Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Media Convergence: From Television to Netflix





What is media convergence? Encyclopedia Britannica states the following definition of media convergence, “phenomenon involving the interconnection of information and communication technologies, computer networks, and media content. It brings together the “three C’s” – computing, communication, and content – and is a direct consequence of the digitization of media content and the popularization of the internet.” (2013) What does this mean exactly? Well, when you use your smartphone or tablet to view or read the news, you are switching from old traditional media platforms to the new media platforms. Therefore, you are still reading the news; however, news companies are merging with the online world to better serve you. This allows you to watch videos and read the news online without having to buy a newspaper or be at home for the 5 o’clock or 10 o’clock news. People from all over the world have access to news 24/7 as long as they have an internet connection. Why is it a big deal? Anyone anywhere can post the news online; therefore, creating a very thin line between ordinary people and journalist. Regular citizens can post the news on their websites, blogs, and social networking sites. For example, say you are riding down the road and you see a car crash into the side of a building. You stop and record the accident with your phone and post it to your Facebook or Twitter account. You have now become what some people call a “citizen journalist.” Citizen journalists completely change how real journalists do their job. Anyone can now create and share content online. Before the digital age, people would buy a newspaper, watch TV, or listen to the radio to know what was going on around them in the world. Today, the audience members have now become the contributors of news. Differences between citizens and skilled journalist have become indistinct because of this media convergence. The problem with this is that regular citizens might be able to show a picture of a car wreck scene and give a brief description about the accident; however, a journalist finds out why this accident occurred in the first place. Therefore, are these “citizen journalist” real reporters? Are they considered credible? Do they ask the following questions like the experts: Was this person drunk? Did this person have a heart attack while driving the car? Or did the driver just lose control of the car? These are the type of things that an expert journalist would research. Media convergence is changing the way people hear and see the news, and media convergence is changing who is delivering the news. Journalist and communication specialist have to adapt to this new change. Communication specialist and journalist can use what regular citizens post online and research the story more to find out additional details and then reiterate the story for general public knowledge. They can contribute to a citizen’s post by giving more facts about an incident or story. Media convergence is also changing the way Nielsen measures television consumption. Traditionally, Nielson would measure what people would watch on television by sending out surveys to every American household; however, now these surveys will include people who watch television programming on their Xbox consoles and through internet websites like Hulu and Netflix. Nielson realized that more and more people were not using traditional media such as television to watch TV shows. More and more people are using the internet from their tablets or smartphones to watch their favorite TV shows. Also, as video gamers are becoming more popular, people are using their Xbox consoles to view television shows. Therefore, the Nielson has to adapt to the new digital platforms. Joe Flint states the following about Nielson’s new evolution: Nielsen's decision to change its measurement of television came as it noticed an increase in the number of homes not using traditional television systems consume television over the last couple of years. People are cutting the cord to their TV providers, younger consumers never sign up for these services. Instead they choose to get content through newer platforms such as Hulu or Netflix. (2013) Young consumers are deciding not to even purchase satellite TV or Dish Network, because they can see the shows online for free or for a cheaper price. If Nielson can get these numbers from the consumers this would change the overall data that will be collected in 2014. However, since people can view movies and television shows online, but they do not have to watch commercials. Yes, websites still have advertisement ads posted; however, the consumer does not have to click on them. Media convergence is also changing the way consumers listen to music. More people are going online to music sites such as YouTube, Project Playlist, and also downloading music aps on their smartphones to hear their favorite songs. Purchasing CDs are becoming the thing of the past, because we can go online for music. Websites like YouTube is a free service that lets users watch music videos or other types of videos from anywhere in the world. Consumers no longer have to go to local music stores to buy albums. Media convergence has completely revolutionized the way consumers handle business. Ever since the digital world became the norm, people can watch TV, download and listen to music, read and share the news, and buy and sell products online with instant gratification. Even sites like EBay and Amazon have changed the way we all do business. Everyday people can go to those websites and sell their belongings to other everyday people. Online communications is basically cutting out the middle man of purchasing products. For example, if my friend is looking for a school textbook, my friend can go online to Amazon and search for the textbook. Chances are my friend will find that textbook for a cheaper price than Barnes and Nobles or Books-A-Million. Another example is my husband is planning to purchase a good work truck. He visits Craigslist every day to find a good, decent work truck for a reasonable price. Before the internet, the only way to search for a nice, used truck was to buy a newspaper or wait until you see a truck for sale in someone’s yard. There is no doubt that media convergence is changing the world of business and communication.