Henry Jenkins (2006, p.282) regards media convergence as “the flow of content across multiple media platforms…and the migratory behaviour of media audiences…”. Media convergence has transformed media and the audiences’ interaction with it. Sonja Livingston states “leisure is increasingly focused on the media rich home” (Livingston 2003, p.2). Media convergence has allowed for access to different media from multiple devices. For Instance, a family can watch TV together; however each member can also access media such as Netflix or YouTube concurrently. Additionally, media convergence has completely evolved audiences’ relationship with the media.
Media convergence has led to an increasingly participatory nature of the media and its previous strict creator – spectator dynamics. Jenkins (2006, p.3) argues media has become reliant on the participation of its audience, stating even “the circulation of media content…depends heavily on the active participation of the consumer”. Consumers have been transformed into participants and producers of media, a transformation easily recognisable through popular culture. This cultural shift has transformed audiences from consumers to “collaborators and activists” (José Alberto García-Avilés, 2012). Fans have moved to the centre of media production; actively using media convergence to produce media and make it widely available for both viewing and sale through multiple platforms. Media convergence has additionally empowered audiences to have a say in what they want. Producers now interact with fans to find inspiration. Similarly, companies often monitor audience activity on media to discern trends and improve marketing. Now, social listening tools such as sysomos.com provide companies with insight into social trends and consumers’ needs, and how to alter their marketing/products to meet these factors. Convergent media has further increased audience control through citizen journalism.
Citizen journalism is “when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do” (About News, 2014). Citizen journalism and semi-independent citizen journalism display professional media’s new found dependence on participatory culture. Now, in addition to convergent media allowing audience’s to create their own news, it allows professionals to utilise audiences’ records/accounts of major events they have shared through media platforms. Jenkins (2006, p.3) additionally regards this participatory nature of media to further ensure “every important story gets told”.
Media convergence has totally transformed the role of audiences. Audiences can now create and access media anywhere and anytime due to media convergence. Thus despite social anxieties concerning media convergence and increasing absorption in the media, evidently the creation, participation and innovation it allows for outweigh these concerns.
Jenkins, H 2006, ‘Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide‘, New York University Press, New York and London.
Livingstone, S 2003, ‘The changing nature of audiences: from the mass audience to the interactive media user‘, LSE Research (Online), London.
García-Avilés, J.A. November 2012, ‘Roles of audience participation in multi-platform television: From fans and consumers, to collaborators and activists‘, Participations- Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, Vol.9, Issue 2, pp. Universidad Miguel Hernández, Spain, page 1, viewed 02/04/2016, http://www.participations.org/Volume%209/Issue%202/24%20Garcia-Aviles.pdf
Tony Rogers, 27th of October 2014, ‘What is Citizen Journalism?‘, About News, viewed 02/04/2016 http://journalism.about.com/od/citizenjournalism/a/whatiscitizen.htm
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