Thursday, August 30, 2012

Convergent Media Essay_MarkMostert_43049389

Essay Question MAS110

Discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to one of the following: Advertising and New Media or Music Video Online.


The phenomenon of digital media convergence is a direct result of analogues’ and “old media’s” shortcomings. The transmission of messages globally, the ability for consumers to produce and distribute their own content, as well as the ability for identical methods or distribution allowed digital media to revolutionise the contemporary media landscape. This essay aims to discuss and analyse the advantages of advertising and new media, through a marketer’s perspective, in relation to convergent digital media forms.

Media convergence, as Jenkins defines as the ‘flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries and the migratory behaviour of audiences” (Jenkins, 2006). Digital media convergence is a fairly new paradigm, made more apparent in our everyday lives through the emergence of smart phones and other multimedia devices. The growth of new media has led to new ways for advertisers to market products over traditional forms such as billboards and television advertisements. Examples of these new modes of advertising are evident through social media networking services such as Facebook. Facebook can be easily accessed through a range of convergent digital media devices such as smartphones, computers and smart TVs and with the possibility of reaching mass audiences of over 750 million as of September 2011 (Meikle + Young, 2012) its no wonder that advertisers have tapped into supremacy. “It is estimated that, by 2015, social media will become a mainstream mass-media platform that, in one form or another, will engage one third of the world’s population” (Nelson-Field, 2012).

Marketers create Facebook Fan pages for their brands and then encourage Facebook users to become “Fans” of these pages by clicking the “like” button on the page. Once a user has “liked” a brand’s they may receive brand updates and the comments of other brand Fans in their personal newsfeed (Nelson-Field). The introduction of the “timeline” on fan pages, allows marketers to insert key dates on fan pages through the “milestone” application (Lam, 2012). This results in an increase of interactivity between the consumer and the fan page, allowing consumers to investigate and explore a brands history and products. Similarly, Fans are able to “share” these posts, through the simple at of clicking the share button. The post will appear on the Fans home page, and in the Fans friends “newsfeed”. 

This ability is one of the main causes of advertising videos going “viral”. Viral videos are a marketer’s dream, due to the exposure a brand receives and its relatively low costs to produce. Viral videos are shared across a variety of social media forms such as Youtube, and Twitter and can be accessed by many digital media devices. An example of an advertisement video going viral is shown below

Further more, the cover photo located at the top of the fan page, allows a brand to refresh its image, and if updated regularly, can coincide with product launches and new events (Lam,2012) further exposing a brands product or image to the mass audience. Additionally marketers are now able to “pin” posts they make on fan pages, which are of importance, such as newly release products, and will stay on the top of the page wall for several days.

“The Reach Generator” is a new addition to Facebook, that allows brands fan pages with more than 500,00 Fans to pay a fixed fee to ensure their content reaches a “guaranteed 75% of their existing fan base each month compared to the average 16% that a page's posts currently achieve without paid support”. (Lam, 2012). With the “Reach Generator”, fans might see the brand's message in different ways: as a sponsored story on the right hand side of their homepage, or in their newsfeed (included in the mobile version)(Lam, 2012). Essentially, Reach Generator transforms a post on a brand's page into a sponsored story on its fans' homepage. Similarly, Facebook now includes the ability for a brand to pay for promotion of their Fan page or posts. A brand's post on their page will appear in the right hand side of its fans' home pages as sponsored stories, or in their newsfeeds, while the same story will appear as an ad on the right hand side of their homepage for non-fans.

The act of “liking” brands on Facebook has dramatically increased in popularity in recent years. In part, this is due to the natural growth of the Facebook platform but also as a result of its increasing cross functionality with other online media and portability with other digital devices. (Nelson-Field, 2012). From this we can see how interrelated convergent media devices have become with new media and advertising.

Reference List

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide. NY University Press

Yu Lam, Cai. (2012). Facebook’s new ad rules: a marketer’s guide. Warc Exclusive

Nelson-Field, K. Riebe, E and Sharp, B. (2012). What's Not to . Journal of Advertising Research. 52 (2), pg1-12

Meikle, G. and Young, S. (2012) Chapter 1 “Content, Computing, Communications” in Media Convergence: Networked Digital Media in Everyday Life. Palgrave Macmillan, pp 20-34

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