘click through’ concept, which was considered to be a unit for measure for interactivity. However, interaction in reality takes various different forms and communicates through different channels, which cannot be measured by the click through approach. 11 Hence, the need for a much more expanded model emerges. From ‘Impress Me’ to ‘Express Yourself’. The authors here try a take at interactivity, where they look at the concept in a more inclusive manner than in isolation.
Traditional media measures, such as impressions or reach and frequency, provide a very limited ability to estimate value in this emerging interactive world. Rating systems are essentially one-dimensional metrics. Impressions count numbers not the experience or meaning and understanding. Another limitation with ‘Impression’ as a unit of measurement is that it doesn’t provide a consistent measure across media types. As the authors point out that the measurement of 30 second viewership versus the billboard viewership cannot be compared.
Therefore different measurement methods are used for different mediums, such as people meters for television, and number of people zooming by at 60 miles per hour for billboards. Given our evolving understanding of communication theory, it becomes a challenge, if not a stretch, to compare and reconcile ‘outdoor recall’ described in Perception Research (1983) with ‘radio recall’ explored in Radio Recall Research (1986) or ‘print and television awareness’ detailed in Millward Brown Print Effectiveness (1999).
Certainly, proprietary efforts by many marketers and advertisers have attempted to come up with a total valuation of ‘media mix’ strategies, but the bottom line remains one of clouded figures and both under- and over-valued statistics Hence it is extremely difficult to bring a consensus on effectiveness of media channels and power of industry exposure. Taking the same argument forward to apply to World Wide Web, the method of measuring through impressions remains highly insufficient. As the authors explain how viewers mostly remember last seen episodes and rarely click on banner advertisements.
The authors at this point bring forth the need to make impression inclusive, and thus emergences the concept of ‘expression’. The authors suggest that expression should be used as the measure of interaction and the following parameters should be included in it: creative unit; media environment; viewer involvement; attentiveness; message communication values; and targeting affinity This method involves a more quasi-quantitative evaluation tool, which takes the measurement beyond impression and has the opportunity to understand engagement, perception and 2 engagement. Expression as a measurement unit therefore involves the consumer and the producer, and can also be looked as the investment in the brand. The authors further assess the actual applicability of the interactive measures: Understanding the importance of a practical market place where ‘expression’ as a measurement unit is actually consistent with the requirement of the media process. Currently Vehicle Exposure or CPM Audience is the recognized currency for the media marketplace.
There are two sides to using expression as a measurement unit. I. e. while the positive is that it will lead to more media effectiveness, however, at the same time it may also destabilize the price/value construct which drives audience measurement. As of the current situation, any measures which are used for additional understanding of audiences still remain “additions” and are not an industry accepted norm. The key is to demonstrate how interactivity as a measure will become a more meaningful metric.
The current measures view consumers at a commodity type status. But, expression as metric promises to understand the actual effect of media communication that the mere number of exposures. The authors replicate the ARF model of comparability as a rough basis for how communication messages will affect the recipient within a personal and social context. The author takes the case of Initiative Media which uses a comparative model to find linkages between the impressions and response in the hierarchy of effects.
While there exists a correlation between the ARF Model, it makes clear that impressions cannot be assessed in a vacuum, i. e. the 13 creativity of messages and other environmental factors play a great role in the actual impact which is seen in response. It is further seen that the interactive TV tests show a pattern about the critical elements of media evaluation measures, it shows that interactivity amplifies the value of opportunity-to-see impressions.
As will be seen the figure below, while the goal of each ad is to gain response from the consumer, in reality as per the testing out of each 100 impressions only about 5 responses take place. 14 Therefore, since interaction and control of the audience has increased the convergent media space, the authors place importance on finding a measure which combines basic traditional measures such as reach, frequency along with expressionable measures such as consumer preferences, overall media usage, product placement and content.
Pinning down the usage patterns of audiences between the web and television, the authors find following issues to be pertinent, which websites do consumers visit, how many times do they provide feedback to site owner, content owner, how much word of mouth takes place about their favorite program, what do they download, etc. The authors believe that by employing such statistical modeling, and further conducting ethnographic studies, a matrix can be developed which will provide value measures to a relatively finite set of interactive possibilities.
The Model: The authors key down on a conceptual based approach which tries to find out qualitative insights on the basis of some quantitative measures over short or long term. For assessment of interaction potential, the three quantitative measures which are pertinent are: Time Spent Attention Satisfaction Over long term, other quantitative models such as sales and profitability, perception, loyalty, etc. should be included. This brings to the development of an ‘Interactive Scale’, being a Communication Power Index which will be sed as surrogate to interactive involvement. The six measurement units for expression discussed above can be measured by clubbing them in the following fashion: 1. attentiveness or attention paid to program, advertising, and amount of interaction 2. time spent with program, advertising, and amount of interaction 3. targeting affinity or program loyalty and depth of interaction This will be further facilitated with qualitative factors to come a much more concrete interactivity measure for reception, response and engagement 15
The authors suggest detailed behavior based studies of the consumers in the convergent media space to be able to understand and answer questions such as, what consumers are doing in response to specific media, content, and messages, but also why they are doing it and how it fits into their larger patterns of media consumption and purchasing behavior. This model will be used to test how viewer involvement is based on a series of behavioral measures, both qualitative and quantitative. Viewers engage with different media content with differing degrees of attentiveness, emotional investment, and personal interest.
Do such factors impact their receptiveness to advertising messages? Conclusion The authors conclude by recognizing the need to converge disciplines for audience measurement in a convergent media space. They recognize that there is no single method which can measure the impact of media on audiences in the dynamic place, media has reached now. However, the key is to develop a method which can be updated as the changes take place and not to have one which stands the test of time.
CONVERGENCE? TRY FRAGVERGENCE SAM SMITH, BBC
Sam Smith, Head of Future Media Research at BBC takes an alternative view of the concept of convergence in media. He urges in this article to look at convergence in the light of fragmentation and personalization of media, and he coins a term ‘Fragvergence’ to define it. He says, the convergence happens when multiple products come together to form one, providing advantages of all. As he takes an example of a play station not just being a gaming console, but also a DVD player, a CD player and an internet provider.
Sam says that from the 1970s where television, radio and newspapers were the only media option, today convergence of media has reached a place where more people listen to radio through television; YouTube, a company which didn’t exist a few years ago is valued at a whopping USD 1. 6 Bn (as of 2006); and some 5. 7 Mn people access internet through their mobile phones (2006 figure). 16 So, he argues that while convergence says that multiple products come together to form one, as seen in the pictorial description below:
In reality, thousands of products are being used in thousands of multiples of ways, as seen in the pictorial description below: Sam further adds that ‘fragmentation X personalization = splintered behavior’. This essentially means that the audience behavior has become so diverse even if the product of the media exposure in the same. He takes an example of a cell phone, which might be used by two different people. Even if the model, make and everything else in terms of offerings might be the same, the usage of the same device can be tremendously different between two consumers.
Therefore, Sam says that while convergence is taking place, at the same time proliferation of devices with overlapping services is also on a rise, plus there are a plethora of services available, which is leading a fragmented usage of these services. This all put together is called Fragvergence. 17 This has led to a complete change in definition for content; the concept of 360 degree delivery of content across various formats is gaining popularity. And, all this brings the paper to the key problem which is, how long can measuring audiences separately suffice?
Sam argues, that gone are the days where viewership ratings for television, listenership surveys for radio separately suffice, in the age of fragvergence there is growing need to understand the devices for the content delivery have metamorphosed. Sam takes the paper forward by asking certain question like, what is television. Here through use of examples he shows how if radio is seen on television, does it become television? Or, an episode of a series is available on the web, does that become television? Or, the Tardisodes (very short previews of episodes) which are available online or on cell phone, become television?
Or, TiVo’s innovation of allowing people to develop videos and distribute it, become television. The answer is not clear. Same further points out that in reality for the consumer, it doesn’t even matter. So, if the traditional methods of TV, Radio, Newspaper, and Web ratings were to be taken into account, in reality there will a lot of double counting. The author therefore says, “In the words of Monty Python, “We are all individuals”. Whole and rounded beings, who watch stuff, listen to stuff, read things and interact with stuff. Why divide us up into separate media, only to have real problems putting us back together again?
We should be measuring people, not media” Sam takes the debate further about matching of metrics for measurement across mediums. Here he analyses how while one type of measurement be very relevant to a medium, may not make sense for another at all. He takes the example of Reach in terms of television, which is 3 mins to be respectable, but it has to be 5 mins in a 15 min radio section. And, when websites are brought into the question, the correct metric is not how much time audience is spending on the website, but something else, or as per Sparklers’ research: What is the audience looking for, and is the website easy to use?
This brings the paper to concept of delivering value. According to BBC, Success is measured by multiplying Value into People using the service. Another parameter, which is added to this, is the concept of advocacy, more relevant in the new media space. 18 So how does BBC respond to these challenges? Sam explains that BBC does a variety of detailed studies to understand the media marketplace. The Daily Life Study introduced by BBC is uses PDA technology to track media usage throughout the day. This study tries to understand, which technologies are being used within a household. However, the limitation in this is the ynamicity of new media, which results in usage patterns going out of date, much faster. To combat this problem, BBC is conducting a study on emerging media with BMRB, which helps those spot trends and fulfill the need gaps in those areas. BBC also closely works with traditional media measurement companies and is involved with Project Arena, a European wide initiative to solve the cross media measurement problem for TV, radio and the internet. The 360 degree being Sam further brings forth the concept of a 360 degree being, where different divisions of the organization try and understand how the audiences are behaving.
They do this through project pulse: The Pulse is an online panel run for us by GfK which delivers audience value measures across TV and Radio. It delivers a range of measures and also some open ended feedback, all of which is delivered straight to the 19organization via our intranet site 36 hours after broadcast of the programme. However, this only covers TV and Radio. Therefore in 2007 they launched a URL tracker to a proportion of the panel. This software tracks their usage of the internet and enables the company to send tailored questionnaires to them about their usage of media related sites.
Solution to Measurement of Fragvergence Sam points out that this not the solution. He emphasizes that while the pulse by BBC could be a solution for right now, it isn’t completely foolproof. He points out that the dynamicity and the speed with which fragvergence is taking place, it will become more and more difficult to measure audience behavior and response. Some of the problems he foresees in the future are reliability and coverage of respondent’s data, lifecycle of panel driven methods, rise of community sites and one on one interactions, measuring the long tail of content as storage becomes cheaper, and finally how far can convergence go? 9 Sam’s research shows that there should come a time when it will be possible to follow products throughout their entire life cycle. In turn, comprehensive information about all the activities of a company will be available and transferred in real time to relevant persons. Some other issues, he points out are related to data privacy implications, permissions and portability of data, once downloaded. Suggestions Sam in his paper provides some solutions or the roadmap. He says that companies need to plan ahead, at the stage of product development.
Measurement should be top priority; new measures can fit with existing measures, particularly if they can be tied into a cross-media inter-industry currency. Technology should be used to the advantage, usage of URL trackers, internet based surveys, and virtual focus groups, etc. are good tools to measure internet audience. He places great importance on constant updating of systems of measurement in the world of dynamic media. And he finally suggests that a collaborative effort amongst media players by pooling in finances will help in the longer run in achieving an industry accepted currency.
This money can be used in syndicating research, creating reports and organizing consortiums. 20 INSIGHTS A current issue in the media industry is coping with the effects of convergence. The concept of convergence is frequently used both in the academic field and within the media industry to denote the ongoing restructuring of media companies as well as to describe the latest developments in media forms, distribution, and consumption. However, there is currently no generally accepted definition of the concept.
Depending on the context, the meaning and connotations vary. Some researchers suggest that convergence is a result of a change toward a more modern media society while others treat the concept as denoting the actual process toward a more efficient management of the media value chain. The key insight which emerges however is that the definitions, opinions and outlook on convergence of media may vary, but, Convergence is taking place across mediums across geographies and is greatly affecting the way media is consumed and the way audiences are reacting to it.
Apart from this Convergence in Media is challenging the way measurement of media vehicles for audiences is taking place and is demanding the need for a common currency for measurement of a convergent media marketplace. For scholarly purposes, an important insight is that convergence is taking place at different levels:
- The first step is collaboration of different platforms or media vehicles, which is combining old and new media to deliver content to the audiences in a much more ntersected manner
- The second step is truly understanding the need gaps for the audiences at each point of delivery and tailor-making content suitable for the media vehicle in question
- The third step is to view convergence as a process of evolution, and a requirement to innovate, interact and create in tandem with this change
- The fourth step is to view convergence as a continuum, which views convergence as a 5 step process and explain how cross media efforts are required through a step by step process, before the stage of full convergence is reached
- The fifth step is to understand traditional concepts such as gate keeping in a new light, in terms of who truly controls what message reaches the audience among the different media vehicles playing the convergent media space and how diffusion of innovation takes place across media channels 21
- And, the final step is challenge, review and evaluate newer measurement techniques for measurement of audience behavior in a convergent media space
– It is also important to realize that audience in the convergent media space has much more control and decision making power on what medium he or she wishes to get exposed, when he or she wishes this exposure to take place and what content he or she wishes to see. –
In terms of consumer responses to convergence, the audience now wants to be treated as individuals with more personalized content, they value a media experience more than a media delivery, yet they want it to be simple, authentic and well connected Measurement of Convergence is a complex process, and the traditional measurement methods are extremely numbers driven. It is not just the advent of a variety of multiple media vehicles operating together which asks for a more qualitative, behavioral measurement techniques. Although that is the main driver of this requirement. But in addition to it is the need of the hour to understand what is the response of media delivery versus how much is being delivered. This is because the audience is much more aware, and has many more options, therefore demands more quality and tailor made delivery. The various methods which have been suggested for measurement of convergent media marketplace may be different in approaches but all wish to analyze and measure the actual impact and benefit of content, and then their relevance among the different media vehicles. – – Convergence is not purely convergence; it is driven by an interesting concept of fragmentation due to multiple products coming together as one to deliver multiple usages for the audience. Therefore, convergence should alternatively look as fragvergence. o A key insight which emerges out of this is that while the media industry has been focusing on keying in on a single currency for media convergence, in actuality, in doing so the relevance and impact of different media vehicles on audiences gets diluted. This is because a measurement unit relevant for one vehicle is not relevant for another. Therefore, the industry should focus on devising the correct currency for each type of media vehicle and then bringing it together to form effective media and marketing plans. – In the age of convergence of media, the most important requirement is to keep updating measurement techniques instead of trying to find one foolproof solution. It is pertinent that 22 the dynamic and fast evolving nature of convergent media marketplace is kept up with, and measurement techniques innovated along with it. CONCLUSION Convergence of Media has brought about a wide variety of opportunities and threats for media companies. It urges media owners, buyers and consumers to look at media consumption in a completely new light.
While it brings forth a lot of control for the audiences to choose their consumption of media, at the same time it brings with it a number of problems in terms of what should be delivered, a level of accountability for media owners, a higher level of competition and a difficulty in measurement of media effects and audience behavior. In terms of audience measurement, it faces some amount of inertia to move from the comfortable ‘tools’ of trade inherited from the past generations, and forces media professionals to rethink models at all steps. At the same time, it also enables marketers to better target their consumers, to deliver more organized content. It provides a much longer and cost effective shelf life to content. Convergence also leads to a blurring of lines between the consumer and producer of Content. Convergence creates debate on its very definition and causes alternative thinking about the actual causes of convergence, as is seen in theories of fragvergence.
Overall, Convergence poses a lot of questions for media as a discipline, but it the transition period which will give way to how future generations understand, produce, deliver, consume and measure media. In more ways than convergence is central to the media marketplace of today and of the future. 23 REFERENCES 1. Integrating New Media and Old Media: Seven Observations of Convergence as a Strategy for Best Practices in Media Organizations, by Gracie Lawson-Borders, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, U. S. A. 2. The Convergence Continuum: A Model for Studying Collaboration Between Media Newsrooms, by Larry Dailey, Lori Demo, Mary Spillman, Newspaper Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Kansas City, Missouri, 3. Pathways To Measuring Consumer Behavior In An Age Of
Media Convergence, by Stacey Lynn Koerner, David Ernst, Interactive Media North America & Henry Jenkins, Alex Chisholm, MIT Comparative Media Studies. 4. Convergence? Try fragvergence, by Sam Smith, BBC 5. Measuring Convergence; http://www. mediapost. com/publications/index. cfm? fa=Articles. showArticle&art_aid=9964 6. Fragvergence: http://fragvergence. blogspot. com/ 7. Media organizations and convergence: case studies of media convergence pioneers http://books. google. co. in/books? id=MAjrrNwaJcC&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=measuring+convergence+of+media&source=bl&ots=he HycpK3_k&sig=k739hmBUhbZmVYEc1DyJXGiuS0k&hl=en&ei=lYqvSvbSEYrk7APk9nnDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result=8#v=onepage&q=measuring%20conve rgence%20of%20media&f=false 24