Media Convergence and Digital News Services

University dissertation from Stockholm : Medieteknik och grafisk prodduktion

Abstract: In this thesis, media convergence strategies and added value of digital news services are investigated, focusing on the newspaper industry and it’s audience. Convergence implies that previously unalike areas come together, approaching a common goal. A subordinate concept of convergence, i.e., media convergence, is a concept that has become common when denoting a range of processes within the production of media content, its distribution and consumption.Newspapers are one of many so-called publishing channels that provide information and entertainment. They have traditionally been printed on paper, but today’s digital technology makes it possible to provide newspapers through a number of different channels. The current strategy used by newspaper companies involves a process of convergence mainly regarding multiple publishing. A newspaper company interested in publishing content through multiple channels has to adapt its production workflow to produce content not only for the traditional printed edition, but also for the other channels. In this thesis, a generalized value chain involving four main stages illustrates the production workflow at a newspaper company in relation to the convergence processes. The four stages are creation, packaging, distribution and consumption of content.One of the aims of this thesis is to assess how the views and strategies of newspaper companies concerning media convergence correspond with the opinions and views concerning convergence of their audience. In order to discuss this, seven types of media convergence are suggested.Furthermore, the thesis explores how the newspaper industry is relating to the processes of convergence, using two examples: newspaper companies’ ventures into the use of moving images, and the newspaper companies’ strategies for a future epaper edition.Among the findings of this thesis are that digital news services can add value to a newspaper company, however that the digital news services investigated, in their current form, are not sophisticated enough to give added value as perceived by the audience.The findings of the thesis are based on studies of the newspaper industry in Sweden and reflect specific newspaper companies, their strategies, production workflow and ventures from 2002 to 2007. The methods used have mainly been case studies and surveys.