Media Convergence

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    • 00:00

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM: Hi, there.My name is Dr Carolyn Cunningham.And I'm an assistant professor in the Departmentof Communication Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University.Today I'm going to talk to you about the concept of mediaconvergence, which was an encyclopediaentry in the Encyclopedia of Gender in Media,published in 2012.So the term media convergence is an umbrella term

    • 00:21

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: that refers to technological, industrial, and culturalchanges in the field of mass communication.So it's a big term.And I'm going to talk about each of those three concepts relatedto the big term of convergence separately,and then talk about some of the trends in termsof research and issues related to convergence in general.

    • 00:42

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: So the most common use of the term convergenceis a technological one.It refers to the merging of audio, video, and textinto a single platform.And this has had a huge impact on the waythat we produce and consume media content.So in the past, media content used to be medium specific.

    • 01:02

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: So television, for example, was broadcast over the airwaves.Now, we can watch television on the internet.Newspapers used to be a print medium.But now with the advent of the internet,we see that newspapers integrate multimediacontent into the forms that they aredelivering to their customers.

    • 01:23

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: So this technological convergencehas led to a shift in the way that users access and consumemedia.It also has led to a wealth of informationthat's been collected about usersin terms of what their likes and dislikes are, what their media

    • 01:44

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: habits are, and has allowed search engines, advertisingcompanies, media companies to gather a lot of information,which I'm going to talk about a little bit later.So these technological changes have led to industrial changes.So we see with media conversions itrefers to the merging of media industries that

    • 02:06

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: used to be very separate.So in the past, media industries usedto be governed under separate models.For example, the print and televisionused to be regulated under what we call broadcast model.Because both radio and televisionwere broadcast over the airwaves,you had to get a license to broadcast.

    • 02:27

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: And you got this license by applying to the FCC.And it was seen as a scarce resource.So if you did get a license to broadcast from the FCC,you were supposed to represent the public interest.So you couldn't have profanity, for example, over the airwaves.Movies were regulated under a different system.

    • 02:49

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: Hollywood was regulated under a self-regulated system, wherethey had the rating system to warn the public over whatthe content would be.So these regulations really kept media industries separateand also actually discouraged cross ownership.For example, in 1975, there was a rulethat barred a newspaper company from owning a broadcast

    • 03:10

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: station in the same market.So regulations where they are in orderto protect diversity and promote competition within the mediacontent that we see.However, starting in the 1980s, therewas a shift towards deregulation.Because of this concept of technological convergencethat I explained earlier, there was a need--

    • 03:33

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: there was a push by media industriesto change the policy system.We needed a different system to regulate this new environment.And so the idea was to lift some of these previous regulationsso that we could promote diversity and innovation.And this really came to a head in 1996

    • 03:54

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: with the Telecommunication Act that really allowedfor cross ownership and for companiesto be able to be more consolidated.So the 1996 Telecommunications Actled to both vertical and horizontal integration.So horizontal integration is when one media industry

    • 04:14

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: owns several of the same companies in the same market.So Clear Channel, for example, is horizontally integratedbecause it owns 900 different radiostations throughout the US.Disney, on the other hand, is vertically integratedbecause it owns the means of production, distribution,and exhibition.So it owns the means to produce content distributed

    • 04:39

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: and to exhibit it through its many different media outlets.So this new environment, this industrial convergencehas had an impact on not only our economic system,but also media workers.It requires that media workers and journalists, for example,must be fluent in creating content

    • 04:59

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: in all different kinds of forms.We use the term backpack journalismto refer to some of these new environments.So journalists are not only just writing the story,but they're also producing the video, taking the pictures,and putting it up on the web.So this has really changed the waythat we work in those industries as well.And then the third and final area

    • 05:21

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: that convergence refers to is cultural convergence.And cultural convergence refers to the waythat we can produce media in this new environment.Some people refer to this as participatory culture, wherepeople are able-- because media is digital and able to bemanipulated, people will participate

    • 05:43

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: by producing their own media, but also remixing cultureby taking images in popular cultureand changing them to have a different meaning.We see multiple perspectives thatcirculate within this participatory culture.It allows for people to comment on the forms of mediathrough blogs, through blogs that different media

    • 06:06

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: companies have.And it can allow for what we mightcall collective intelligence, wherewe have lots of different people contributingto the production of ideas.A good example of this is Wikipedia,where users collaboratively edit entries on different topics.

    • 06:26

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: So there's research in all different areasof convergence-- technological, industrial, and culturalconvergence.And I'll just name a few of these different trends.So from a technological perspective,there's lots of research on how dowe use these new mediums to deliver content differentlyto users.

    • 06:47

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: A good example of this is interactive television,where people are trying to experimentwith delivering content to different usersfor different reasons.Here, you might think of choose your own adventure story,for example, where I might be watching the same televisionshow as you, but based on my own user preferences,the ending might be different.

    • 07:08

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: So that's one area in technological convergence.From an industrial convergence thereare a lot of issues related to law and policy.One of the big trends right now is betterunderstanding big data.So big data refers to the huge amounts of data setsthat are collected from just using and interacting

    • 07:30

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: on the internet.And so there's issues related to privacy.How is this information collected and then used?Do we consent for that information to be collected?Who owns the content that's on Facebook or on YouTubefor example?How does copyright work in this new environment?Should we change our laws and policies

    • 07:51

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: that were more for an outdated systemto update to this new environment?And then finally from a cultural convergence,there's a lot of research lookingat what are some of the ideological perspectives thatare circulating when people create their own culture.How do we negotiate issues of racism, sexism, classism

    • 08:12

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: on online?How does that get played out?How do we control for cyber bullying or cyberharassmentor hate speech online?Who should be in charge of that?Is that the companies that control the content or accessto the content?Or is it the individual user themselves?

    • 08:33

      CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM [continued]: So those are just some of the areas in this umbrellaterm of convergence.And it'll be interesting to see, especiallyfrom a law and policy perspective,how we will need to adjust to this new environment.

Media Convergence

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Abstract

Professor Carolyn Cunningham explains media convergence, including the technological, industrial, regulatory, and cultural aspects of the change.

Media Convergence

Professor Carolyn Cunningham explains media convergence, including the technological, industrial, regulatory, and cultural aspects of the change.

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