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Video clip synopsis – Trevor Barr talks about convergence and the partnership between media broadcasters and Internet service providers.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 3min 10sec
Tags - media convergence, media ownership, technological change, technology and society, see all tags



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About the Video Clip


This interview with Trevor Barr was recorded for the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

Trevor Barr is an author, professor and the Director of the Creative Industries Research & Applications Centre at the Queensland University of Technology. You can view his full biography at From Wireless to Web

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


Area of study 3. New media

This area of study focuses on the social consequences of the emergence of new media technologies. The creative implications of new media technologies are considered in the context of the capabilities of the technologies, their relationship with existing media, how they provide alternative means of representation and distribution of media products. Their cultural significance is investigated in terms of how they challenge and alter our perception of the world through the media products that can be produced and consumed, and the changes, possibilities and concerns that may arise in society.

Technological advancements in the media occur within the context of the society in which they are created, developed and used. Such developments, therefore, not only affect media products themselves but also change the processes involved in production, distribution and consumption. In many instances they may also influence the nature of the reality (the event) being depicted by the media; for example, digital imaging techniques have allowed the manipulation (that is altering, distorting, mutating and reshaping) of photographic representations. The convergence of new media technologies, digitisation, computerisation and high-speed data transfer create new pathways for the transmission, exchange and storage of both existing and new forms of information and entertainment. Issues such as ownership, copyright, privacy and access gain new significance in terms of the relationship between media technology and the circulation of representation.

This material is an extract. Teachers and Students should consult the Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information.

Background Information


The advent of the World Wide Web radically changed the online experience. At last information could be interpreted and displayed in a standardised form across the vast 'web’ of different computer networks. Cyberspace was transformed, appearing as a seamless global information system, enabling users anywhere to search, browse and interact. Now the Internet and Web are redefining the nature of human communication, and challenging traditional limits to human relationships and communities.

'Five of the world’s biggest industries – computing, communications, consumer electronics, publishing and entertainment – are converging into one dynamic whole.’ [Rupert Murdoch, Chairman, News Corporation, 1993] (Riddell)

'Convergence’ is a buzzword that can be used to mean different things in different contexts. In 1993 Rupert Murdoch was referring to industry convergence, where traditionally separate industries – like broadcasting, publishing, computing, telecommunications and the arts – are making deals and merging to exploit the benefits of new digital technologies. Technological convergence is about innovations and technical developments – new devices and equipment – that make it possible to read books and play games on computers, take photos with a telephone and receive television and radio broadcasts down the phone line. (Cunningham & Turner 4-5)

The convergence of industries and technologies is driving content convergence. In terms of the traditional broadcast media, everything that gets broadcast – programs and messages – is called 'content’. With the new media, everything from email messages to information on websites can be described as 'content’. The convergence of broadcast media – radio, television and the internet – creates opportunities for new forms of 'content’: radio webcasts and online transcripts of programs; television programs and movies online; viewer interaction via the Web and SMS; and interactive TV.

Convergence across industries, technologies and media content is destined to reshape our future.

Classroom Activities


Answer the following questions from the Video Clip Context and the video clip itself:

  1. What is convergence? How does email illustrate the concept of convergence?
  2. What are the implications of convergence for
    1. users?
    2. major media companies?
  3. What other devices/media do you think will converge in the future?

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.