June 21, 2006
Two New Examples of "Convergence Culture"

Two new examples of "Convergence Culture" surfaced today (doesn't this seem to be the trend almost every day?) in two corporate partnerships that blend new media companies and concepts with traditional content providers or advertisers.

The first was a deal announced by EchoStar (Dish Network), an interactive advertising campaign for the Ford Motor Company through the company's satellite service. These ads will run for the next month, featuring the Ford Mustang on several TV screens, on which the viewer can use their remote control to view photos, for instance.

However, the project branches into transmedia, since you can download a ringtone specifically for the Mustang. And the interaction is taken to a direct consumer level, considering that the ad will allow you to find a local Ford dealer or receive more information on the product.

With our constant discussion of the slow death of the traditional advertisement, these more active and targeted advertising opportunities are coming more and more frequently.

In a different realm, longtime children's entertainment supplier DIC Entertainment has found a new partnership to launch a CBS Saturday morning programming block for kids: AOL. This new fall lineup will be called the Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party and will have transmedia tie-ins with KOL, the AOL online site for kids. And a KOL online personality will have his own reality series on Saturday mornings.

I've yet to be convinced that the partnership will take advantage of the opportunities this type of coalition allows initially, but this could be another step in the right direction. Transmedia opportunities seem particularly vibrant here in children's programming, where convergence seems more second-hand and moving from one media platform to another is second-nature.

But both products are two examples that I found today through TelevisionWeek of new interactive and transmedia movements. Fall 2006 is shaping up to be a period of intense experimentation. Some of these concepts will probably miss their mark, and others have probably come along a little too early...but I'm interested in seeing what will become of these two intiatives in terms of viewer response.