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Module 3 Presentation Readings Assignments

Go on to Part 7 - Uses of Mass Media
Go back to Part 5 - Current Trends in Mass Communication

The New Media Landscape

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1) Symbiosis - Companies working together to achieve common goals

2) Convergence - Blending the different types of media into a seamless whole

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

1) Symbiosis

Conglomerates, partnerships, synergy
Given the cost of media ownership and the fragmentation of the audience, mass media need each other to survive.

A media conglomerate is where one company owns many different media outlets.

This can take the shape of "vertical integration", owning the different links in the supply chain. An example would be one business owning a TV production company, which produces TV shows which are shown on the cable and broadcast network owned by the company, which are then distributed at the video chain owned by the same company. Disney/Cap Cities/ABC is a good example of tight vertical integration.

Another example would be "horizontal integration", an organization merging with a similar one to increase sales or expand the reach of its products. A local example would be the "Naples Daily News" which also owns the "Marco Island Eagle" and the "Bonita Banner". A national example would be the "NDN"'s parent company, Scrips Howard, which owns twenty six newspapers and ten television stations.

A partnership is when two companies agree to cooperate in different areas.

Both partnerships and conglomerates are trying to achieve the same effect, symbiosis, a close relationship between companies that benefit both. As Disney CEO Michael Eisner phrased it when announcing the merger of Disney and Cap Cities/ABC, "I'm optimistic that one [plus] one adds up to four."

But "partners" are a lot harder to get along with than "family," and you tend to make less profit.

Synergy is an industry "buzz word" describing the benefits of symbiosis and partnerships.

The partnership between Microsoft and NBC has created one of the most popular news and information sites on the Internet.

Just two years ago, a group of newspaper and television owners paid over $12 billion for the Hispanic network Univision.

The article below, from "The New York Times", shows the concept of synergy has moved beyond media. It also reflects vertical integration, since the three networks mentioned have a single owner. The publishing company and the production company were also owned by the same group until recently. Finally, it is a good example of partnerships between disparate organizations like media companies, non-profit science organizations, and museums.

The New York Times - "Seeking a Missing Link, and a Mass Audience"

"But the event, which will coincide with the publishing of a peer-reviewed article about the find, is the first stop in a coordinated, branded media event, orchestrated by the scientists and the History Channel, including a film detailing the secretive two-year study of the fossil, a book release, an exclusive arrangement with ABC News and an elaborate Web site."

"‘Any pop band is doing the same thing,’ said Jorn H. Hurum, a scientist at the University of Oslo who acquired the fossil and assembled the team of scientists that studied it. ‘Any athlete is doing the same thing. We have to start thinking the same way in science.’"

The "Slumber Party Girls" is another example of a partnership symbiosis spanning multiple media.

"In October their debut album, full of upbeat anthems aimed at 9- to 13-year-old listeners, will be released by Geffen Records. Still want more? You can watch for continuous music and video updates on KOL, a children-theme AOL channel, or wait for a made-for-television movie and a second television series planned for the following months.

All of which makes the Slumber Party Girls - motivated, energetic and soon to be ubiquitous - an embodiment of the latest way to reach young consumers in their so-called 'tween years: using every possible avenue at once."

Click here to read "The Multimedia Synergistic Slumber Party."

Symbiosis is not, however, a golden egg. The SPGs were a commercial failure. Despite the enormous media exposure generated through symbiosis, their debut album had poor sales. The public simply didn't like the product.

Benefits of Symbiosis

1) Cross-promotion
An advertising technique to promote one media in another media. This can be used by both by conglomerates and partners.
The most extensive cross-promotional campaign of all time was probably Coke and the first Harry Potter movie
Coke and Harry Potter Cross-Promotion
For an excellent example of a cross promotion partnership, click here to read "Cable Networks Cooperate to Cut Through Clutter
2) Multiple Use of Content
Creating content and using it in several places. One industry acronym for this is COPE - Create Once, Play Everywhere.
We'll have a more detailed explanation of COPE in the next section.
"The Naples Daily News" provides a good example of COPE. Articles written for the "Bonita Banner" often appear in both the "Banner" and the "NDN" in print as well as on the "Banner" and "NDN" web sites.

The New Media Landscape

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This is an official FGCU web page. Revised 01/01/2011
©2011, Terry Dugas

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