Media Convergence Distribution

Understanding Media Convergence Distribution. The Internet has unmatchable efficiency in delivering messages. In contrast, a traditional newspaper company needs a fleet of trucks and drivers for predawn runs from the production point to intermediate distribution points. There, individual carriers pick up papers for delivery to individual customers.

Magazine companies rely on the postal system, which takes at least a few days and countless gallons of fuel for delivery. Traditional book publishers have massive inventories, which require expensive warehousing, and then high shipping costs to deliver books to book stores, and then consumers. Although books, newspapers, and magazines have not vanished from the media landscape, these companies are shifting to delivering their content in digital format over the Internet.

Devices. With a single device, consumers can access media content whatever its origin. The device can be a smartphone, an electronic tablet, a desktop or laptop computer. What the devices have in common is an Internet connection.

Distinctions. Digitization is breaking down old distinctions. Newspaper people increasingly talk about being in the news business, not the newspaper business. Radio people do likewise, talking about being in the music business, not the radio business. Publishers talk of intellectual property, not books. The new emphasis is on content—not the medium. Consumers acknowledge this underlying shift. Instead of reading a newspaper, for example, more people talk about reading news. Instead of “watching television,” as they said in the old days, people today say they stream a show. Rather than dialing a telephone number, people make a call, Skype, or FaceTime. This makes sense as digital devices supplant Gutenberg print technology and combine radio, television, movie, and recording reception appliances into single devices.

Production. For almost a century, print media publishers have recognized their inherent disadvantage in production costs. Presses for a big-city daily newspaper require millions of dollars in investment. In contrast, their broadcast counterparts merely flick a switch.

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