Friday, August 31, 2012

Assignment 1 Essay

Discuss then phenomonem of digital media convergence in relation to advertising and new media

Media and advertising are intrinsically linked, you can’t go anywhere online or in person without being subjected to advertising.  Companies are constantly looking for new ways to advertise to “distracted, distrustful and disinterested consumers” (Spurgeon, 2008). Convergent digital media is one way these companies are addressing the issue. ‘Long tail’ and ‘Madison and Vine’ have both “contributed to rapid changes” and “stimulated rapid growth” in new ways of advertising (Spurgeon, 2008). These changes have helped to establish the new myriad of methods by which digital medium are used to advertise. 

Today’s audience has access to more technology, which changes the way viewers access their shows. Thanks to this advancing technology viewers are given a wider range of mediums to enjoy a particular content. Convergence between broadcasting services and telecommunication services and provisioning of rich media services are two major requirements that recent mobile broadcast TV services try to satisfy(Lee, 2008). This has meant that medium have had to share the limelight as it were, but this allows for more advertising opportunities. This will be discussed further using the popular Doctor Who series (a famous regenerating alien, played so far by 11 actors) as our lead example.

Digital Convergence is the meeting of all different medium on which a particular text appears, such as television show or an ad. “Convergence is never just a technology process, but it is implicated in and expressed as profound and ongoing social, cultural and economic change” (Dwyer, 2008). This means that convergence is the social acceptance and thereafter a continuation of that change, permanently altering things. The old remains but not without making space for a lot of the new. This is a main concern of the modern advertising agencies and companies who’re trying to sell their products to wider, and more elusive, audiences.  “Convergence between broadcasting services and telecommunication services and provisioning of rich media services are two major requirements that recent mobile broadcast TV services try to satisfy” (Lee, 2008).

Digital convergence has altered the way people consume media, and therefore changed the battlefield for advertising. This allows for a wide range of media for advertising, such as social networking sites like facebook and twitter, websites, magazines, traditional tv channels, radio, newspapers, and others, but it also needs to consider that this is an essential change, not optional. If a station were to advertise its new show on television only, it would first need to consider the change in the average number of viewers. In a lecture, MAS110 ‘Music Video’, presented at Macquarie University, Sydney, on 15 August 2012, Dr. Liz Giuffre cited that: “these days one million watchers for one tv show is good”. Compare this to Doctor Who’s 12-14 million weekly viewers during it’s prime years (Perryman, p23, 2008).

This alone shows how different the media platforms of today are, compared to previous decades. Consider the advertising power that exists for Doctor Who, if every item of it’s broadcast also doubles as an mini-advertisement. My T-shirt reminds you to buy the DVD that your mother watches and prompts her to buy the tie-in book series, which she reads to your godson who becomes another life long fan. Like the Tardis, it’s bigger on the inside.

Doctor Who is a good case of modern day convergent media advertising. The television show is only the start. A monthly magazine keeps viewers in the loop behind the scenes, and two shows have sprouted off to expand the Dr Who universe, Torchwood and the Sarah Jane adventures. The DVD sets of the modern and classic series are at all ABC shops, as well as video games, toys and even clothing,  just to name a few.

Like in the example given by Jenkins (2006) of Bert and Osama Bin Laden, media can collide to make us think of something else when we see something mundane. Similarly whenever someone sees a Police Box the most common thought is ‘Doctor Who’. What used to advertise the police has become an avatar for the English sci-fi character and show.

From this we see that Doctor Who has grown into a multi medium juggernaut, where it’s possible to reach potential audiences everywhere. The issue is then that the viewers must be reached by these means, seeing the latest consumer trends don’t follow that ‘television is king’. Spurgeon (2008) states “many large national and transnational advertisers are dissatisfied with the uncertain performance of ‘old media’.

With the last decade’s explosion of technological platforms, access to content has likewise increased. The concept of “watching” a show, or being a consumer of it, has changed radically. Technology has sprouted the platform into a many petaled flower, all petals of which the watcher consumes from. Dr Who’s multi platform story highlights a current leading trend in this new method of wide digital broadcast, and sets the agenda for future successful shows to follow.


Dwyer, T 2010, Media Convergence, McGraw Hill, Berkshire, pp 1-23.

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

Lee, B-D, Member , Song, J, and Nam, Y-K, 2008, ‘Converged Mobile TV services supporting rich media in cellular and DVB-H systems, Institute of Electronics Electrical Engineers (IEEE), pp 1091-1097.

Perryman, N, 2008, ‘Doctor Who and the convergence of media: a case study in Transmedia Storytellig’, Sage Publications, vol 14(1): 21-39.

Spurgeon, C, 2008, Advertising and new media, Oxon, Routledge, pp 24-45.

Amy Smart 42778468

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