convergence

The "Convergence Culture," by Henry Jenkins, focused on the trend of consolidation of a wide range of mediums into a single package offering to consumer. At work are two forces, "both and top-down corporate-driven process and a bottom-up consumer driven process." Businesses hope to make money in many markets, while consumers demand constant entertainment and display less loyalty to one medium.

"Convergence Culture" ties together much of what we have been looking at over the semester, into a "What does it all mean for media" question. In our readings, Jenkins addresses several aspects of the demands of new media, both business and consumer. He discusses how advertising is changing to adjust to the media demands of consumers by interjecting more product placement, and the business challenge, that "the American viewing public is becoming harder and harder to impress," and the need for new ways to "capture their interest."
For consumers he discusses Fan culture, and how it provides both a challenge and possibility for companies to capitalize on it. He uses American Idol, Heros, and Survivor as examples of shows that have captivated audiences.

One question that was unanswered in discussion and posted to the blog, is very relevant. How do you think current television seeks to locate, understand, and manipulate the emotional underpinnings of viewers?

Jenkins would point to reality television as a great example. In reality television the creators attempt to design a show that leads to connections with actors, that have suspense and drama, and always an open end that will draw the viewer back for the next episode.

In a greater sense, Jenkins would argue that in the new media environment, content creators must create a product that people will not just watch, but will also feel an emotional attachment that will lead them to engage in it. Attachments that will lead them to buy the companion ring tone, download clips to their iPod, contribute to an online discussion board, etc.