Part 2 convergence and the contemporary media experience

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Information about Part 2 convergence and the contemporary media experience

Published on March 3, 2014

Author: mprieler


Professor: Michael Prieler, Ph.D. Office: Dasan Hall, 5th Floor (Room 507) Tel.: 033-248-1938 1


Convergence What is convergence?

Convergence Convergence To ‘converge’ is to come together or to meet … to become similar.

Technological Convergence Technological convergence: the movement of almost all media and information to digital electronic formats, storage and transfer: the digitization of all media, communications, text, sound, images, and even currency into a common digital format or language. Since the early 1980s, there has been a steady conversion of all those types of media and communication to the 0-1 binary digital format of computers. It is the case now that text, sound, image, and moving image are consumable by the same device, be it a computer, a digital television or a mobile phone.

Technological Convergence

Technological Convergence Advantages to digitization  Networkable: it can be easily distributed through networks. Any information can be shared and exchanged among large numbers of users simultaneously.  Compressible: Compression reduces the amount of bandwidth space needed to send information (in the case of MPEG2 video compression that is a ratio of 55 to 1).  Dense: Another spin-off of compression is the density of digital data in the sense of how much information can be stored in a small space. An MP3 player of today’s technology can hold the equivalent of a small music shop worth of analogue albums.

Technological Convergence Advantages to digitization  Manipulable: Digital information is easily changeable and adaptable, because all manner of text, sound and image are essentially the same. As result, they are infinitely and easily combinable, whether it be combing text, image and sound on a multimedia document or webpage, or the delivery of any form of media off any digital device.  Impartial and/or homogenous: No matter what the source, what the content, no matter what or who the creator or the original intent of the content, all digital data is inherently the same thing … zeros and one.

Technological Convergence It was not until the 1990s that convergent media as we understand it today started to appear. With the explosion in popularity of home PCs and later the internet, distribution of text and image (if not sound and moving image quite by then) was become commonplace, and the concept of networking different media devices was certainly on its way. Now, digital film, recording, publishing and photography are the standard. The internet, computing and especially mobile telephony is increasingly associated with music, television, film as well as personal communication.

ACTIVITY Which type of media do you consume (e.g., newspaper, TV) through which media (e.g., mobile phone, computer, TV)?

Regulatory Convergence Traditionally, telecommunication was an industry dominated by regulated domestic monopolies, with little competition. For example, AT&T British Telecom, France Telecom, Deutsche Telecom were all legislative telecom monopolies in their respective countries. These legislative monopolies were advocated on the logic that such an agreement was the best way to promote universal access to communication technology.

Regulatory Convergence Heavy restriction to expansion outside the telecom sector were justified on the grounds that it would be undesirable for large corporation to be able to control several media and communication sources. The result was large corporations that were severely restricted in what they could do outside their established markets and industries. There were many legislative hurdles designed since the 1920s to prevent communications companies from doing business in other related sectors, so that they do not become too powerful across sectors and monopolize too much of the public sphere and culture.

Regulatory Convergence For example, in the 1920s and 1930s, American telecom giant AT&T was the second largest financial interest in Hollywood film production, but they were forced to give up these interests by the Federal Communication Commission in the 1930s. Similar legislation also later kept AT&T out of the computing industry (Winseck, 1998). A similar philosophy was applied to the media industry where, for example, in the United States, there were many restrictions on how many radio or television stations could be owned by one firm.

Regulatory Convergence This restricted model preventing the concentration of private ownership of media content was commonplace throughout the democratic, free market economies of the world. All of this began to change in the mid 1980s, when the US justice department filed an antitrust suit against AT&T and successfully broke up what was at the time the world’s largest corporation by assets. This was a deregulatory move on the part of the US government, In exchange, the companies that emerged from AT&T were allowed to expand into hitherto forbidden industries like computer and broadcasting. Similar developments in other countries.

ACTIVITY Check online the history of telecommunication in South Korea (your country). Was there also a monopoly in telecommunications in South Korea? Report your findings.

Media Industry Convergence Once the deregulated groundwork had been laid, there followed a large number of mergers and acquisitions in the media and telecom industries. Deregulated and digital networking technology paved the way for the large scale across industry expansion or horizontal integration, in which a firm in one industry (for instance, telecommunications) expanded across to another (such television broadcasting).

Media Industry Convergence The result was the blurring of the boundaries of the telecommunications, computer and media industries into something more or less approaching one giant industry of information production, communication and distribution, in which firms from all of these once separate sectors were now increasingly in competition or partnership on a global scale.

Media Industry Convergence The second form of expansion was vertical integration, in which a firm that is concentrated on one point in the production chain of a sector (for instance, film production) expands into another part of the production chain in the same industry, such as film distribution. Vertical integration within media convergence allows a corporation to potentially control the entire process (or value chain) of a product from raw materials and production, through to distribution, marketing and final sales.

Media Industry Convergence For example, Viacom owns (among many other things) Paramount Films, a large Hollywood-based film production company. When Paramount films create a new film release, it has the benefits of the huge resources of Viacom to ensure its success. These film can be assured good distribution, as Viacom owns the Famous Players cinema chain.

Media Industry Convergence The film can also be rented or sold in Blockbuster Video, also owned by Viacom. In terms of marketing ‘synergies’, this Paramount film can be advertised (and reviewed) on any of the 20 major market television stations Viacom owns in the United States or in its cable and digital television channels such as MTV, VH1, Showtime or Comedy Central. Of course, MTV and VH1 can also promote the soundtrack release to company the film. Perhaps an accompanying video game produced and sold by video games maker XFile (owned by Viacom) will generate spinoff revenues in the music and video game sectors for Viacom, as well as creating additional promotion for the film itself.

Media Industry Convergence The result is a global media dominated by a ‘first tier’ of around ten very large global films. McChesney and Schiller (2003) listed nine films in this first tier (General Electric, Liberty Media, Disney, AOL/Time Warner, Sony, New Corporation, Viacom, Vivendi Universal and Bertelsmann). A more recent list would likely now include Google (worth $97 billion in 2009 and now owning Youtube, Blogger) and Microsoft (worth $136 billion in 2009) and perhaps would exclude Vivendi out of the top tier.

Global Media Giants The past decade's wave of media mergers has produced a complex web of business relationships that now defines America's media and popular culture. These relationships offer a massive opportunity for cross promotion and selling of talent and products among different companies owned by the same powerful parent corporation. (Lee Ye Eun)

1 Sports Atlanta Braves Atlanta Hawks Atlanta Thrashers Turner Sports World Championship Wrestling Goodwill Games Books Time Life Books Book-of-the-Month Club Little, Brown & Co. Bulfinch Press Back Bay Books Warner Books Oxmoor House Magazines Time Magazine Life Magazine Fortune Magazine Sports Illustrated Entertainment Weekly Money People In Style Southern Living Cooking Light The Parent Group This Old House Real Simple Golf Magazine Popular Science Ski Yachting Magazine The Health Publishing Group American Express Publishing Corporation DC Comics ·MAD Magazine Time Warner Production/Distribution Warner Brothers Studios Castle Rock Entertainment New Line Cinema Fine Line Features AOL CompuServe Netscape AOL MovieFone Digital City Networks Production/Distribution WB Television Network HBO Independent Productions HBO New Line Television Cinemax Turner Original Productions Time Warner Sports Warner Brothers Television Comedy Central Warner Brothers Animation CNN ·Looney Tunes CNN/fn ·Hanna-Barbera CNN/SI CNN Headline News Cable Systems TBS Time Warner Cable TNT Cartoon Network Turner Classic Movies Court TV (partial ownership) The Atlantic Group Rhino Records Elektra Entertainment Group London-Sire Records Inc. Warner Bros. Records Warner Music International Time Life Music Columbia House (joint venture) Giant (Revolution) Records (joint venture) Maverick (joint venture) Qwest Records (joint venture) RuffNation Records (joint venture) Sub Pop Records (joint venture) Tommy Boy Records (joint venture) Time Warner (formerly AOL Time Warner) is one of the world's largest media companies, headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Formerly two separate companies, Warner Communications, Inc. and Time Inc., (along with the assets of a third company, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.) form the current Time Warner, with major operations in film, television and publishing. Among its subsidiaries are New Line Cinema, Time Inc., HBO, Turner Broadcasting System, The CW Television Network,, Warner Bros., Kids' WB, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, CNN, DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network Studios and Castle Rock Entertainment.

2 Networks Infinity Broadcasting (manages Westwood One Radio Network) Metro Networks Stations Infinity Broadcasting (owns and operates over 180 stations) Production and Distribution Paramount Pictures MTV Films Nickelodeon Movies Theater Operations United Cinemas International (joint venture with Vivendi Universal) Paramount Theaters Famous Players (Canada) Video Blockbuster Video Viacom MTVi Group CBS Internet Group Nickelodeon Online (35%) Production and Distribution Paramount Spelling Entertainment Group (80%) Big Ticket Television Viacom Productions King World Productions Stations 16 CBS-affiliated stations 19 UPN-affiliated stations Books The Free Press MTV Books Nickelodeon Books Simon & Schuster Pocket Books Scribner Touchstone Networks CBS UPN MTV Network MTV Nickelodeon Nick at Nite TV Land CMT TNN VH1 Noggin Showtime Networks Showtime The Movie Channel Sundance Channel FLIX SET Pay-Per-View BET Comedy Central Famous Music Publishing (copyright owners) Theme Parks Paramount Parks Infinity Outdoor/TDI Worldwide -- the largest outdoor advertising group in the U.S. Star Trek franchise Viacom Inc., short for "Video & Audio Communications", is an American media conglomerate with interests primarily in, but not limited to, cinema and cable television. As of 2010, it is the world's fourth-largest media conglomerate, behind The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner and News Corporation. Comprising BET Networks, MTV Networks, and Paramount Pictures, Viacom connects with audiences through television, motion pictures, mobile platforms and online in more than 160 countries and territories. Viacom operates approximately 170 media networks reaching more than 600 million global subscribers and more than 500 branded digital media properties.

3 Vivendi Universal Studios New Media Group VivendiNet Vizzavi (European multi-access portal) Cegetel (a leading private French wireless operator) Vivendi Telecom International Production/Distribution Universal Studios October Films (partial owner) United International Pictures (partial owner) Cinema International BV (partial owner) Production/Distribution Universal Television Group Multimedia Entertainment Brillstein-Grey Entertainment (partial owner) USA Networks Inc. (partial owner) Canal+ (Europe) Books/Magazines Havas Press (France) Universal Music Group: MCA Records Polygram Island/Def Jam Motown Decca Records Geffen/DGC Records Universal Records Interscope Records Rising Tide Vivendi SA (formerly known as Vivendi Universal) is a French international media conglomerate with activities in music, television and film, publishing, telecommunications, the Internet, and video games. It is headquartered in Paris. Vivendi is a Fortune Global 500 company ranked #264, with a total revenue in the year 2008 of 29.6 billion USD. However, its massive expansion in the late 90s and early 21st century has caused the company both financial and legal trouble. The problems arose during the term of former CEO, Jean-Marie Messier; both US and French regulators are investigating potential cover-ups of company losses.

4 Networks - U.S. FOX Broadcasting Company FOX News Channel FOX Kids Network FOX Sports (partial in some markets) The Health Network fX National Geographic's cable channel (50%) Golf Channel TV Guide Channel (44%) Stations 22 Fox affiliated stations Networks - International British Sky Broadcasting STAR TV (Asia) Radio Fox Sports Radio Network News Corporation (partial ownership with New York Times Co.) Healtheon/WebMD Corp. (partial ownership) Production/Distribution Twentieth Century Fox Blue Sky Studios Fox Searchlight Pictures Books HarperCollins General Book Group Regan Books Amistad Press William Morrow & Co. Avon Books Magazines TV Guide (partial ownership) The Weekly Standard Maximum Golf Newspapers New York Post (U.S.) The Times (U.K.) The Sun (U.K.) News of the World (U.K.) The Australian (Australia) The Daily Telegraph (Australia) The Herald Sun (Australia) The Advertiser (Australia) Los Angeles Dodgers New York Knicks (partial ownership) New York Rangers (partial ownership) Los Angeles Kings (partial ownership) Los Angeles Lakers (partial ownership) Dodger Stadium Staples Center (partial ownership) Madison Square Garden (partial ownership) News Corporation or News Corp. is an American multinational media conglomerate. It is the world's second-largest media conglomerate as of 2011 in terms of revenue, and the world's third largest in entertainment as of 2009, although the BBC remains the world's largest broadcaster. The company's chairman and chief executive is Rupert Murdoch. News Corporation is a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ, with secondary listings on the Australian Securities Exchange. Formerly incorporated in South Australia, the company was re-incorporated under Delaware General Corporation Law after a majority of shareholders approved the move on 12 November 2004. At present, News Corporation is headquartered at 1211 Avenue of the Americas, in New York City, in the newer 1960s–1970s corridor of the Rockefeller Center complex.

5 Production/Distribution UFA Film & TV Production (Germany) Trebitsch Production (Germany) Delux Productions (Luxembourg) Cinevideo (Canada) Holland Media House (Netherlands) First Choice (U.K.) Stations 16 stations in Germany, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, England, Poland, Hungary Bertelsmann AOL Europe (partial ownership) (partial ownership with Barnes and Noble) CDNow Lycos Europe (partial ownership) Napster (partial stake) Networks FM Radio Network (Germany) Stations 17 stations in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden Books Ballatine Publishing Group Bantam Doubleday Dell Bertelsmann Publishing Group Book-of-the-Month Club (owned by AOL Time Warner, managed by Bertelsmann) Crown Publishing Group Doubleday Fodors Travel Publications Knopf Publishing Group Random House Inc. Magazines Gruner & Jahr Child Family Circle (majority owner) Fitness Inc. McCall's (majority owner) Parents (majority owner) YM (majority owner) Arista Records BMG BMG Music Publishing BMG Music Service RCA Records Bad Boy Records LaFace Records Time Bomb Records Windham Hill Group Bertelsmann AG is a multinational media corporation founded in 1835, based in Gütersloh, Germany. The company operates in 63 countries and employs 102,983 workers (as of December 31, 2009), which makes it the most international media corporation in the world. In 2008 the company reported a €16.118 billion consolidated revenue and an operating EBIT of €1.568 billion. Among its some 2000 subdivisions, subsidiaries, and branches are Random House, RTL Group, Gruner + Jahr, Arvato, and BMG Rights Management.

6 Production/Distribution Columbia TriStar Domestic Television Columbia TriStar International Television Sony Pictures Family Entertainment Telemundo Group (partial ownership) Cable Sony Entertainment Television (India, Latin America) Game Show Network (jointly owned with Liberty Digital) HBO Asia (partial ownership) SET Asia (partial ownership) Cinemax Asia (partial ownership) HBO Ole, Latin America (partial ownership) Cinemax, Latin America (partial ownership) E! Entertainment Television, Latin America (partial ownership) The Movie Channel, Middle East (partial ownership) Showtime, Australia (partial ownership) Encore, Australia (partial ownership) Sky Cinema, Japan (partial ownership) SONY Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment Sony Online Entertainment Sony Computer Entertainment (computer games, PlayStation) Record labels Columbia Records Epic Records Harmony Records Legacy Recordings Loud Records Sony Music Soundtracks Monument and Lucky Dog Sony Electronics Sony Life Insurance Metreon (a mall in San Francisco) Mambo Rubenstein Dragnet Squatt Sony Classical Arc of Light Masterworks Sony Broadway SEON Vivarte Distribution Columbia House Music Club (joint venture with AOL Time Warner) pressplay (joint venture with AOL Time Warner) Production/Distribution Sony Pictures Entertainment -Columbia Pictures -Sony Pictures Classics -Screen Gems TriStar Pictures Columbia TriStar Films (U.K.) Columbia TriStar Film Distributors Sony Pictures Imageworks (animation) Sony Pictures Studios Theaters Loews Theatres (partial ownership) Star Theatres (partial ownership) Cineplex Odeon (partial ownership) Plitt Theatres (partial ownership) RKO Century Warner Theatres (partial ownership) Walter Reade Theatres (partial ownership) Merchandise Sony Pictures Consumer Products Video Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment Columbia House Video & Disc Club (joint venture with AOL Time Warner) Sony Corporation, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues. Sony's principal business operations include Sony Corporation (Sony Electronics in the U.S.), Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Ericsson, and Sony Financial.

7 Networks ABC The Disney Channel SoapNet ESPN (partial ownership with Hearst) A&E (partial ownership with Hearst and GE) The History Channel (partial ownership with Hearst and GE) Lifetime (partial ownership with Hearst) E! (partial ownership with Comcast, MediaOne and Liberty Media) Television Stations 10 television stations Television Production/Distribution Buena Vista Television Touchstone Television Walt Disney Television, Animation Radio ABC Radio Networks Radio Disney ESPN Radio 27 radio stations The Walt Disney Company Buena Vista Internet Group: Family.Com ESPN Internet Group Production/Distribution Walt Disney Pictures Touchstone Pictures Hollywood Pictures Caravan Pictures Miramax Films Buena Vista Home Entertainment (60%) Infoseek (43%) (majority stake) Buena Vista Music Group Hollywood Records Lyric Street Records Mammoth Records Walt Disney Records Books Walt Disney Company Book Publishing Hyperion Books Talk/Miramax Books Magazines Discover Magazine Disney Magazine ESPN Magazine Talk US Weekly (50% stake) Daily Newspapers County Press (Lapeer, MI) Oakland Press and Reminder (Pontiac, MI) Narragansett Times St. Louis Daily Record Theme Parks Disneyland Walt Disney World Disney-MGM Studios EuroDisney (partial owner) Disneyland Japan Epcot Disney's Animal Kingdom Disney's California Adventure Disney Cruise Line Sports Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Anaheim Angels (partial ownership) Theater Walt Disney Theatrical Productions The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. The company is best known for the products of its film studio, the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, and today one of the largest and best-known studios in Hollywood. Disney also owns and operates the ABC broadcast television network; cable television networks such as Disney Channel, ESPN, and ABC Family; publishing, merchandising, and theatre divisions; and owns and licenses 14 theme parks around the world.

ACTIVITY Is there also a big media company existing in Korea (your country)? What types of media are owned by this company (e.g., newspapers, TV stations, etc.)? Search in the Internet and report your findings.

Concerns about Convergence Threats to democracy and accountability that follow when the media and the public sphere become dominated by a small number of large corporations. As a result, the public are put in a position where they are only exposed to a narrow range of accounts or views of the world, thus providing these corporation with massive power and influence over the public, and over elected government.

Concerns about Convergence Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation owns hundred of newspapers worldwide including, in the UK, the Sun, the News of the World and The Times. News Corp also owns BSKyB, The UK’s largest satellite and digital television broadcaster. Thus, Murdoch is said to have a large influence on UK national politics, including elections. The last four British Prime Ministers (Cameron, Blair, Major, Thatcher) have all got support from Rupert Murdoch’s media.

Concerns about Convergence Italian Silvio Berlusconi used his ownership of three terrestrial (and several digital) television channels, and ownership of Italy’s largest publishing house as a stepping stone to be elected Prime Minister on three separate occasions. He is famous for using his power over Italy’s media to target political and judicial opposition.

DISCUSSION Do you share these concerns about the convergence of the media industry?

FILM McChesney: Rich Media, Poor Democracy


Minute Paper Most interesting? Least interesting? Most unclear? Most important? Others? 37


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