The circulation of media content of the Premier League throughout the world is heavily dependant on the active participation of the consumer. The rise of Web 2.0 and user-generated content has allowed for the convergence of traditional mediums to integrate into digital platforms for media content, in a previous blog, ‘Has the Rise of New Mediums of Premier League Football Coverage Caused the Decline of Radio?‘, I explored how Radio, as an analogue medium, has had to adapt and integrate with digital mediums in order to sustain themselves in the current sport media ecology, in this blog I will explore the convergence of media platforms in the Premier League that provide consumers with the content they see on a daily basis.
Firstly, it’s important to define what convergence culture is, Jenkins explained that convergence represents a cultural shift as consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content. What is meant by this is that the flow of content is dispersed through multiple content platforms, there is cooperation between the multiple media industries and the migratory behaviour of consumers had lead to them going where their search for entertainment takes them.
TV remains the dominant medium in Premier League media coverage, with Sky Sports and BT Sport dominating the traditional broadcasting, as the content is the closest a consumer can get to viewing the event live and is at the heart of the ‘sports-media-business complex‘, however, in this digital age, we are seeing convergence between TV and digital viewing devices, such as smartphones, tablets and PCs, this is a reflection of the development of technology and now the traditional sports broadcasting no longer reflects market reality. Asser Institute coined the term ‘sports media rights‘, a term that encompasses the rights to transmit audio-visual material across all transmission techniques, as a way of explaining this shift from traditional broadcasting to the current broadcasting techniques we see today. We have seen the emergence of Amazon Prime in broadcasting Premier League fixtures recently, utilising this new digital technique of broadcasting through the Amazon Prime app and online, BT Sport and Sky Sports have also both embraced the new technique by involving the broadcasting of Premier League fixtures through their mobile app available on PC, tablets and smartphones.
A direct impact of convergence culture is the notion of spreadable media, another of Jenkins‘ theories, in content surrounding Premier League football we are seeing grassroots intermediaries becoming more prevalent on social media in particular, this has been assisted by the production of content onto easy-to-share formats, such as Twitter. Below you can see tweets from Last Word On Spurs, an unofficial page producing content on Tottenham Hotspur, the notion of spreadable media benefits the whole sports media ecology as it encourages the active engagement of consumers.
To end in the words of Henry Jenkins, “None of us can know everything; each of us knows something; we can put the pieces together if we pool our resources and combine our skills…. Collective intelligence can be seen as an alternative source of media power“.