Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Early Days

The evolution of converged media has been slow and subtle. Publications such as Time were experimenting with television in the late ’70s. Major newspapers like the Ft. Worth Star Telegram began experimenting with computer applications in the early ’80s. These attempts and most other early convergence ventures were unsuccessful. Despite the huge startup costs the companies incurred, and the lack of success they achieved, efforts to converge media continued. With technological advancements that made computers more affordable, a new wave of convergence efforts began in the early ’90s. Newspapers such as the Atlanta Journal had graphical and navigational capabilities far beyond prior efforts. Of course, all of this was made possible by the growth of and increased access to the Internet. Now media companies had a standard format to build their convergence efforts.

Growth ____________

In the mid ’90s, the computer world, especially the Internet, experienced a period of extreme growth that rivals any other in history. As more households became linked to the Internet, consumer online services such as Prodigy, America Online and Compuserve became increasingly popular. Recognizing the trend, many news organizations signed on with the consumer online services, which set up sites for the newspapers on their program. While the sites gave many newspapers national exposure, few of them gained enough from the efforts to justify their disadvantageous revenue splits with the online service providers. It was during this time that USA Today became the first newspaper to successfully bring its signature look to the Internet. Television also joined in the convergence effort, with networks like Bloomberg Informational Television, which combined aspects of the Internet with traditional broadcast news. In the late ’90s, most major newspapers established their own websites without the consumer online services. This combination of print and Internet paved the way for the next stage of media convergence.

Recent Development

In the last four to five years, media companies have been fine-tuning the concept of convergence. Local newspapers, radio stations, television broadcasters and websites have combined to form fully converged websites. National newspapers, the New York Times and Washington Post, reached cooperative agreements with the networks ABC and NBC in 2000. While these local and national efforts have brought convergence to a new level, many major and local news organizations have yet to incorporate all the elements of media. Many so-called converged organizations merely republish or repurpose material from one medium to another. The standard newspaper-Internet combination that developed in the ’90s is still convergence’s most common form.

 

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