The 5 Stories of Convergent Media

April 1, 2011 – 12:27 pm
Pitching ideas to publishers, studios and broadcasters used to be reasonably straightforward. If you had a good story, a track record and talent attached. Not easy to get a deal, perhaps, but at least the rules of the game were mutually understood. It’s not the same with convergent media. In the labs that I’ve been running for the past couple of years, we’ve been telling people that they build five credible stories when they’re developing projects and preparing pitches. The User Story. In an age when it’s never been easier to publish, it’s never been harder to get attention. You need to be able to convince a potential commissioner or investor that there is an audience for what you’re making. The methodologies of user centred design which originated in product design, pioneered by companies like Ideo, and now widespread in web agencies are increasingly important across the creative industries. The Platform Story. Very few projects ...

Three Key Drivers of Convergence

November 21, 2010 – 3:35 pm
The Technology Strategy Board is currently considering how to frame future competitions to address the impact of convergence, one of the  major priorities identified in its Creative Industries Strategy, Alex Stanhope proposes three filters for analysing the process of convergence: technology, relationships and activity. These provide a very useful perspective but do they cover all the territory in the emerging digital ecology? What are the major opportunities and obstacles to creative and commercial growth contained within these interlocking processes?

Is there an economic crisis?

October 13, 2010 – 4:50 pm
I've not written anything about politics here in the past but I think that the onslaught on public services currently being launched by the coalition government has to be opposed as vociferously as possible. We are facing the wholesale dismantling of the welfare state by a government using the current 'economic crisis' as a justification for their ideologically driven policies. There was an excellent letter from Professor Saville Kushner published in the Guardian on Monday asking why no-one is challenging the current narrative: "There is no formal opposition in parliament to the flawed political narrative – that we are in economic crisis and in need of deep fiscal surgery. None of the leading political parties question it – Labour now actively suppresses its questioning – the BBC promotes it, the print media relish it, the citizenry didn't vote for it but have no choice but to comply with ...

Convergence: a cultural as much as technological process

October 4, 2010 – 2:12 pm
The Technology Strategy Board has identified ‘convergence’ as one of the key priority areas for investment within its Creative Industries strategy. But, ten years into the 21st Century, what does the word actually mean and what impact is it having for consumers and producers in the emerging media landscape? It used to mean something that had primarily to do with technology, referring to the black box that media would flow through. Technological convergence is a process that is certainly happening: from iPhone or Android smartphones to broadband enabled TVs, contemporary devices offer amateurs and professionals alike the capacity to produce, edit, publish, distribute and consume media content and services in multiple formats, at any time and in almost any location.  But increasingly convergence is used to describe cultural rather than technological evolution, a process of change affecting every aspect of the media business. This is a nascent cultural ecology in which ...

Win £10,000 in the BCS Digital Revolutions Competition

August 24, 2010 – 12:40 pm
Presented by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (in association with Sheffield Doc/Fest and Crossover Labs) Digital Revolutions is the biggest short film competition around and you don’t need to be a professional to enter! With a professional and amateur category this competition is open to all... So, put on your most creative and innovative thinking cap, make a film, get it out into the world, wow the judges, get it shown at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2010 and get in the running to claim some fantastic prize money! Why Digital Revolutions? Digital Revolutions aims to build the largest ever creative picture of how information and information technology affects our lives. In today’s information society, information and information technology touches nearly every aspect of our lives. With an ever-growing number of internet-enabled handheld devices, always being connected has never been easier. Yet there are an estimated 10 million people in the UK who have ...

Defining Convergence

August 18, 2010 – 10:24 am
Since taking on the role of ‘Theme Champion’ for convergence with the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network, I’ve been trying to work out what the term actually means some ten years or so since it started to be used to describe the impact of change in media. It turns out that it’s not so easy to do. Over the next few weeks I will post some views on the question: ‘what does convergence mean in the creative industries today, and what are the research and development challenges which should be addressed by the Technology Strategy Board. A good place to start is the definition proposed by MIT’s Convergence Culture Consortium: “'Cultural Convergence' is not just another buzzword (or two). The phrase describes an emerging pattern of relations bringing together entertainment, advertising, brands, and consumers in creative and often surprising ways. These new relations are underpinned by three key concepts: transmedia entertainment, participatory culture, ...

‘Majority of UK web users won’t pay for online content’

July 30, 2010 – 12:30 pm
A KPMG study, covered by here by the Daily Telegraph, shows that UK consumers remain far less willing than their global counterparts to pay for digital content, especially when compared with the BRIC countries. Britons are, however, more willing to accept targeted advertising on communication devices and are willing to share personal profile data, according to the accountancy firm’s global annual survey of consumers day-to-day use of mobile and PC technology titled - Consumers & Convergence IV. 81% Britons said they would go elsewhere for content if a previously free site we use frequently began charging - only 19% said they are prepared to pay. In comparison, 43% of consumers globally responded that they are now willing to pay to access frequently used online content. And when it came to Asia-Pacific even more users (59%) were ready to access information digitally for a price. Tudor Aw, head of technology, KPMG Europe ...

Technology Strategy: investing in the challenge of convergence

July 29, 2010 – 3:04 pm
With government funding for the creative industries under the most severe threat since the eighties, it’s worth looking closely at the opportunities that are still in place. One source of finance that so far looks likely to remain intact is the R&D investment from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). They have a very significant budget to support innovation and are currently exploring how to shape funding calls for 2011. The TSB published a strategy paper for the Creative Industries last year. It had five key priorities. The first of these concerned meta-data and a competition was recently announced for projects which addressed challenges in this area. The next two priority areas were contextualised as opportunities arising from ‘convergence’, a word rather like ‘innovation’: much used in the context of digital media and emerging technology but ill defined and imprecisely understood. This is what the TSB said about the challenge of convergence: “Technology convergence ...

NESTA draft contracts for digital agencies

March 11, 2010 – 12:22 pm
NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, has published six template contracts to help digital agencies retain more of their intellectual property rights when negotiating commissions with public organisations. Summary of the Frameworks and the templates and how they can be used can be accessed here


March 1, 2010 – 11:32 am
One of the most striking online documentaries yet was Arte's Gaza/Sderot, produced by Serge Gordey. He has now followed it with Havana/Miami which looks at the different aspirations of and challenges facing young Cubans on opposite sides of the Straits of Florida. "The Cuban Revolution happened more than fifty years ago – long before they were born. All of them are young, with a rich Cuban heritage. Living just 90 miles apart, in the USA and in Cuba, They share common dreams, hopes, worries and desires. They are the future. Each week, 3 videos from Havana, 3 videos from Miami, Over 3 months."
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