Friday, August 31, 2012

Advertising and New Media

Luisa Morris

Student number: 42457823

Discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to one of the following: Advertising and new media or music video online. 

Convergence of digital media with advertising is a phenomenon that increases as new media is created. Advertisement is everywhere, on buses, billboards, cars, magazines; everywhere. With the creation of new media such as twitter, facebook, Skype and YouTube online advertising is on the rise. Not only has digital convergence revolutionised the world of digital technology, but it has created a whole new sphere of advertising. It is now almost impossible to click on to a webpage such as YouTube and find no advertisement. Even before you watch a video on YouTube there is a short ad beforehand.  And with the amount of new and popular media being created there is always space for advertisement. The ease at which we get things and see things is changing the way people act. Instant gratification from digital convergence is making people lazy and impatient. It is a bleak outlook for the future…

The clip is a vision of the future that comes from the Disney classic Wall –E. It is a dystopian future where the large company ‘BNL’ or ‘Buy n Large’ has taken over the world. In the clip, the logo ‘BNL’ is advertised everywhere; even on clothes and food. The ability to access multiple platforms through one medium is why the human race lost their ability to walk, and feel. While this apocalyptic vision of the future is still ahead of us, with the convergence of digital media, we are well on our way. McChesney states that “whereas previously media systems were primarily national, in the past few years a global commercial- media market has emerged (2001, pg 80).” The creation of new media and digital convergence has enabled already huge companies to run global companies. New media and digital convergence such as Skype has made it possible to run companies all around the world and just like ‘BNL’ American products such as Disney are being advertised globally. Appadurai explains: States find themselves pressed to stay open by the forces of media, technology, travel that have fuelled consumerism throughout the world and have increased the craving, even in the non western world, for new commodities and spectacles (Appadurai, 1990, pg 102).” Christopher Dixon, media analyst for the investment firm PaineWebber says “what you are seeing is the creation of a global oligopoly. It has happened to the oil and automotive industries earlier this century now it is happening to the entertainment industry.” And will keep happening to every industry on earth till one company such as ‘BNL’ will control everything. New media and digital convergence has enabled this to happen.

Each year the world spends 467 billion on advertising. Now thanks to digital media convergence advertising has clogged up yet another social sphere; the internet. Though advertising can be annoying and obtrusive to the viewer for the producer the internet can be a cheap way to promote a new product or campaign. TV commercials are costly, during the Super bowl an ad can run for about $2.5 million dollars for a viewing time of thirty seconds. The internet provides an affordable alternative. Instead of spending thousands of money paying for viewing time on TV producers can now use that money to create better quality advertisements online. For example J.K Rowling’s new interactive website called ‘Pottermore.’ ‘Pottermore’ is an interactive book for the ‘digital generation’ aimed at the younger generations, a website where the viewer can control the story. JK Rowling deliberately tells the viewer that: “It's the same story with a few crucial additions; the most important one is you” hinting that the viewer can be involved in the Harry Potter world. The website was kept hidden until JK Rowling made an announcement on her website that “The owls are gathering; find out why soon” there was a hyperlink to YouTube and a short clip was broadcast on YouTube of JK Rowling revealing Pottermore. The ad unlike other ads was interactive and required the audience to interact or to “follow the owls.”

The ad was aimed at the ‘digital generation’ and so was broadcast on YouTube for the young digital savvy viewers to see. The creators of ‘Pottermore’ were smart to set up an ad on the web, especially on YouTube as their target audience was most likely to see it. The creators of ‘Pottermore’ even customised the YouTube page with different owls perched on a tree branch across the YouTube screen. The broadcast for ‘Pottermore’ has 2,260,353 views on YouTube to date. The amount of views ‘Pottermore’ has on YouTube is exactly why online advertisement is working. Dwyer states: “Unprecedented structural transformations are occurring throughout the media and communications industries, suggesting that they are no longer dominated by the traditional broadcasting or publishing industries (Dwyer. T 2010).  Although digital convergence is a great thing for those who work in advertising and the companies which advertise their products online, it is one more step to global oligopoly. McChesney explains: “Although the internet offers extraordinary promise in many regards, it alone cannot slay the power of the media giants…the internet becomes part of the commercially viable media system, it looks to be under the thumb of the usual corporate suspects (McChesney, 2001, Pg 89).”

Digital convergence is a huge step forward for technology. It has opened up new spheres of advertising and new media has enabled people to connect with people all over the world at a click of a button. However digital convergence is also dangerous.  The same companies that have control now will profit even more from the convergence of media and advertising until we are left with one company or firm in control of everything.


  • Appadurai, Arjun (1990), 'Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy', Public Culture, 1990, 2008, Vol.2(2), p.1–24

  • Dwyer, T. (2010) “Media Convergence”, McGraw Hill, Berksire, pp 1-23
  • McChesney, Robert W (2001) “Global Media, Neoliberalism and Imperialism” Monthly Review, March 2001.
  • Sheehan, Kim and Morrison, Deborah (2009) Beyond convergence: Confluence culture and the role of the advertising agency in a changing world, First Monday vol 14 no 3
  • Jenkins, Henry (2006) ‘Welcome to Convergence Culture’, accessed August 27th 2012


    'Pottermore' JK Rowling, 2011, 30/8/12

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