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What is media convergence?

To make transmedia storytelling possible, a variety of media platforms need to exist and there needs to be a population of users who can move freely between various mediums.

Henry Jenkins argues that media convergence goes beyond a mere technological shift, insisting that it also represents a shift in industrial, cultural, and social paradigms, where “consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content.”

Henry Jenkins divides convergence into four different forms. The first type, technical convergence, is the conversion of media content into digital formats that can then become integrated, allowing media content to be disseminated through multiple platforms. The second is social convergence, the process through which consumers become accustomed to multitasking, allowing them to move freely between platforms while searching and utilizing information.

Third is cultural convergence, which links media technology, consumers, and producers to inspire new forms of creativity, thereby creating a new type of participation-based folk culture where stories are transmitted through various platforms, otherwise known as transmedia storytelling. Fourth is global convergence, in which music, film, television programs, and other media content attains an international reach, thereby attaining cultural hybridity.

As such forms of convergence progress, contemporary culture is simultaneously diversified and unified amid the contradictory forces of commercialization and cultural democratization. Among the many interrelated forms of convergence, Henry Jenkins chooses to focus on the part of the spectrum that transmedia storytelling falls under—cultural convergence.

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This article is from the free online course:

Transmedia Storytelling

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)

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