Media Convergence and Technology

Media convergence is a term that has been in circulation for more than a decade, but it has been more commonly associated with technology in the last few years. Media convergence describes the strategy used to combine different media channels through one outlet or organization. More often than not, media convergence is a term used in the technology industry to describe the way in which gadgets and hardware can now perform multiple functions. How does technology complement media convergence, and what are the most common examples in the marketplace today?

The advantages of media convergence

Media convergence offers enormous benefits to both consumers and businesses. By offering single devices that allow consumers to access different media, businesses encourage a greater consumption of the media, which offers big returns on the bottom line. A gadget that allows a user to access his or her email, check stock prices, watch TV shows and listen to music, for example, is likely to encourage more extensive use of all those features, driven simply by the convenience of an all-in-one package. More excitingly, by sharing media on one device or through one channel, there are greater opportunities to share data, leading to richer, more intuitive and more profitable products and services.

How technology has aided media convergence

A number of devices are now a common feature in the average American household. Smartphones, tablet computers and smart TVs all allow consumers access to different media that would previously have been possible only through separate devices. Media convergence is fueled by the Internet, which provides the capability for data to be streamed quickly and securely between devices. The nature of the Internet means that media convergence is enabled at a truly global level. Provided that a user has access to the Internet, there is no reason why he or she cannot use these devices anywhere in the world.

The corporate shift towards media convergence

A number of large corporate businesses have developed their operating model and assets towards greater media convergence. One such example is AOL Time Warner, which has gradually grown from an online business to one of the largest media companies in the world. AOL Time Warner is comprised of film studios, cable networks, music companies, publishing firms, sports teams, retail stores and more. This enables the business to join its consumers together in new and profitable ways by sharing economies of scale and customer data. Other corporate businesses have developed in similar ways, including The Walt Disney Co. and Viacom Inc.

The future of media convergence

As consumers demand more and more convergence, the technology market is responding appropriately. Apple's iPad is a great example of technology at its most creative. The iPad created a market that didn't previously exist, allowing users to access a host of different media through one exciting new gadget.

Consumers want products that are powerful, vast and versatile, and the market can expect more of this kind of thinking to come in the future.

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