An Analysis of Convergence Culture in Sport

Convergence culture represents a consumer shift, with them being encouraged to seek new information and establish connections with dispersed media content (Jenkins, 2006). Convergence culture is comprised of three processes; media convergence, participatory culture and collective intelligence (Jenkins, 2006). Media convergence is the flow of content across media platforms, participatory culture describes how consumers are no longer passive and collective intelligence explains how consumption is now performed conjointly (Jenkins, 2006). Convergence culture claims that traditional and digital media can co-exist through unpredictable interactions, however, delivery technologies such as CD’s and MP3’s are starting to fade away (Jenkins, 2006).

Convergence culture has meant that sports teams need to understand that media is comprised of both technology and cultural practices, as well as being aware of how digital media technologies have altered the distribution and control of sport content (Jenkins, 2006). The sports media ecosystem has changed as a result of new technologies reducing the costs of producing and consuming content. Moreover, there has also been an increase in the concentration of ownership of commercial media (Jenkins, 2006). This has caused sports teams to try and figure out how they can extend their content across multiple platforms, whilst also deciding on how they will synergise (own/control) and franchise (market and brand) their content across various platforms. An effective approach is required in order to ensure content is easily and efficiently delivered to consumers.

The spreadability of content is now of paramount importance within sport, with teams having to ensure they have appropriate technical and economical structures in place to help support and make the content easier to circulate (Jenkins et al, 2013). Sports media content also now has to possess attributes that promote and foster its circulation in order to attract the audiences attention, as well as enticing them to engage with the content (Jenkins et al, 2013). Teams also need to guarantee that they are using suitable social networks so that their content links across all platforms, thus helping make the circulation of content more meaningful and consistent over all media channels, meaning that it will have a more profound impact on the audience (Jenkins et al, 2013).

Sports media has seen a shift towards refocusing on engagement with audiences by creating value for them. By offering greater value to the audience, they will actively engage with the content by purchasing, watching, endorsing and sharing/recommending the content, thus creating added value through intelligence and generating/re-producing (Jenkins et al, 2013). Convergence culture has meant that sports teams should now focus on time spent with content, frequency of content interactions and audience cultural changes originating from content interactions when analysing content, rather than focusing on the number of followers they have (Jenkins et al, 2013). Teams have had to expand their touch points so that their content can be used by audiences to renewably generate extra value.

Sport has become a key content for transmedia as it enables storytelling to take place naturally, as well as providing fans with something to add value to and becoming active multipliers of value (Jenkins et al, 2013; Petersen-Wagner, 2020). It also gives the audience something to talk about whilst or in-between consuming content; for example, the Digital Tour de Suisse used the hashtag “#DigitalSwiss5” to generate engagement with cycling fans.

It appears that sports media goes hand-in-hand with convergence culture, with its future looking very well-suited. Comment your thoughts on convergence culture in sport and don’t forget to like and follow for more!

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