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Examine and evaluate how one media organisation has adapted to convergence: BBC.
Across the media, many media organizations have responded and adapted to convergence through welcoming multi-media platforms to help with spreading their content. In this essay I will be discussing how the BBC has adapted to convergence and the outcome of it all.
What is convergence?
Convergence is when different of forms of media platforms come together to make a huge multi-platform to give the ability to distribute content to many people. Convergence has become both technological as well as social, the audiences play such an important role in making sure that content is distributed widely across the different platforms.
The World Wide Web has been one of the most important contributors to the huge phenomenon of media convergence. Over time it has developed so much that is has allowed a huge range of media related platforms such as video, print and audio to be accessible and available from anywhere. The internet has definitely changed a lot about the way that audiences now absorb and access all this information. Moreover, one main aspect of convergence which has become really popular is mobile. It has allowed any information to reach the hands of anyone using a handheld mobile which has internet on it. For example, many companies and organizations such as the BBC and Channel 4 News have started to change the way that they present their content, making sure that they use short and straight to the point headlines which is directed to audiences who are always on the go. This is simply because companies want to make sure that their content is accessible anywhere and at any time to make sure they keep audience satisfaction rates high, as well as making sure that audiences are always up to date with headline news that is happening all over the world.
However, one thing which has helped things go further is obviously the internet. The internet has allowed the use of visual clips and images to act as the story teller of most of the headlines. Most websites that people visit using their mobiles, the BBC being one of them, they use photographs to tell the story of certain events. The photos usually have a small caption under them to briefly explain the picture, however, the image is the one that does most of the story telling. Photographs are a benefit for audiences who use handheld devices and smart phones because it allows them to see the image clearer and get a feel of what they are going to read about rather than reading through several lines. Also, looking at the videography side, most websites now allow audiences to watch a live stream of the channel. This makes sure that more audiences are able to view the content of the BBC anywhere. The news organizations are not the only ones to take advantage of this, radio stations as well as social networking sites have too.
Another company which uses convergence in this way is YouTube. YouTube is known to be a huge media platform in which people are able to upload videos accessible to millions of people all around the world. The BBC has a channel on YouTube which uploads videos of headline news for people that have missed the live stream and want to watch it again. This is another example of convergence.
Development of multi-media platforms.
In order for the BBC to gain full benefits of adapting to convergence, they have to take the advantage of migrating to multi-media platforms. For example, a famous strategy used by the UK television industry is called (360 degree commissioning). This is simply at the early stage of getting all the content together and making sure that there is a potential consumer value, once this is agreed on, the television industries return all the content to their audiences through a variety of media platforms, for example, mobile, online and so on. Another strategy used by television industries is the simple and basic use of websites and many other digital platforms to help put themselves out there. The main question to ask is if media industries are benefitting from being able to spread their content across various platforms. To dissect this question, it is best to look into the development of convergence and to look at audience feedback after convergence was used by the media industry.
The benefits of convergence and how the BBC have adapted to it.
The clear and obvious benefits of multi-media platforms are simply economic, it helps various companies and organizations in their content being distributed to so many audiences and making sure that the content is consumed across these platforms. Another main benefit is popularity. Organizations depend a lot of multi-platforms to make sure that the name of their company and their credibility is maintained. Considering that so many people now days have smart phones and have easy access to the internet on the go, it is easy for companies to make sure they are recognized through apps, websites etc…
The BBC uses multi-media platforms in the sense that they have apps in mobile phones that people can access so easily, they have made mobile friendly websites as well as making it possible for people to get notifications of any news that has just taken place. This is a great example of how the BBC uses convergence to their advantage. Another way in which the BBC uses convergence is through the huge development of devices such as media players and mobiles. The development of these digital platforms, with the internet being the main principle, it means that it has become so easy for content that the BBC has produced to be circulated and consumed by audiences all over the world. With the growth of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, this makes it even easier for audiences to access information about the BBC and all the news that is up to date. The BBC have both an official twitter account as well as a Facebook account to make sure they are reached by as many people as possible.
Mass audiences are able to be reached easier by all these big industries through the use of convergence. Through digitization, it has been very easy to reformat content from several media platforms therefore creating a better economic advantage for industries. The creation of multimedia platforms has allowed a great amount of digital distribution, therefore, more audiences can access a variety of content on the internet. This creates a huge knowledgeable platform for industries because people will know who they are simply because they are able to access their content on the go.
An example which shows how the BBC have adapted to convergence is the availability of the BBC iPlayer. The BBC iPlayer is a service that allows audiences to catch up with any content they have missed. The BBC iPlayer was launched and made available to the public in 2007. Since then, it has become very popular and is used a lot by viewers.
Another example of convergence of the BBC is simply television. All the adverts that people see on their TVs’ now days all involve social networking in one way or another. Nearly every industry whether it be news or music, they all have some sort of social networking account in which all their audiences/fans, can keep up with all the industries information or simply content they have missed.
Furthermore, a key example of how the BBC have adapted to convergence in through the creation of their BBC radio station. By introducing BBC radio, the corporation has undoubtedly increased their audiences in terms of numbers, particularly to include those who are unable to view the television live stream because they are always on the move, as well as those from different socio-economic backgrounds (i.e. lower class families.)
Disadvantages of convergence.
Another disadvantage of convergence for companies such as the BBC would be cost-effectiveness. This simply means that providing their services and content through different mediums would incur extra costs for the corporation therefore potentially harming their profit margins.
Many organizations and companies such as the BBC struggle a lot in making any revenue from putting their content on the internet. Considering that many broadband companies have emerged in recent years, it has made it even easier for people to undertake illegal streaming therefore creating a threat to most television companies and their economy. Moreover, the whole idea of being able to access any content from any industry on the internet has made it economically difficult for companies such as the BBC. The internet has made it hard to place payment schemes on mainstream information. Many of these disadvantages have been discussed in Rupert Murdoch’s article about the newspaper industry and how newspaper organizations should start putting payment schemes in order to gain some sort of revenue from their content.
What the BBC could do better.
When discussing convergence and how the BBC adapted to it, there are a few improvements that the BBC could make to maximise their potential ratings. A step that the BBC could prosper to take would be payment schemes. This would allow the organization to charge viewers for a service that gives them the option to watch content that they have already missed through the live stream. In doing this, the BBC as an organization would increase their revenue allowing them to expand and offer further content to audiences. Nonetheless, this is merely a suggestion and one of many paths the BBC could take to exploit the use of convergence.
Many companies if not most, have thought of going ahead with digitalization initiatives. All industries now have websites and several marketing techniques that do not include social media. Social media is obviously known to be a very important component of any marketing technique, however, digitalization must go further than just social media. Digitalization has changed so fast in such a small period of time that it is believed that in years to come, it will be deemed as a usual strategy to use when thinking about your company. This is critical in order for companies such as the BBC to make sure they are ahead of everyone else and that they are able to learn new things from digitalization. Considering that most things have now become digital, it is clear to see that the world is changing rapidly because of this. It is important for popular companies like the BBC to support the means of digitalization and to accept that it is of a benefit than it is a setback. Saying this, some organizations may feel that the digital scheme may not work for them, therefore it is smart to check the overall capability of it all before applying the strategy. Overall, the BBC has gained more than it has lost through adapting to convergence because the company now has such a huge platform for people to interact and share their content worldwide and make sure they are recognized by many people.
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