Convergence in Broadcast and Communications Media

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The growth of the internet in the late s and s has also threatened the ability of national governments to control cross-border flow of information and entertainment. The internet continues to bring a great deal of content from the USA and the West into other parts of the world. However, it also much cheaper to produce either information or entertainment for the internet, so many governments, cultures, religion, and ideologies now produce for and distribute over the internet.

Governments dominated activity in international radio, despite early developments and precedents from commercial international shortwave broadcasting prior to World War II. However, it seems private actors instead of governments now dominate global television news and entertainment.


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What are the implications for the audience of the shift from government international radio broadcasting to private international satellite television? What of the further shift on the internet to supplement or replace the dominance of major international radio and international commercial TV? What of the implications of the fact that most radio audiences today tend to be quite localized, given a choice, particularly with the spread of higher fidelity stereo FM broadcasts, which deliver the best available radio sound quality but seldom cover more than a limited urban area?

What are the motivations for broadcasting internationally? Four major reasons have been adduced for both state-run and private organizations transmitting directly across borders: to enhance national or organizational prestige; to promote national or organizational interests; to attempt religious, ideological or political indoctrination; and to foster cultural ties.

When governments are the primary actors as it is here, the goal is often summed up as public diplomacy. That is the deliberate effort by governments to affect foreign public opinion in a manner that is positive to their goals. Public diplomacy may be defined as the influencing in a positive way the perceptions of individuals and organizations across the world. Another perspective on this sees motivations in terms of: being an instrument of foreign policy, as a mirror of society, as symbolic presence, as a converter and sustainer, as a coercer and intimidator, as an educator, as an entertainer, and as a seller of goods and services.

Evidence of the importance that governments attach to international broadcasting can be found in their total commitment to funding and support using diverse models as may be found in BBC, VOA, Radio Moscow, RFI, etc. Similarly, as the internet now permits a greater variety of players to broadcasting, many more have entered to pursue all or some of similar goals. Why audiences listen or view across borders? According to the categories of listening motivations listed by Boyd as cited by Straubhaar and Boyd , audiences tune in to hear news and information, to be entertained, to learn, to hear religious or political broadcast, to enhance their status, to protest, or to pursue a hobby.

Concerning the question of media effects on audience in international broadcasting, the available studies show that the effects of international radio broadcasting are relatively limited. Nevertheless, there are at least some historical cases in which international radio as part of public diplomacy had considerable impact. Radio Free Europe clearly had a role in fomenting the Hungarian uprising of The use of radio in international broadcasting is changing decisively; however, as most of the services are moving away from transmitting on shortwave radio and moving towards re-broadcasting or re-transmitting on leased local FM facilities and also supplementing these efforts by web casting.

Today, international radio broadcasters tend to put their signals out as streaming audio feeds on the internet. International radio is also sometimes sought by those who do not trust the local or national media readily available to then. This and other factors may be affecting the international audience in the direction of fragmentation. Few international broadcasters today have anything resembling a mass audience, instead they have fragments of core listeners of viewers who are attracted by tradition or habit or interests in specific programming such as news, music, documentaries, sports and so on.

Audience Fragmentation in International Broadcasting The rise of new media has brought the question of audience fragmentation and selective exposure to the front burner of concerns by the broadcast media. This is because audience fragmentation has emerged as the inevitable consequence of audience diversity based on diversity of participation and reception that have been enhanced immensely by the convergence of media technologies. Audience fragmentation may also be due to diversity of media content and the loyalty or otherwise of the audience to these various programmes.

In the same way there are many broadcast channels and stations even at the external broadcasting level such that loyalties may have become fragmented over the multitude of international stations available to the audience. The array of broadcast options available to the audience may have thus created a remarkable degree of audience fragmentation. There has been created a new multi-platform world due to the convergence of new media. For example, the number of listeners or viewers who now use their PCs or mobile phones for monitoring the newscast instead of waiting for specific time periods of broadcast from their station of choice usually on traditional media may be increasing as more and more people adopt several new media options available to them.

Such fragments of listeners or viewers may actually replace their traditional media channels with the ones they now have in multimedia. Some viewers now choose to watch news highlights on the web at their convenience rather than the scheduled news cast they used to frequent. Traditional broadcasters cannot afford to ignore cable and satellite operators as well as the web, mobile and other alternative distribution channels who may have contributed to the fragmentation of their traditional audience.

Today media scholars and practitioners have continued to debate whether the mass audience really exists any more or whether mass audience has not become a myth. This issue or question persists because they challenge them to re-think presumed givens of the past while also providing a framework within which to examine the undeniable evidence of fragmentation of the broadcast audience today.

As information and communication technologies increasingly become available and affordable to people and are more widely adopted news and current affairs media may have to strategize on ow to move away from being mass media to media targeting and specific niche programming and distribution. The external channel may have to do some audience research to find out what type of audience are disengaging form their traditional media and for what reasons. So also the world-view of such audience may have to be ascertained and embedded in programme content so as to attract the audience.

Other forms of distribution that may compliment the traditional may have to be considered and appropriated. How to view and review the audience against the backdrop of fragmentation? Any evaluation of audience should start with a disturbing doubt about the continuing validity of the term. The notion of audience as a community or solidarity group, or as a form of involvement in a text which one has not summoned or invented oneself, a text that can surprise, becomes problematic.

The danger to audiences posed by their disembodiment into individual dreams bubbles, or their disappearance into time-shift recorders who never find time to listen or view, is not as close as the technologies that allow it. The conditions underlying identity, sociality and community are slower to change than technologies. We know that the world cup or the English league or the Olympic Games find us attending as faithful audience members, be it within the community, the nation or even the globe.

Those changing technologies also suggest that the way in which audiences are situated — is everyone listening or viewing at the same content, are they listening or viewing alone or together, are they talking or silent, is the transmission live or recorded — is inseparable from characteristics of the media they interact with, marked by their technological and institutional characteristics, and the ways in which they perceive their consumers. The larger picture suggests that the contemporary media environment holds two types of threats to audiences. One is the abundance of what is offered, chasing viewers or listeners to an endless choice of niche channels or stations and time-shift options which may operate as a boomerang pushing us to turn on good old broadcast radio or TV and find out what is on.

The second threat is the internet. Assuming that in spite of the dramatic transformation in the media environment, audiences are still alive, so do the technologies that nurture them , what follows is a review of the changes undergone by mass media audiences and the ways in which these changes were defined. A very useful scheme to define audiences categorizes them into three: citizens, consumers and jugglers.

Each phase carries an image of the audience. Here, near endless choices weakens commitment and makes the audience to resort to juggling between competing programmes, stations or channels, or media. The monstrous dimensions of choice in this present phase may be leading in two directions.

Your future in Converged Broadcast Media

What is the implication of audience fragmentation for programme content? This requires audience research on a more or less continuous basis. International broadcast channels may have to imitate the local FM channels that have mastered the art of creating programme formats that make them unique even where there is a proliferation. The BBC and VOA do a lot of audience research but hardly make them public but they have started utilizing re-distribution and re-transmission on local FM in some regions of world and also making their presence available on the internet and on satellite and cable.

What are the prospects of new media? The new media have been widely hailed as a potential way of escape from the oppressive top-down politics of mass democracies in which tightly organized political parties make policy unilaterally and mobilize support behind them with minimal negotiation and grass-roots input. They provide the means for the provision of information and ideas, almost unlimited access for all voices and much feedback and negotiation between sender and receiver in the mass media. They promise new forums for the development of interest groups and formation of opinion, and allow social dialogue without the inevitable intervention of governmental institutions or state machineries.

They promise true forms of freedom of expression that may be difficult to control by government. There is the prospect of a reduced role for professional journalist to mediate between citizen and government and to mediate in the public sphere generally. There is also the promise of absence of boundaries, greater speed of transmission and low cost of operations compared to traditional media.

The biggest prospect is the ready access for all who want to speak, unmediated by the powerful interests that control the content of print and broadcast. What are the challenges? The new media are no different from the old in terms of social stratification of ownership and access. It is the better-offs that can access and upgrade the new technologies and they are always ahead of the working class or the poor. They are differentially empowered and if anything move further ahead of majority of the people. The new media require new skills and new attitudes to learning and working.

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There must be the attitude of life-long learning to catch up with new skills demanded by the pace of technological changes. There is also the issue of multi-tasking and its burden or otherwise on the users of new media technologies. Finally, there is overriding challenge of control and diminishing of the freedom of new media. References Anokwa, K. Lin, A. International Communication: Concepts and Cases. Axford, B.

New Media and Politics. Media convergence is a theory in communications where every mass medium eventually merges to the point where they are indistinguishable to each other, creating a new medium from the synthesis due to the advent of new communication technologies. Challenges in convergence While the industry at large is excited about media convergence, it also has its share of concerns.

The most unanimous one being lack of adequate bandwidth. The bandwidth cost is too high and has to be brought down drastically. In Korea, there are half-a-million subscribers who receive 11 channels live on their mobiles. Only when there is enough bandwidth, can the business be ramped up. The other challenge is educating consumers to use the various new media. The industry will not grow unless the consumer is educated. Apart from reaching consumers at various touch points through convergence of media, companies are also looking at it as a media to cater to individual needs of a consumer.

And, for this, the need of the hour is to generate adequate content. Content availability has not kept pace with the changing consumers. Content generators have to generate enough to cater to individual tastes. For this, they need to constantly innovate newer products and therefore, reallocate more and more resources to research and development. As more companies compete, the gestation period for newer products is decreasing with each product life cycle.

For example. Gordon Moore, the founder of Intel observed that in 18 months, the number of transistors on a microprocessor chip doubled with half the size. Finally, the lack of multiskilled professionals in the newer arenas of business make it difficult for the company's old guard to let go of draconian practices. This ultimately leads to turf wars over domain control. Market and technology convergence By plotting time against portability and interactivity and at the same time of selected parameters that might be called the benchmark of technology progress namely moving image, computing, voice communication and games, we can get a historical perspective as well as deduce where the combined technologies are headed.

As shown in the chart below, the big three factors of technology storage, bandwidth and processing power are all increasing up and to the right. However, in this case of mapping, the word convergence is never intended to suggest replacement i. We also see 'divergence' of media forms as it morphs across a sea of devices that continue to grow, layer upon layer. All technology makers and marketers would like to know what the next '?

In the portable domain will we always have separate phone and serious gaming device? Convergence of Understanding, Practicing and Innovating Increasingly, one can observe a definitive trend in the convergence of understanding, practicing and innovating in the competitive market place where each participant is eying the largest chunk of the market pie.

Understanding the needs of the consumer has taken on a new importance with extreme segmentation and fragmentation in the marketplace. Identifying this need and innovating a new product or a service to fill this gap in the need has gained prime importance, more so akin to a rasion d'etre for the companies. From high value-high involvement products like home loans and automobiles to low value-low involvement products like detergent powders and toothpastes to soft drinks, companies are increasingly spending big money to understand the patterns and motivations of the consumer for selecting, purchasing and using a certain brand.

Even more important, the brand associations that the consumer makes about a certain brand can make or break the brand equity of a company's product and the difference between success and failure of the product in the market. For example, high technology products like Nokia's mobile handsets are made based on a constant feedback on usage and understanding of mobile phones by the customers leading to higher levels of innovation and user-friendliness in the next handset made by Nokia.

A new concept on the horizon is co-creating value. This happens between consumer and manufacturer. The manufacturer actively seeks the cooperation of the consumer for creating newer products. For example, Id software, one of the biggest and most popular game manufacturers, roped in the maker of what they believed to be the best fan site of their highly popular game DOOM. Nowadays even a copywriter in a small agency in a small town will type out the copy quickly on the computer and the graphic designer will fit it into the ad's layout and send out the soft copy to the newspaper for printing.

Technology innovation from typewriters to computers has made this shift possible. A school student with a typical Pentium desktop computer, has at his disposal, more computing power than NASA had when it send the first man on the moon. The great enabler in this case, technology, is progressing with such rapid pace that the latest, most cuttingedge technology is rendered almost outdated with a few months of its release.

Creative visualisers using advanced software like Adobe Photoshop and CorelDraw are daily creating breathtaking graphical masterpieces that would have taken a Leonardo da Vinci months, if not years, to create. Convergence in the technological standards like image formats jpegs, gifs, etc. Add to this, the keen entrepreneurial mind of a businessman and you have technology monoliths like the Times Group and others like AOL-Warner, Sony and Apple amongst many others who dominate the commercial landscape.

Convergence is changing the way people live their lives on a daily basis.

Convergence in Broadcast and Communications Media

Experiential Brick and Portal Traditional classroom model has been in an evolutionary phase ever since technology innovations have made networking possible. Satellite communications like VSAT have enabled hundreds of thousands of students across the world to virtually attend lectures. University Grants Commission UGC has empowered students in India because of this education and technology convergence. In professional courses, the emphasis has always been on practical knowledge rather than just theoretical inputs.

The value addition to the professional skills development is far more when students are exposed to theories and their practical applications.

The Convergence Phenomenon in Media and Communications | SpringerLink

Added to this is the new dimension of internet learning. Numerous universities, colleges and institutes, especially in Western Europe and North America are now offering degree courses through the internet. The effective combination of these three models of learning traditional classrooms, internet and practical experiences, have become necessary for students of today to become successful professionals of tomorrow.

As the market kept segmenting and fragmenting, we now have thousands of radio stations to choose from with WorldSpace, Star TV itself telecasts more than half a dozen channels round the clock, there are more than a couple of dozen newspapers to choose from, hundreds of magazines to choose from and the story does not end there. With the advent of newer technologies, we now have newer channels of communications like mobile, internet and direct-to-home television along with exponential storage capabilities on optical media like CDs and DVDs.

Today, a typical consumer is bombarded with more than 1, messages per day. Marketers are finding newer ways and means to target the consumers. Innovative ways are tried almost every year and their success means the success of the product in the market.

What is Media Convergence?

Another example of convergence in media consumption is the way in which consumers actively hunt for information. It also backs up as a personal information manager PIM , a music player, camera and portable gaming device. As mentioned earlier, there has been an explosion in the media available today. But there has also been an ownership consolidation taking place in the process. More and more media houses are establishing or consolidating their presence across a broad spectrum of media channels.

Now they are present in radio with Radio Mirchi, television with Times Now and Zoom, events with degrees, internet with indiatimes. Combined, they hold a large audience in print, audio-visual and cyber media. This is also advantageous for the marketer as it makes it reasonable and easier for them to implement a complete integrated marketing communications plan across all platforms.

This convergence in media consumption and media buying requires professionals with multifaceted skills to understand and manage such media companies.

1.0 Summary of the EPC response

Convergence in media ownership A massive diversification of media, thanks to the Internet, materialized by millions of websites, fora, blogs and wikis is taking place. That evolution, often labelled citizen journalism or citizen media, makes it possible for practically everybody to be a media creator, owner and actor, instead of a passive user. Some of the largest media conglomerates include American Media Inc. Convergence in the interests of dual markets As more and more companies across industries look at multiple media platforms, especially the digital media, it is also emerging as a revenue-earning model for most of them.

The telecom companies made Rs