Convergence? Try frag-vergence

Sam Smith


For years there has been talk of convergence flying around the industry. There is a lot of talk about it at the BBC too. Mark Thompson (Director General of the BBC) in his speech to BBC staff on, “Delivering our Creative Future” (2006) said, “We need a BBC ready for digital, for 360 degree multi-platform content creation, which brings different kinds of creativity together – in technology as well as content – to deliver what we need in this converging world.”

In this paper I will show that whilst convergence is definitely happening, taken on its own the term can be misleading. We need to combine it with the notions of fragmentation and personalisation of media, before we can assess its impact on the media landscape. I've called this 'Frag-vergence'. These trends working together will have profound consequences on market research within the media sector and beyond. I'll show what these trends have meant for BBC research, what they might mean for other organisations, and I'll pose some questions for the future.