What is 'Convergence Culture'?
“We are entering an era where media will be everywhere, and we
will use all kinds of media in relation to one another...”
Henry Jenkins, Convergence? I Diverge, 2001
Tom, David, Lewis
What Is Media Convergence?
The combination of new media and old media within a single
piece of media work – the coming together of different media
– For example, video gaming –
using old media (television) to
play games from new media
technology in the form of a
games console (e.g. Xbox,
Playstation, etc.), rather than
simply watching programmes
– Another example, is using a
mobile phone to listen to music,
using the old media idea of
personal music players, but
applying it to the new media
ideas of a mobile phone that
incorporates multiple platforms
of media technology. (explored
more later on)
The digitisation of all media content. When words, images and
sounds are transformed into digital information, we expand the
potential relationships between them and enable them to flow
– The joining of multiple media
technologies. For example, a mobile
phone is expected to make and
receive calls and text messages.
However, as the technology has
evolved, they can now take pictures,
record video, play games, access the
internet, and can be used as mp3
players. It is the convergence of
many media technologies allowing
one media product to perform many
Is the horizontal integration of the entertainment industry.
Companies such as Sony and (the former) AOL-TimeWarner
now have interests in film, TV, books, games, the internet,
music, real estate, etc.
This is resulting in the transmedia exploitation of branded
properties including Star Wars, Pokémon and Harry Potter
(to mention just a few). All have other forms of media
associated with the original product, in order to expand the
potential audience and saturate the market.
Star Wars – Originally a film Pokemon – Video Game Harry Potter – Book
Now – books, comics, TV series,
merchandise, video games,
soundtrack CDs, etc
Now – TV series, film, books,
trading card game, merchandise
Now – films, merchandise, video
games, soundtrack CDs
Social or Organic Convergence
When users utilise multiple media technologies
simultaneously, such as listening to music whilst watching
TV or playing video games.
When the 'audience' becomes the 'user'. Media technology
has given the 'audience' the tools to “archive, annotate,
appropriate, and recirculate content.”
Companies use this to create low-cost content.
Outsourcing – using 'user-generated' content in internet
programmes (and sometimes films/TV) shown on sites
including Youtube, e.g. The Machinima styled Red vs.
Blue, an example of human-computer interaction and
interactivity, one of the key trends associated with
'new media' – 'play, create, upload, watch, share.”
The cultural hybridity that develops from the international circulation of
Cinema – the global circulation of Asian Popular Cinema profoundly
shapes Hollywood entertainment. Many well-known Asian Actors often
crossover to Western Cinema, including Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon & Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End see
below), Zhang Ziyi (House of Flying Daggers & Rush Hour 2 see
below) and Jackie Chan (Drunken Master & also Rush Hour 2)
This is an example of the experience of being a citizen of the 'global
These multiple forms of media convergence are leading us
toward a digital renaissance – a period of transition and
transformation that will affect all aspects of our lives.
Media convergence is sparking a range of social, political,
economic and legal disputes because of conflicting goals of
consumers, producers and gatekeepers.
These contradictory forces are pushing towards cultural
diversity, homogenization, commercialisation and towards
grassroots cultural production.
– Henry Jenkins
Media Convergence is what makes humans dependent on
media. The convergence of media products/technology
means that, in theory, we do not have to leave our homes as
(almost) everything can be achieved at the touch of a button.
“The digital renaissance will be the best of times and the worst
of times, but a new cultural order will emerge from it...”