The word CONVERGENCE according to Collins the saurus of the English language is the occurrence of two or more things coming together, it is the act of converging (coming closer). Convergence is also defined contextually by the ENcyclopaedia Britanica as the interlinking of computing and ICT’s communication networks, and media content that has occurred with the development and popularization of the internet
, and the convergent products, services and activities that have emerged in the digital media space. It brings together the three is computing, communication and content, and it is a direct consequence of the digitization of media content.
Media convergence on the other hand is defined as the phenomena where digitization of content, as well as standards and technologies for the carriage and display of digital content are blurring the traditional destination between broadcasting and other media across all elements of the supply chain for content generation, aggregation, distribution and audiences (ACMA, 2011).
It is the merging or joining together of previody distinct media to create entirely new forms of communication expression. It is at the heart of today’s digital media revolution and includes such technologies and software applications as the internet and electronic commerce, smart phone technology, digital-film animation, digital video Disc (DVD), Music and High definition Television (HDTV) and video game system (Dennis and Defleur, 2010).
Kelvin Dugan (2011) also defined media convergence in agreement with other authors as the digitization of media content but added that it is coupled with pervasive high-speed broad band connectivity and the proliferation of internet enabled devices that are transforming the way content is distributed and consumed globally. He posited that the development of media convergence has posed both opportunities and challenges for broadcasters and the traditional mass media of communication. It transforms established industries, services and work practices and enables entirely new forms of content to emerge. It erodes long established media industry and contents ‘silos’ and increasingly incouples content from particular devices, which in turn presents major challenges for public policy and regulation, he concluded.
The concept of media convergence has come about to describe the way in which the old media is being incorporated into new media. Media convergence represents a shift or reshaping the traditional mass media the radio, Television, Newspapers and magazines in a way that changes how we construct meaning , how we interact with media and how we identify our selves.
In today’s information age, we are all surrounded by examples of converged media which has altered the way our culture receives information and demonstrates the way in which media consumption has become a “collective process”, convergence has had huge impact on our media culture that it is apparently abolishing the traditional mass media, shifting its contents, changing its audience and its social status as we are no longer passive spectators, but are part of the media we consume. The audience has shifted from a more consumer to a participant.
The powerful relationship between search and display has changed the challenges of integration along with convergence, re positioning of the old media into a new media format. Today, there are numerous devices that enable the audience to access media content that was hitherto tied to the specific communication media.
Cell phones, I-pods, I-pads, laptops computers etc have created multiple avenues for media producers to reach the audience and for the audience to pick and choose the source to pay attention to meaning is constructed by individuals who receive the message and decode them according to their own conceptual map. Today, there is also one device, for example a phone, phone cells and videos leading to collaborations between the consumers on line services and the broadcast and print media and vice versa. This has created a new communication through media where can no longer control how their messages are received as they have to engaged the consumers and listen to their feedback in a cyclic pattern in order to remain functioning.
With consumers now accessing media contents through same device, media organizations seems to be developing cross media content leading to fusion of all forms of media, resulting in the creation of an entirely new medium. It is already happening between television, radio, print and the internet as they don’t just provide print or audio-visual content but have portals that make materials available in forms such as text, video, podcast and provide WCS to other relevant resources, on line access to their archives and opportunities for users to comment on the story.
These development have transformed journalism by beaching long standing boundaries between who a journalist is and who is not a journalist, between journalist and editors and between deadlines, other times and content platforms. It involves a process of diffusion and assimilation. While the technology has eroded the traditional divisions between free-to-air (FTA) Television and Internet, Newspapers and websites, Radio and streamlining services, the formerly once-closed newspaper story is now an open text with the ongoing existence or media convergence. The new emerging trend is replacing the incumbent industries as engine of growth, making the established technologies and the prevailing parading obsolete.