Friday, August 31, 2012

Online Essay - Digital Media Convergence in Relation to Advertising and New Media

Discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to Advertising & New Media.

In the current media climate, advertising seems to be something that is virtually inescapable. Advertising industries have evolved, leaving advertising companies “dissatisfied with the uncertain performance of ‘old’ media” (Spurgeon 2008 pp.27). This is largely due to the evolution of the Internet, which is now a significant force in media and advertising flows. Dwyer (2010) defines ‘media convergence’ as “the process whereby new technologies are accommodated by existing media”. In the case of advertising and new media, the Internet plays the role of the new technology, being ‘accommodated’ into the existing media of the advertising industry. Sheehan & Morrison (2009) use the term “confluence”, which is perhaps more apt in describing convergence in the case of advertising and new media. They define a ‘confluence’ as “a place where things merge or flow together… the situation where traditional methods of work adapt to embrace the new reality of interactive content” (Sheehan & Morrison 2009).

Advertising can be split into two forms, ‘informational advertising’ and ‘creative and persuasive advertising’ (Spurgeon 2008). Informational advertising “appeals to reason and usually addresses the fulfillment of human needs” whereas creative and persuasive advertising “seek[s] to influence purchasing decisions by indulging human emotions and wants” (Spurgeon 2008 pp. 24). This is critical, because appealing to the ‘emotions and wants’ of people drives the way advertisers promote their products. They try to find new ways to reach their audience by ‘creatively embedding’ (Spurgeon 2008) their advertisements in media that their audiences are more than happy to consume. 

This is the concept behind product placement, the most common example being when advertisers pay for their products to appear in a movie or television shows. Sometimes the appearance of product placement is very well concealed as a natural part of the movie, so the audience may not even notice they are being advertised to. One such example is the Disney Pixar movie franchise ‘Toy Story’, which contained advertisements for many toy brands, which seemed to fit seamlessly into the movie. The product placement was of toys in the child’s room, and the movie is solely about the adventures of toys, so this didn’t seem like something intentional that you would notice right away as a consumer, until you come to the realization that everything in the entire movie must be intentional since it is an animated feature. Product placement in Toy Story 3 alone was extensive; it included Apple, Barbie, Corvette, eBay, Fisher-Price and Sharpie (BrandChannel 2010) among others. In other instances product placement can be very obvious. 

An extreme example of this is in the 1992 film ‘Wayne’s World’. Wayne’s World is supposed to be a satirical comedy, having originally developed as a skit on Saturday Night Live. A lot of movies can’t avoid some form of product placement, and Wayne’s World takes advantage of the fact that they need to incorporate some level of it by blatantly flaunting it for comedic effect. 

This concept has been taken one step further, where companies have now taken to producing entertainment with the sole purpose of advertising their product, known as “branded entertainment” (Spurgeon 2008 pp.40). One particularly prominent example of this is the branded entertainment produced by BMW. The car company created an entire series of short films using famous producers, directors and actors to advertise their cars on the Internet (Spurgeon 2008). 

Taking this further still is advertising for a very specific target audience through branded entertainment. ‘Dating Rules from my Future Self’ is a 2012 web series produced by Alloy Entertainment, an established and trusted entertainment company that also produces popular television shows such as Gossip Girl (Wharton 2012). This show is made with the same quality of a television show, but it is split into small episodes for the Internet web series format. A romantic comedy, it is obviously targeted at the predominantly female audience traditionally associated with that genre, and the sponsors take advantage of this. The show’s premise, characters and storyline are all aimed at this particular demographic, and each episode contains quite obvious, almost shameless product placement and advertising. Each episode is brought to you by a different sponsor, and usually whichever sponsor’s name is on the episode from the beginning features their products throughout. For example, in episodes that are brought to you by the car company Ford, you can be sure that the character will be driving around in her Ford Focus and utilizing the voice recognition features the car offers. 

Ford and the constantly shown Apple iPhone, which happens to be almost central to the plot, are possibly the only product placements in the entire show that are not specifically and exclusively targeted at women. Product placement from sponsors throughout the two seasons of the show include the Schick® Quattro for Women® TrimStyle® razor, Revlon Top Speed nail polish, Garnier® hair products and Bioré® skin care products. The sponsorship takes a bizarre turn in the last episode of the second season, when the episode is brought to you by a film that is going to be released later in 2012.

 Companies choose carefully what to sponsor and where to have their products appear in order to keep a reputation with consumers, and this kind of advertising shows this. As d'Astous & Séguin (1999 pp. 896) point out, a “sponsor is likely to gain goodwill by associating itself with a popular program targeted to a selected audience”. This web series is a perfect example of this. ‘Dating Rules from my Future Self’ shows attractive, intelligent, vibrant young women using particular products in their everyday lives. The storylines and characters the show attracts are exactly the target audience for the show, and sponsors recognize that if they want to reach that target audience, this show is how to do it because it is more than just an advertisement, but actual entertainment that their target audience will happily seek out themselves and consume. In this way, this show is the epitome of digital media convergence in relation to advertising. It shows convergence between television, advertising and the Internet to produce a very specific and effective form of branded entertainment that audiences actively consume.


  • BrandChannel 2010, Product Placement in Movies, Product placement in movies released in 2010, Interbrand, New York, viewed 30 August 2012, <>
  • d'Astous, A. & Séguin, N. 1999,’Consumer reactions to product placement strategies in television sponsorship’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 33, Issue 9, pp. 896 - 910
  • Dwyer, T. 2010, Media Convergence, McGraw Hill, Berkshire, pp. 1-23
  • Sheehan, K. & Morrison, D. 2009, ‘Beyond Convergence: Confluence Culture and the role of advertising Agency in a Changing World’, First Monday, Vol. 14, No. 3, viewed 29 August 2012, <>
  • Spurgeon, C. 2008, ‘From the ‘Long Tail’ to ‘Madison and Vine’: Trends in advertising and New Media’, Advertising and New Media, Routledge, Oxon, pp. 24-45
  • Wharton, D. 2012, ‘Web Series Dating Rules From My Future Self Takes Retro Approach To Romance’, Television Blend, viewed 30 August 2012, <>

Assignment 1 Online Music Videos - Justin Pabustan

The ever growing nature of the music industry continues to do so limitlessly throughout the contexts, developing not only in genre and style but also through its delivery and distribution. The music industry itself continues to live on through convergence with the film industry and through digital means allowing it to firmly establish itself within society. Through these means of digital convergence previously produced singles and albums continue to survive, representing a moment in time in which fits a particular context and style in music. A monumental development of online media and digital convergence can be considered accountable for it has enabled access and delivery to individuals who seek nostalgia in past music videos of the past or mainstream music. Real world examples which have been utilized to take form to these online media delivery and distribution systems, old and new, are YouTube and Vevo. These have revolutionized the methods of access through their basic means and mass archive potential.

The viral and revolutionary phenomenon that is YouTube (Hilderbrand 2007) represents a digital convergence with the music and film industry and the rapid developments of the internet, taking form as an online and wireless means of distribution and delivery.  YouTube, although has other uses relating to user-generated videos, has done significantly well for the revival of older music and distribution of newer music, acting as a formal and organized archive of media texts  (Hilderbrand 2007)  providing access to music video media that were not available only a few years ago (Trip 2012). This has been supported by the convergence with establishments such as the Internet and Google with the expansions of high speed connections and growing computer memory capacities developing into a revolutionary viable outlet for music-film media online, as well as the access and availability to them on a massive scale. (Hilderbrand 2007)  This convergence supports and is a leading means into creating all content will be digital, interactive and shared within this archive which allows this media library for nostalgic and scholarly uses as cultural memory is then developed as it allows users to seek out the media texts that have shaped them and which also represents their time and context that they have grown and not allowing it to be forgotten in the histories (Hilderbrand 2007). It is significant in this way as it serves as a sort of link to the past for the older generation and the new which could help develop both industries with a comparative standpoint of the past, present and future. Its utilization with its layouts has helped this experience further as the user has control of their video experience due to simple things such as the search bar and recommended videos panels allow this to continue giving them control of their time surfing.

Comparing Call Me Maybe 



Comparing the two videos, the delivery of YouTube seems to face limitations in quality, indicating that it isnt the original video, as it was badly recorded and water marked receiving dislikes and negative comments relating to its quality.While the Vevo version is Perfect Quality, not distorted and sounds as it should.

A main benefit of having digital media compared to analogue copies of music videos is the benefit of quality. YouTube is often user-generated allowing individuals at home to utilize and upload the content to this archive, but would often be abysmal quality which would ruin the experience due to the nature of analogue recording or quality limitations at that time e.g. VCR, telesync or camcorded . This in turn the copyright claims of the music industry would be involved which could take down the videos as there is no authorization of their content. This then creates issues with utilizing YouTube’s ability to archive as they are forced to take down these videos and are therefore prevented as it was user based limiting high quality accessibility to other means of media such as Pay TV, proving to be ineffective in this media delivery of music videos.

Vevo has also been used as an archive for music videos as unlike YouTube, it specializes with online music videos. It has made digital convergence through YouTube establishing itself as a meta within it as it as well as an entirely separate service giving access to perfect quality videos of the past and present for the enjoyment of viewing for those who seek it. These two outlets have converged together to establish a means in a better and easier experience as YouTube users alone did not have the authority of the music industries content, but an expansion from the music industry into online music videos have proven beneficial for them and the viewers, as it allows distribution and access to their content in a way that is not limited to just YouTube limitations of copyright infringement. As we can understand the importance of convergence with outlets like Vevo which had been originally rooted with YouTube, a sense of déjà vu can often take hold,(Bassett, Hartmann, O’Riordan 2008) but through similar experiences incorporated within their regime, they have developed and understood the positive aspects of YouTube and have utilized that and have made it a different and new experience through a major focus on music videos creating different systems of navigation, searches and recommended videos, while still maintaining its role supporting online music videos. The digitals copies are the originals and have not been recorded in an analogue nature which assures the experience to be much better for the viewer at home.  It has also rivaled pay TV dominance over music videos as it is much more accessible as well as gives the user much more choice over their music experience due to the vast nature of the Vevo library and the lack of limitations of set broadcasts that pay tv such as Channel V and Music Max has (Shepherd 2012), which questions the need for music television when other services offers a better alternative of digital convergence.

Music videos hold on society is within their industry, the ways of distribution and adaptability to new means of delivery. As technology advances, such as the internet and computer hardware and software, the need for digital convergence is crucial in order to improve the experience of its users and allow them easy access to their desired resources. An establishment of online music videos have arisen which has taken better methods distribution and delivery which has helped it stay relevant. Youtube and Vevo are prime examples of digital convergence as their roles as archives preserve the music videos of the present and past in a convenient and accessible manner.  

Reference List
Bassett C, Hartmann M, O’ Riordan K (2008) ‘After convergence: what connects?’ The Fibreculture Journal; Issue 13 2008.
Hilderbrand, L (2007), ‘Youtube: Where Cultural Memory and Copyright Coverage’, Film Quarterly Vol 61, pp 48-57
Shepherd, B (2012), ‘Vevo gives music videos a new advertiser-ready home.’ Encore; May2012, Vol. 32 Issue 5, pp10-10, 1/2p
Tripp, S (2012), ‘From TVTV to YouTube: A Genealogy of Participatory Practices in Video.’ Journal of Film & Video; Spring/Summer2012, Vol. 64 Issue ½, pp5-16, 12p

Assignment #1 - Online Essay Question

The marvel of music video online has been brought upon by the “process whereby new technologies are accommodated by existing media and communication industries and cultures” (Dwyer 2006:2), otherwise known as the phenomenon of digital media convergence. A fundamental shift from music video television to music video online has occurred over the past decade which has aided the success of online delivery methods such as ‘YouTube’ and ‘VEVO’. Herein, the argument can be made that the classic television programs and channels for music video like ‘Rage’ and ‘MTV’ have now taken a back seat to the succeeding online approaches. Therefore, Alex Munt’s article “New Directions in Music Video” is appropriately titled and the content within it aptly postulated that music video has indeed been directed onto a different path.

In order to effectively discuss the dynamics of music video online, the inception of music video television in the 1980’s must be evaluated to soundly understand this shift to the preferred modern online methods. Specifically, the launch of MTV in 1981 allowed artists to showcase their latest hits on television in a video clip. The proclaimed ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson, completely and utterly revolutionised the production of music videos with his ever so famous “Thriller” clip. His explicitly unique and distinct style inspired a generation permitting for break-through artists for the future. A clear modern day example of this can be seen through R&B producer and recording artist Usher.

At the time Usher arguably produced his most famous record in Confessions, MTV and music video television were of high popularity and due to this it is almost impossible not to listen to the song without recollecting the renowned mirror shattering scene towards the end of his video clip. In such a poignant song where Usher is literally on his knees confessing all of his wrongdoings, the shattering of the mirror represents a flawless personification of the world crumbling down on him. Nevertheless, digital media convergence has produced an exponential growth in music video online because of the “increasing availability of broadband coupled with the difficulty of streaming longer videos through the current Internet technology” (Munt 2007: 3). Consequently, this has seemingly altered the way music videos are now produced.

The “viral spread of music video on portals such as YouTube and Vimeo is consistent with ‘the rise of clip culture’ online” (Geist 2007) has generated for new artists and with that, an utterly innovative method of music video online. Weird Al Yankovic is a prime artist who has successfully played on this new era of music video. Weird Al has been noted for his humorous parody of rap star Chamillionaire’s hit record “Ridin’ Dirty” with his version “White and Nerdy”. This music video of ‘White and Nerdy’, although being a sheer mockery of the original entwined with its low-budget capacity, has caught the attention of millions with an astounding 72 000 000 hits on YouTube. Interestingly, this is 53 000 000 more hits than the original ‘Ridin’ Dirty’.

Despite this shift to music video online and its distinctive style, elements from previous ways of presenting music videos, primarily music video television, have been retained. Just like on the all night music television program ‘Rage’ whereby you are able to submit clips to be aired, digital media convergence has allowed for user-generated sites like YouTube to upload any video that you desire. One of the most prosperous examples of this in modern day context is the music video of “Here It Goes Again” by OK Go. The financial side in constructing this video would be close to nothing as the only significant monetary factor needed to be allocated would be the hiring of the treadmills. Nonetheless, despite the minimal effort contributed towards making the music video, it has received a staggering 14 458 966 hits on YouTube reflecting the sheer popularity in this different style of online music video.

The significance of Jenkins’ (2008:13) statement that "old media never die—and they don't even necessarily fade away” is prominent in understanding this shift towards music video online. In agreement with Jenkins, Austerlitz (2008:13) boldly clarifies any ambiguity by asserting that ‘the music video did not die; it merely mutated, onto a new host: the Internet’. Moreover, Shani Orgad contends the argument of ‘Mobile TV’. As technological factors have advanced and it is now possible to access internet via your mobile phone, the genius of accessing music video on smart phones have risen in popularity. According to Orgad (2009:198), “more than half a billion customers subscribed to video services on their mobile phones in 2011”. This meritoriously renders the effects of digital media convergence for the future of music video.

Ultimately, music video has undergone significant changes over the past three decades primarily from being aired on television channels and programs such as ‘MTV’ and ‘Rage’ to online delivery methods. These approaches have been successful through user-generated websites like YouTube and Google Videos which have presented the industry with an utterly unique style of music video because of digital media convergence. Herein the flair, effort and passion that went into music videos with the likes of pop and R&B icons in Michael Jackson and Usher have now been altered with online methods producing low-budget handmade videos such as “Here it Goes Again” by OK Go.


Austerlitz, Saul 2008 Money for Nothing: A history of the music video from the Beatles to the White Stripes, New York: Continuum

Dwyer, T 2010, Media Convergence, McGraw Hill, Berkshire, pp 1-23.
Giest, Michael 2007 ‘The Rise of Clip Culture Online’, BBC News, at, March 2006 (accessed 1 November 2010)

Jenkins, Henry 2008 Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide, New York: New York University Press

Munt, Alex 2011 New directions in music video : Vincent Moon and the ‘ascetic aesthetic’, Australia: Australasian Association of Writing Progams

Orgad, Shani 2009 Mobile TV : Old and new in the construction of an emergent technology Convergence, vol 15 no 2 pp 197 – 214