Everyone loves television. Everyone loves the Internet. But wouldn't it be great if both could be experienced simultaneously? Well, thanks to digital media convergence this dream is now a reality as Internet TV or 'Smart TVs' are becoming increasingly popular and are just one example of the wonderful world that is digital media convergence.Digital media convergence is an ever growing trend becoming more and more evident throughout the media sphere as technology advances. Digital media convergence has allowed for new and varied modes of delivery however not all are compatible nor centralised across different platforms, such as desktop computers and smart phones. Old media forms must continue to adapt to the concept of digital media convergence in order to keep up with the rapidly evolving digital world, such as television incorporating Internet capability, and with this evolution of media comes new possibilities. Advertising and new media have become complex and integrated outlets, as influenced by digital media convergence, this creating new possibilities for media delivery. In today's digitised world, convergence can be seen in many areas, such as advertising and new media, where the two work together in order to create a new method of expressing content to its audience.
The occurrence of digital media convergence has allowed for different modes of content delivery however not all are compatible with each other nor are they necessarily centralised across opposing platforms. Communications scholar, Ithiel de Sola Pool, was one of the primary figures in the early development of the idea of convergence. His initial work foretold of a future convergent world in which media content would be centralised in its storage, delivery and accessibility to people across any device. "Pool's idea of a "convergence of modes" conjured up an image of a future where all content would be stored digitally, delivered over a network and accessed through electronic devices." (Gordon 2003). This expresses the early belief that convergence would result in a uniform digital environment in which information and messages would be accessible in the same format using the same digital devices. However, the emergence of the Internet did not make this claim a reality despite the existence of different modes of content delivery. Gordon (2003) explains this with the example of a web page which has been formatted for viewing on a computer as this first has to be converted before it can be recognised on a smart phone. This shows that while convergence has enabled the web page to move from the computer to the smart phone, the format still needs to be altered in order to make this possible as it is not quite centralised in its compatibility.
The factor of advertising and new media have become complex and integrated outlets due to the influence of digital media convergence. Digital media convergence has enabled advertising to delve into a whole new platform and reach a whole new audience, separate from the renowned world of television advertising. Google is a major player in this field so much so that "It now competes with television advertising by placing short video ads on many of the websites where it sells advertising" (Dwyer 2010, p. 18). This is evident when observing YouTube, which is owned by Google, as advertisements have now been implemented at the beginning of highly viewed videos in order to reach a new, diverse audience on a new media platform. Advertising is becoming a growing industry through new media however new media itself is a vital component to the phenomenon of digital media convergence. Dwyer (2010, p. 6) puts forth the idea that we are becoming much more resourceful as humans as a result of new media through our connection with the foundation of new media outlets such as wireless Internet. The simple act of connecting to wireless Internet amidst our everyday activities may be an effortless task however it is establishing a connection with new media as one that assists the running of day to day activities and therefore places an importance on its convergence with the digital world.
The above advertisement for Evian water is an example of advertising and new media as this particular advertisement was first launched online before TV, therefore the new media of YouTube was used as a springboard for the advertising campaign.
Old media forms, such as television, become accustom to the concept of digital media convergence in order to keep pace with the rapidly evolving world of digital media. Television is a classic example of old media which has had to change and evolve from its original form in order to maintain its place in an every evolving digital world. Over time, television has become accessible on a multitude of devices such as smart phones, tablets and computers through advancements in telecommunications and as a result has been branded with labels such as 'TV in your pocket' (Orgad 2009, p. 6). This demonstrates how television has evolved into a portable slice of media which has the capability to be accessed at a time and place that suits the consumer therefore branching oustationmaster the stationary box in the living room. Of course with change often comes uncertainty and there is always a risk in the unfamiliar. However, manufacturers of new and mobile forms of television understand this and know that in order to maintain television's use and popularity in the convergent world, they must market such a concept in a way that "promotes an understanding of the emergent technology as evolving from familiar, safe and comfortable technological and social worlds" (Orgad 2009, p.16). This essentially portrays that the success of mobile and Internet TV has stemmed from the success of its roots as people appreciate the sense of familiarity of the known (television in its old media form) which is used as a springboard for the unknown (television in its new, mobile form) thus proving a successful component in digital media convergence.
Digital media convergence involves a multitude of components, most prominently advertising and new media, which co-exist in order to combine new media outlets that offer greater accessibility and content variation to consumers. Manufacturers and producers benefit from convergence as the more people utilize convergent media the more remuneration will be generated; for example revenue from advertising on sites such as YouTube. Digital media convergence may still have limitations such as the difference in delivery formats however the benefits of digital media convergence remain abundant. Advertising has spread from television to Internet thus creating new possibilities for information transfer, new media forms such as wireless Internet continue to arise which remove limitations in the digital world and old media are constantly being reassessed and remade in order to remain avid in the digital world. Digital media convergence is a phenomenon of the media world today and will only continue to develop and enhance our digital experience and interaction with new media forms in the future.
Dwyer, T (2010) 'Media Convergence', McGraw Hill, Berkshire, pp. 1-23.
Gordon, R (2003), 'Convergence Defined', in K. Kawamoto (ed.) Digital Journalism: Emerging Media and the Changing Horizons of Joirnalism, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
Orgad, Shani (2009) 'Mobile TV : Old and new in the construction of an emergent technology' Convergence, vol 15 no 2, pp. 197 - 214.
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