Media Convergence and the Development Strategies of Radio and Television in China [1 ed.] 9789813341487, 9789813341494

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Table of contents :
1 The Rise, Concept and Manifestations of Media Convergence
1.1 Concept and Research Overview of Media Convergence
1.2 Impetuses to the Rise of Media Convergence
1.2.1 Internal Impetuses
1.2.2 External Forces
1.3 Manifestations of Media Convergence
1.3.1 Microscopic Level: The Convergence of Media Technology
1.3.2 Mesoscopic Level: The Convergence of Organisational Structures, Production Processes and Product Forms
1.3.3 Macroscopic Level: The Convergence of the Media Industry, Media Regulation as Well as Media and Society
2 The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence
2.1 The Challenges and Predicaments Facing Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence
2.1.1 The Predicament of Talent Loss: The Separation of “Top Resources”
2.1.2 The Predicament of Advertising Loss: The Transfer of Capital Support
2.1.3 The Predicament of Interest Patterns: The Transformation of the Media Market
2.1.4 The Challenge of Communication Channels: New Media Begins to Set the Agenda for Traditional Media
2.1.5 The Challenge of Communication Platforms: The Changing and Growing Demands of the Audience for Information
2.1.6 The Challenge of Communication Content: The Online Culture That Is Shaping the Social Forms
2.1.7 The Challenge of Media Operations: Systematic Pitfalls and Losing Sway in Public Opinion
2.1.8 The Challenge of Organisation Management: Deficiencies in Departmental Setup and the Talent-Cultivation System
2.2 Inadequacies of Radio and Television and Their Causes Against the Background of Media Convergence
2.2.1 Macro-Perspective
2.2.2 Meso-Perspective
2.2.3 Micro-Perspective
2.3 Exploring the Causes Impeding the Business Development of Media Convergence
2.3.1 Deep-Rooted Inertial Thinking of Conventional Media Failing to Adapt to the Development Needs of the Internet
2.3.2 Barriers of Conventional Systems and Mechanisms Become Institutional Factors of Media Transformation
2.3.3 Lack of Quality Content Online, Where Conventional Content Still Dominates
2.3.4 Conventional Channels Dominate, New-Media Channels Lack Variety and Online Infiltration Is Inadequate
2.3.5 Insufficient Use and Convergence of Technology by New Media
2.4 Development Opportunities for Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence
2.4.1 Content-Wise: Diverse Sources and Formats
2.4.2 Channel-Wise: Complement and Convergence of New and Old Media
2.4.3 Platform-Wise: The Drive of Digital Technology and Social Mechanisms
2.4.4 Operation-Wise: Development of the Media Market and Changes of Profit Model
2.4.5 Management-Wise: Renewal of Management Concepts and Organisational Structures
3 Cases of Reforms of Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence
3.1 Cases of Media Convergence of Foreign Radio and Television
3.1.1 Media Convergence of the BBC
3.1.2 Media Convergence of CNN
3.1.3 Media Convergence of NHK
3.2 Cases of Reforms of Radio and Television in China
3.2.1 Media Convergence of New-Media Newsroom of China Global Television Network (CGTN)
3.2.2 Media Convergence of Shanghai Media Group (SMG)
3.2.3 Media Convergence of Hunan Broadcasting System (HBS)
3.2.4 Media Convergence of Shenzhen Media Group
4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence
4.1 The Evolution of China’s Media System
4.1.1 Initial Choice: Party-Controlled Media
4.1.2 First Reform: Public Institutions and Management
4.1.3 Second Reform: Separation of Gathering and Editing and Operations
4.1.4 Third Reform: Separation of Business and Industry
4.1.5 Fourth Reform: Media Convergence
4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence
4.2.1 Change of Ideologies: Openness and Interaction
4.2.2 Confirm Core Competence: Technology, Team and Resources
4.2.3 Focus on Content Production: Differentiated Innovation
4.2.4 Respond to the Audience Demand for Diversity: Expand the Long-Tail Market
4.2.5 Build Platforms: Convergence, Interaction, Social Contact and Cross-Screen
4.2.6 Improve Media Image and Develop Brand Characteristics
4.2.7 Integrate Marketing Strategies and Expand Communication Strategies
4.2.8 Improve Management and Introduce the Power of Social Management
4.2.9 Innovate Human-Resource Management and Focus on Coordinated Development
5 Prospects for Media Convergence
5.1 Status Quo and Achievements of Media Convergence
5.1.1 Develop New Thinking: Focus on Taking Advantage of Online Thinking
5.1.2 Build New Platforms: Gradually Develop a New Communication System
5.1.3 Adopt New Technologies: Make New Paths for Media Communication
5.2 Outlook and Suggestions for Formats of Media Convergence
5.2.1 Form New Formats: Innovate Media Services
5.2.2 Foster New Talents: Build Up Professional Omnimedia Reserves
5.2.3 Ensure Security: Step Up Management and Monitoring of Converged Media
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Peng Duan

Media Convergence and the Development Strategies of Radio and Television in China

Media Convergence and the Development Strategies of Radio and Television in China

Peng Duan

Media Convergence and the Development Strategies of Radio and Television in China

Peng Duan Communication University of China, Beijing, China

ISBN 978-981-33-4148-7 ISBN 978-981-33-4149-4 (eBook) © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. The registered company address is: 152 Beach Road, #21-01/04 Gateway East, Singapore 189721, Singapore


1 The Rise, Concept and Manifestations of Media Convergence . . . . . . 1.1 Concept and Research Overview of Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . 1.2 Impetuses to the Rise of Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.1 Internal Impetuses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.2 External Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3 Manifestations of Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3.1 Microscopic Level: The Convergence of Media Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3.2 Mesoscopic Level: The Convergence of Organisational Structures, Production Processes and Product Forms . . . . . . 1.3.3 Macroscopic Level: The Convergence of the Media Industry, Media Regulation as Well as Media and Society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1 The Challenges and Predicaments Facing Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence . . . . 2.1.1 The Predicament of Talent Loss: The Separation of “Top Resources” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.2 The Predicament of Advertising Loss: The Transfer of Capital Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.3 The Predicament of Interest Patterns: The Transformation of the Media Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.4 The Challenge of Communication Channels: New Media Begins to Set the Agenda for Traditional Media . . . . 2.1.5 The Challenge of Communication Platforms: The Changing and Growing Demands of the Audience for Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.6 The Challenge of Communication Content: The Online Culture That Is Shaping the Social Forms . . . . . . . . .

1 1 9 9 16 25 26 29

34 44 49 49 50 51 53 56

57 59 v



2.1.7 The Challenge of Media Operations: Systematic Pitfalls and Losing Sway in Public Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.8 The Challenge of Organisation Management: Deficiencies in Departmental Setup and the Talent-Cultivation System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2 Inadequacies of Radio and Television and Their Causes Against the Background of Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.1 Macro-Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.2 Meso-Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.3 Micro-Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3 Exploring the Causes Impeding the Business Development of Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.1 Deep-Rooted Inertial Thinking of Conventional Media Failing to Adapt to the Development Needs of the Internet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.2 Barriers of Conventional Systems and Mechanisms Become Institutional Factors of Media Transformation . . . . 2.3.3 Lack of Quality Content Online, Where Conventional Content Still Dominates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.4 Conventional Channels Dominate, New-Media Channels Lack Variety and Online Infiltration Is Inadequate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.5 Insufficient Use and Convergence of Technology by New Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4 Development Opportunities for Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.1 Content-Wise: Diverse Sources and Formats . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.2 Channel-Wise: Complement and Convergence of New and Old Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.3 Platform-Wise: The Drive of Digital Technology and Social Mechanisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.4 Operation-Wise: Development of the Media Market and Changes of Profit Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.5 Management-Wise: Renewal of Management Concepts and Organisational Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

84 85

3 Cases of Reforms of Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1 Cases of Media Convergence of Foreign Radio and Television . . . . 3.1.1 Media Convergence of the BBC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1.2 Media Convergence of CNN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1.3 Media Convergence of NHK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2 Cases of Reforms of Radio and Television in China . . . . . . . . . . . . .

87 87 87 89 91 93


62 63 63 69 71 72

72 74 76

77 78 79 80 81 82 83


3.2.1 Media Convergence of New-Media Newsroom of China Global Television Network (CGTN) . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.2 Media Convergence of Shanghai Media Group (SMG) . . . . 3.2.3 Media Convergence of Hunan Broadcasting System (HBS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.4 Media Convergence of Shenzhen Media Group . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.1 The Evolution of China’s Media System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.1.1 Initial Choice: Party-Controlled Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.1.2 First Reform: Public Institutions and Management . . . . . . . . 4.1.3 Second Reform: Separation of Gathering and Editing and Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.1.4 Third Reform: Separation of Business and Industry . . . . . . . 4.1.5 Fourth Reform: Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.1 Change of Ideologies: Openness and Interaction . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.2 Confirm Core Competence: Technology, Team and Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.3 Focus on Content Production: Differentiated Innovation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.4 Respond to the Audience Demand for Diversity: Expand the Long-Tail Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.5 Build Platforms: Convergence, Interaction, Social Contact and Cross-Screen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.6 Improve Media Image and Develop Brand Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.7 Integrate Marketing Strategies and Expand Communication Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.8 Improve Management and Introduce the Power of Social Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.9 Innovate Human-Resource Management and Focus on Coordinated Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Prospects for Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.1 Status Quo and Achievements of Media Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.1.1 Develop New Thinking: Focus on Taking Advantage of Online Thinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.1.2 Build New Platforms: Gradually Develop a New Communication System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.1.3 Adopt New Technologies: Make New Paths for Media Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


93 94 95 97 98 101 101 101 103 105 107 109 110 111 115 118 122 125 130 135 139 140 142 145 145 145 148 150



5.2 Outlook and Suggestions for Formats of Media Convergence . . . . . 5.2.1 Form New Formats: Innovate Media Services . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.2.2 Foster New Talents: Build Up Professional Omnimedia Reserves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.2.3 Ensure Security: Step Up Management and Monitoring of Converged Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

155 155 159 163 166

Chapter 1

The Rise, Concept and Manifestations of Media Convergence

1.1 Concept and Research Overview of Media Convergence Media underwent major changes in the twenty-first century compared to the previous century and drew the attention of scholars from home and abroad alike. The exploration of media convergence abroad dated back to the publication of the book Technologies of Freedom by Ithiel de Sola Pool in 1983, in which Pool pointed out that an established physical network could provide any type of media facilities, whereas media facilities that were once limited to a certain technology could be sent to any physically separated network [1]. This reveals that theoretically media connection may be possible with technological support. The feasibility of this theory emerges from the development of media technology and continuous to evolve and diversify through practice and progress. After the 1970s and 1980s, other scholars and media professionals continued to research and practice media convergence. With their scientific background and knowledge and research results, they propelled the progress of media convergence. Both Nicholas Negroponte and Roger Fidler predicted the trend of media convergence in their earlier works. Later, from around the end of the 1990s, western writings on the basic concepts of media convergence were translated and introduced to China and provided the early definition of media convergence, including Convergence: Integrating Media, Information & Communication by Thomas Baldwin, Mediamorphosis: Understanding New Media by Rodger Fidler, Megamedia Shakeout: The Inside Story of the Leaders and the Losers in the Exploding Communications Industry by Kevin Maney and Media Now: Communications Media in the Information Age by Joseph Straubhaar. It is worth noting that although the concept of media convergence emerged in the 1980s, a clear definition of the concept has yet to be established primarily due to two reasons: first is the diachrony of the concept at different stages, which means its content continuously evolves due to media changes. In the meantime, concept definition is closely related to the development of media, and changes in the longitudinal time dimension also lead to different understanding of the concept. Second is that © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd 2020 P. Duan, Media Convergence and the Development Strategies of Radio and Television in China,



1 The Rise, Concept and Manifestations of Media Convergence

theoretical exploration of the concept comes from diverse research perspectives. For example, key perspectives of western research on media convergence include media history, cultural studies and political economy, which lead to disagreement on the definition [2]. Furthermore, following the initial media-convergence craze, western countries including the U.S. began to show a cooling attitude towards media convergence. Some failed cases of media convergence had also led to discussions such as “antimedia convergence” and “media differentiation”, while many scholars remarked how the public had failed to benefit from the process of media convergence. In their paper Facing the Challenges of Convergence: Media Professionals’ Concerns of Working Across Media Platforms, Huang et al. observed that to date most discussions on media convergence were focused on its business value [3]. In China, Cui Baoguo and Cai Wen were the first to draw attention to media convergence. In his 1999 paper Technological Innovation and Media Transformation, Cui noted the two most distinctive characteristics of media transformation at the time: “one is the mutual convergence and infiltration of different media, and the other is the constantly emerging new media, which represent the convergence and separation of media,” and introduced the concept of media convergence to the country for the first time [4]. Following her visit to the U.S., Cai wrote a series of articles exploring media convergence in the U.S. in 2005. In What Convergence did Change in News Communication Lead to? A Look at the Changes in News Communication in the U.S., Cai introduced the progress of media convergence in the U.S. on the one hand, while on the other hand called for the academic circle in China to pay attention to the reorganisation trend in communication and the changes in the demand for news talents [5]. In recent years, research on media convergence in China is primarily based on the following perspectives: I. Definition of the content and extension of media convergence To date, the academic circle has yet to settle on the content of media convergence, but a variety of theoretical perspectives have formed. From a micro-perspective, the author once suggested that the core of media convergence is “the continuous development of media such as newspapers, radio, television and the Internet following the breakthroughs in information and communications technology. In addition, the overcoming of barriers related to audience, society and policies allows media to make up for their deficiencies by learning from others’ strong points and leads to convergence” [6]. Some scholars believe the essence of media convergence is “the gathering of different media formats based on media convergence” [7], and its manifestations are the reorganisation and merger of different industries and the convergence of core technologies [8]. Furthermore, Huang and Li believe the concept of media convergence should be look at from a more macroperspective; it is “the change in social formats. In other words, the re-integration of media from different dimensions using digital technology as the original technological platform to form a globalised, rising network society, and the media organisation will be a node in the network” [8]. Scholars are also interpreting the content

1.1 Concept and Research Overview of Media Convergence


of media convergence from horizontal, multidimensional perspectives. For instance, Liu begins with the convergence of media functions and shifts the focus of the interpretation of media convergence onto media recipients and clientele. He believes the convergence of functions such as the delivery, interpretation, public opinion and consumption of media jointly driven by communicators and recipients should be included in the definition of the concept [9]. Qian and Lu, however, interpret media convergence from an economic perspective, considering it the convergence of both industries and markets [10]. Liu and Wang regard media convergence as the convergence of media technology, media business, media ownership and related government regulations [11]. On top of that, the organisational convergence of media management and the convergence of society and culture are also a lateral dimension of media convergence [12]. All aspects of human communication, be it technology, economy, subjects, content and regulations, are all key components of media convergence [13]. While defining the content, scholars also explored the extension of the concept of media convergence, such as how it is a dynamically changing status with blurred boundaries and an evolutionary process whereby the old media adapt to new environments [13]. Media convergence signifies changes in media-production means and will propel the rapid development of a mediatised society [14]. Some scholars extend the concept based on the digital logic of media convergence; they believe big-data communication has reshaped the process of media convergence, whose core is ideologically guided and communicated. They also believe the starting point of media convergence is the application of digital technology and the change in content-production ideas and production models, while the key to media convergence is the creation of a new, general operating entity [15]. Finally, the convergence of communication ideas and thinking is also key to media convergence [16]. II. Research on the processes and models of media convergence Regarding the processes and models of media convergence, scholars explored from the perspectives of longitudinal historical evolution and horizontal subject expansion. Based on the logic of the longitudinal historical evolution of media convergence, Peng proposed a “trilogy of media convergence”: first is the cross-media product expansion that is comparable to the “enclosure” of conventional media; second is a product revolution based on the rebuilding of the relationships between communicators and recipients, which aims to expand the market space; and third is the setting up of the keystones of media convergence, known as the transformation of informational terminals [17]. Some scholars also explored the models of media convergence and the process changes based on a longitudinal time dimension. For example, Dang concluded that as the Internet advanced from Web 1.0 to Web 4.0, the models of media convergence were also changing due to the evolution means of the Internet, which rebuilt the relationships among communicators as well as between communicators and recipients. Such is the core of media convergence, as media convergence attempts to integrate humans and machines and converge communicators and recipients [18]. Looking at media convergence with lateral logic, Lu suggests two market-driven models of media convergence: one is a “free relationship” whereby state-owned media actively attract market resources, take on market challenges and embrace


1 The Rise, Concept and Manifestations of Media Convergence

other media; and the other is an “arranged marriage between different industries” driven by the market, whereby new media or other industries approach conventional or other new media [19]. Liang and Ouyang explored the innovation models of radio convergence and concluded the convergence underwent four revolutionary stages, namely clustering, interacting, systematic accumulation and diversification [20]. From a horizontal-subject perspective, scholars have closely observed the microprocesses and model changes related to media convergence. Duan and Kong innovatively put forward a “three-step plan” for the convergence of the conventional publishing industry: The consolidation of its content advantages; the promotion and use of emerging publishing technologies to expand the coverage and influence of its content; and the introduction of external capital to expand industrial distribution and build a new, converged media group [21]. Cai also explores in depth the processes, patterns, models and paths of the convergence and development of conventional publishing [22]. Qian describes in detail the use of media convergence to innovate business models and suggests that the convergence and transformation of contemporary media may primarily be divided into four models, namely content driven, channel driven, “content + channel” dual drive and internal innovation and entrepreneurship of media [23]. III. Research on the regulation and policies of media convergence Media convergence has changed the separated pattern of media, impacting and challenging the regulation of conventional media industries, and regulatory changes are inevitable as countries respond to media convergence [24]. Cai and Huang compared and considered the status quo of media management in different countries and reached a similar conclusion: regulatory changes are a necessary prerequisite for media convergence [25]. Regarding the regulation of media convergence, Duan remarked that as a revolution with profound influence on the communications industry, media convergence overcame the barriers between technology, industry, business and region. Moreover, it restructured content-production processes, circulation models and market structures and put forward new requirements for media regulation [26]. In recent years, China’s communications industry has undergone gradual regulatory changes, but has in general yet to adapt to the development trend and internal logic of media convergence [24]. Some scholars pointed out specific issues related to regulation and its execution. For instance, Xiao was of the opinion that during media convergence, the conflict between the conventional longitudinal framework of regulation and the hierarchical technological structure and horizontal industry structure will lead to four issues, namely inconsistent regulation, uncertain regulation, unreasonable regulation and unsuitable regulation [27]. In this regard, scholars have actively explored the outlook of media regulation against the background of media convergence, and many have proposed measures for regulatory reform from a macroscopic view. Yu argued the main direction of future regulation of media convergence in China was the reform of regulatory systems based on the systematic design of communications. A central state-regulatory department should be in place for the communications industry in addition to a scientific and

1.1 Concept and Research Overview of Media Convergence


effective evaluation system for the effectiveness of media regulation. Furthermore, a healthy legal system should replace policy or temporary regulations to improve the transparency, authority and standardisation of media regulation, while differentiated management should also apply to different areas and media [28]. Li suggested that, in the age of media convergence, media regulation should adapt to the diversity of their subjects and objects, the complexity of the processes, the gradually increasing categories and the generalisation of approaches. As a result, the thinking that regulation was industry-based needed to change urgently and the mould of monotonous government regulation broken. A model of compound regulation needed to be built and the content and structure of regulation overhauled, as it adopted a unified model [29]. Lin summarised the legislation models of medial convergence and argued that the legislation of media convergence and development adapted to the patterns of media development and Internet communications would become powerful support that propels media convergence [30]. Some scholars identified the major future trends of regulation for China’s communications industry in a real context of media convergence: simultaneous inhibition of monopoly and relaxation of regulation, the separation of content regulation and transmission operations as well as the reorganisation of regulatory institutions that led to unification [31]. IV. Reflection on the status quo and issues of media convergence in China To date, China has yet to see large-scale, extensive and multidimensional media convergence. However, the process of media convergence continues and is showing a trend of thorough convergence, as “product convergence moves towards organisational convergence, detail innovation moves towards general innovation, digital media towards smart media and medial platforms towards social platforms” [32]. Among the research on the status quo, one of the foci is the trend and direction of the convergence of conventional mainstream media, and the academic circle has no shortage of analysis of the actual mainstream media in China based on this perspective. Through her observation of the convergence of mainstream media in China in 2018, Yin is of the opinion that both the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and mainstream local media are stepping up the convergence of media, and breakthroughs are seen both in convergence ideas and practice: from the convergence of production and use to that of organisations. The building of platforms promoted social convergence at a macroscopic level, as the depth, extensiveness and effectiveness of convergence increase [32]. Sun names the four major characteristics of the convergence of conventional mainstream media: first is from “passive convergence” to “active actions”, that is, the move towards and even the preference for mobile ends instead of simply following or occasional actions but rather purposely and vigorously moving forward; second is from “creation” to “innovation”, that is, the initial exploration of media convergence was primarily creating new media and boosting the number. However, during the upgrade process, the reform shifts onto a profounder level and moves from boosting to preserving the number; third is from “individual movement” to “general breakthroughs”, that is, from number accumulation to quality changes and from individual to general breakthroughs; fourth is from


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“collaboration” to “independence”, that is, the continuously rising standard of the building of independent and controllable media platforms [33]. It is worth mentioning that among the status-quo research, comparative studies of media convergence are a strong focus. As media convergence took place earlier abroad, China is now exploring and learning from it. By comparing the convergence of foreign, Chinese-foreign and domestic media, conclusions are drawn on the general commonality and individual uniqueness of media convergence, which provide a basis for further exploration of media strategies. For instance, Zhong compared the media-convergence strategies of the BBC from the U.K., NRK from Norway and VRT from Belgium, and summarised the fours lessons that Chinese media might learn from foreign media when practicing media convergence, namely the newsroom model, technological innovation, multi-skill cultivation and management transformation. Furthermore, the process of media convergence might be accelerated via marketisation or standardisation [34]. Apart from outlining the status quo of media convergence, scholars also went through and analysed actual issues that emerged during the convergence process. Overall, scholars offered different theoretical perspectives and noticed the limitations in technological application, content product, resource operations and recipient experience. Gao reasoned that some of the main and new issues facing the content management of conventional mainstream media included the conflicting attitude of conventional media, passive production content, fixed contentproduction ideas, inadequate use of user-generated content/professionally-generated content/occupationally-generated content, lack of content-copyright protection, existing shortcomings on the communication platform of media convergence and the loss of content-production talents [35]. Other scholars also put forward that conventional mainstream media generally have inadequate investment, and their product research and development as well as business operations have yet to pick up. Furthermore, challenges remain in cross-media and -region convergence, and the optimisation of the allocation of internal resources needs improvement [33]. Yan surveyed and conducted in-depth interviews with 24 media companies in China and discovered that issues emerged in the following aspects during the process of media convergence in China: firstly, objective factors changed the fixed contentproduction patterns, making it hard for the conventional, single production pattern to adapt to the requirements of convergence; secondly, conventional media has failed to respond to the change in user habits and consider the recipients; thirdly, convergence has rendered many conventional evaluation indices ineffective, leading to the generalisation of evaluation standards; fourthly, channel expansion and innovation face new challenges; and fifthly, the convergence of media and industry thinking is inadequate [36]. Hu and Li reason that key issues obstructing the convergence of contemporary media include outdated ideas and thinking, lack of content services, inadequate technological development and slow reform of systems and mechanisms [37]. After interviewing different media in China, Xie and Huang identify the issues and limitations in the country’s media convergence in terms of business management, platform building and organisational structures [38]. Meanwhile, Yang explored in

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depth the ethical issues concerning media against the background of media convergence [39], as Zhu reflected on issues that arose from media convergence from an information-copyright perspective [40]. Concerning specific and different convergence subjects, scholars also conducted analysis targeting the issues. For radio and television, Duan summarised the issues that emerged during the convergence into four aspects: first is the failure of mediacontent production to satisfy the recipients; second is the small scale and limited extent of the convergence; third is the lack of interaction with new media; and fourth is acute talent shortage. V. Exploration of the actual strategies and benefit transformation of media convergence Media convergence reached a critical stage in China in 2015 [41], while the period between 2017 and 2018 may be referred to as the turning point for media convergence in China as it went from “addition” to “integration”—a key point that evolved from single and individual convergence to regional and general convergence [33]. Currently, media convergence has entered a crucial period and new mainstream media an offensive period. The building of modern communication systems of omnimedia has also entered an all-round development period. Against the background of changing media environments, the academic circle has proposed innovative theoretical thinking and suggested a future development direction following its observation of the actual status of media convergence. A broad view of the standpoints of the academic circle shows the extensive attention on the strategies of convergence in terms of media technology, media content, media recipients, industry formats, systems and mechanisms and ideas and thoughts. For instance, Hu and Li summarise the starting point of the convergence of contemporary media into the following aspects: idea and thought innovation that leads to media convergence; business-form optimisation that expedites media convergence; technological-upgrade promotion that drives media convergence; and model-system revolution that supports media convergence [37]. Sun insists that the current media convergence should thoroughly expedite the building of the technological systems, encourage content optimisation and improve the operating systems and mechanisms, so as to complement the new media and promote the general coordination and unification of media resources and production elements. The convergence needs to move from “adding” to “integrating” to enhance the synergy and resonance effects, while strengthening the building of a general evaluation system [42]. Gao also put forward some ideas to solve the predicaments in terms of content services, management systems and communication models [35]. Zeng suggests that media convergence will also need to fully exploit technological empowerment and prioritise the promotion of mobility. It should follow the correct path as it innovates and properly guides the public opinion. In addition, a public-service platform of communication needs to be created to fully combine the social functions and convergence strategies of media [43]. Some scholars suggest, recipient-wise, the convergence of atomized recipients into linked users. As for the content, they propose upgrading the production of single programmes to group production. In terms of profit and operations, they suggest the


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building of capital-operation bodies and complementary investment mechanisms. The continuous improvement of marketised operating mechanisms that have adapted to convergence is necessary for the transformation of media convergence [44]. For the different convergence subjects, scholars have put forward tangible and realistic strategies. For the transformation of the conventional publishing industry in China, Duan and Zhang remark that the emphasis should always be placed on the communication content, which should be thoroughly converged with new technologies such as computers and smart media. In addition, focus should be placed on directional measures such as the importance of communication [45]. Many scholars have also observed the execution of media convergence in terms of actual effects, benefit transformation, the focus points of profit and actual income. For example, Yu studied conventional television and analysed its efficiency in media convergence. He concluded the profit models and ideas for future media convergence could focus on programmes combining e-commerce and videos, video-link products, business customisation and other derivative consumer products [46]. Furthermore, future media offer means of monetisation through new monetisation and profit-generating models, such as charging for quality content, monetising fully excavated resources and big data, developing media-based e-commerce and revitalising favourable resources, as well as connecting local demands and offering information services [47]. After going through the above, the author discovers that despite an upsurge in research on the convergence of conventional mainstream media in China and the corresponding research results, limitations still exist to a certain extent. Firstly, the topic of media convergence is characterised by practice. However, while studying the approaches, existing research mostly focuses on qualitative theoretical discussions. Leaning heavily on analysis rather than concrete evidence, most research also began with the summary of theories instead of actual practice. The selection of case studies also emphasised quantity instead of depth, resulting in a lack of systematic and in-depth analysis of specific cases of media convergence, in addition to the absence of actual observations of their unique convergence contexts. Secondly, the little research that focus on the practice is mostly based on a macroscopic view and lacks the specificness of meso- and microscopic analysis. Moreover, the research is more like strategy studies, which are deprived of principles and reasoning, and may lead to the loss of a diverse and cross-disciplinary perspective due to the sole focus on the media perspective. Finally, the results of current research mostly concentrate on a certain aspect of the practice of media convergence and fall short on comprehensive and systematic observations. This indirectly reflects the sparse attention paid to the uniqueness of the practice of media convergence in China, as well as the failure to combine theoretical research with specific practical contexts. To date, media convergence remains a major and central research topic among scholars at home and abroad. Research on the predicaments facing conventional mainstream media during media convergence has produced some results. However, analysis of such research reveals the necessity to conduct deeper research in the area, whether it is the applicability, practicality or standardisation of the research

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methods, or the width and depth of the content. The author is thus of the opinion that in-depth research on the practice of media convergence in China may be conducted by adopting qualitative-research approaches, such as observation, interview and text analysis, which are then combined with typical and distinctive cases of convergence while consulting the specific social contexts. The theoretical perspective may be expanded by integrating macro-, meso- and microscopic views, as attention is paid to the combination of practicality and theory, thoroughness and systematicness as well as specificness and extensiveness.

1.2 Impetuses to the Rise of Media Convergence Ithiel de Sola Pool, the late professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S., described elaborately the prospects of media convergence in his Technologies of Freedom that the services provided to different media were now provided by a single media, while the services provided to a single media could now be provided by different media [1]. Today, from a theoretical stance, the research on the impetuses to media convergence is highly significant for the analysis of the current media environment, the accurate understanding of the influence of media convergence and the identification of the future development trend of media. From a realistic point of view, the exploration of the internal and external impetuses to media convergence helps us understand the production means of media content and the transformation of the means of news communication, so the process of media convergence may be furthered. The author believes that media convergence is a result of the combined effects of many factors, among which the internal motivations arise from changes in media coopetition, technological development and media ecology, while the external forces emerge from the recipient market, media industry and institutional policies.

1.2.1 Internal Impetuses I. The transition from media coopetition to media convergence Ithiel de Sola Pool defined media convergence as different media showing a trend of integrating different features. Other scholars later proposed their own concepts of media convergence from different aspects, and significantly divided opinions exist regarding their interpretations. Actually, despite being a new concept born out of digital electronics technology, the embryonic form of media convergence already existed in the long process of media development. The emergence of radio, television and film technology was accompanied by conflict with the then old media, and as they clashed and confronted one another they also learned from one another. The collaboration and complementation of different media were known as media coopetition, which may be regarded as the initial stage of media convergence. Following


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the arrival of the Internet, the conflict between conventional and new media grows more intense. Meanwhile, media convergence is advancing at a higher level, heading straight for the dream of information freedom of humanity. So what was competition and collaboration between different media like? How did early media coopetition transit towards media convergence? Next we will discuss the questions by reviewing the process of media development and evolution. It was not until the day radio of was born did the prerequisite for media convergence come into being, that is, the existence of two or more media forms. From that moment on, radio and newspapers existed as new and old media and got engaged in a long-drawn-out competition. The advent of penny press at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century ushered in a new era: the era of mass communication. Due to its low price and that it growingly catered to the lower stratum of society, its circulation shot up with a growing readership during this period before it eventually transitioned from being “niche” to being “popularised”. As the first major mass media, newspapers played a vital and indispensible role in driving the advancement of social history. First of all, they prompted the democratic progress of the bourgeoisie. Following the arrival of penny press in the nineteenth century, newspapers were no longer subsidised by political parties and groups and began operating and publishing independently. As a result, they enjoyed the full rights in newsgathering and publishing and began to bring into play their role as the fourth estate. Once again, newspapers stimulated socioeconomic development. Newspapers with large circulation would receive a lot of advertisement, the charges for which became a primary source of income for them. Meanwhile, the advertisement promoted products, so newspapers in turn encouraged consumption and boosted the market. In the end, the rise of newspapers propelled the industrialisation of news media. In short, newspapers once dominated the mass-communication industry. However, its dominance gradually disappeared following the rise of radio and television. Lenin, the founder of Iskra, once ecstatically referred to radio as the newspaper without paper and physical limitations [48]. As an emerging electronic media with a means of communication based on the sense of hearing, radio can fully stimulate people’s sense of hearing and offer a strong sense of presence. It is highly contagious and is known as the “soul theatre”. Remarkably effective, radio also allows live coverage and makes a good company, as people are able to listen to it while doing other things. As a result, newspapers suffered a drastic decline. It may appear that radio “defeated” newspapers, which would take a bow and disappear from history. However, that did not happen. As time passed, the deficiencies of radio began to show: its communication content has poor storability and cannot handle deep and complex topics of discussions. It may satisfy the sense of hearing but does not offer visual stimuli. Newspapers, in comparison, are foldable and easy to carry. It may be stored for a long period of time for repeated reading, may convey abstract topics of discussions that are deep and complex as well as showing exquisite pictures. Newspapers wonderfully make up for the deficiencies of radio, giving rise to the outcome we see today as they each play their own roles.

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Newspapers might have lost some customers, but they got better in their fields of expertise. Meanwhile, taking advantage of its strengths, radio won itself a large number of listeners. Instead of crushing newspapers, it is more like radio expanded its market. Newspapers and radio are not simply rivals; they actually collaborated and complemented each other at different levels. For instance, radio news has always imitated the editing techniques of newspapers and would even report based on the writing style of newspapers. It is also not uncommon for newspaper groups to run broadcast corporations as a sideline. The coopetition between newspapers and radio took place again among newspapers, radio and television. After the Second World War, television developed rapidly in the U.S. Many major broadcast corporations kept the radio stations while exploring television, the new media at the time. As a medium, television is powerful, as it combines sounds and pictures and can freely combine text, sounds and images to display the best effects. Furthermore, it almost combines all the characteristics of newspapers and radio, rightfully earning it the title of a king without a crown among the three major media. Following its arrival, television quickly entered people’s homes and crushed radio, newspapers and magazines. People stopped getting their entertainment and distractions from other channels. Instead, they spent all day at home watching television for hours on end. Many newspapers and periodicals began suffering losses and even went out of business. The impact of television on radio was felt sharply in particular. Not long after radio beat newspapers in the competition of rapidly rising number of advertisement, it was replaced by the emerging television. The audience number of television news surpassed that of newspapers for the first time in 1963, ushering a true era of television news. As the living space of newspapers and radio became unprecedentedly squeezed, television had turned into the primary channel for entertainment and news of people. However, following a period of scuffle, radio and television rediscovered their places. Radio stations adjusted their programme formats and attempted to compete with television in areas they were better at, such as introducing music channels and more suitable content such as classic and country music. Meanwhile, they narrowed down their scope of listeners to targeted groups to satisfy their niche demands. Television, however, could only watch with sadness due to its high production costs. In addition, the uniqueness of radio as company quickly helped it winning the market targeting car drivers. In general, radio might have been severely impacted by television, but it still has its own market. Meanwhile, newspapers were able to bounce back thanks to transformation, as they allow their readers to contemplate calmly and seriously through the texts. The sense of presence that television offered, however, seemed to work against it. While the three media competed with one another, the complementation and mutual learning between old and new media were drawing greater attention. Overshadowed by radio during the early stage, television programmes were basically rerendered radio programmes, and television could be seen as the mouthpiece of radio and newspapers. As time progressed, the old and new media may have independently developed, but mutual learning became the norm. Whether it is the news commentary


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or the commentators’ articles on television, the structures came from newspapers and radio, as is seen on Summary of Press of Phoenix Television or Newspaper Reading with Ma Bin on First Instant of China Central Television (CCTV). Judging from the interaction between media features and recipient needs, radio was the new media compared to newspapers, while television was the new media compared to newspapers and radio. The emergence of new media is always accompanied by rapid expansion within a short period of time and will inevitably severely impact the old media and even lead to an avalanche. Despite the incessant crying wolf, radio did not replace newspapers and television did not replace radio. As Fidler remarked that all forms of communication media co-existed and -evolved in a continuously expanding and complex self-adapting system [49]. In other words, the arrival of a new form of medium will not destroy the old ones, but will give rise to a new pattern through competition, infiltration, adaptation and evolution. Looking back at the two periods in the history of media development, the concept of media convergence might not have existed at the time, but we do see it taking shape and budding. We usually summarise the characteristics of media relationships during the period before the emergence of the Internet as the period of media coopetition, when the three major media collaborated as competitors and their relationships were both conflicting and unified. This is the budding stage of media convergence as well as a preview of the media convergence to come. The reasons it is called coopetition and not convergence may primarily be attributed to the premise of the complementation and mutual learning of the three major media, namely the clear boundaries between media forms. However, the advent of a new medium that is the Internet would truly drive the transition from media coopetition to convergence. This is the transition from media era to post-media era for humanity as well as a mutation process, as the development of human information technology reaches a higher level. II. Technological advancement—the core impetus to media convergence In the field of communications, we often confuse communication science with communication technology. To better explain the influence of technology on media convergence, we will differentiate the two. Broadly speaking, science is the search for truth, whereas technology is more practical. Only when science is extensively applied to the actual production and referred as a tool can it be called technology. We may therefore understand it like this: strictly speaking, communication technology is the key subject of communication studies, while science that affects the development of communication technology is rarely studied in communications [50]. Next we will move on to relate how communication technology drives the process of media convergence, and we may even touch on some content of communications where needed. Following Marshall McLuhan’s research, studies comparing communication technology and forms began to emerge as a new perspective of communications studies. McLuhan had a broader understanding of media technology, and according to Professor He Daokuan he was a pan-media theorist. Whether at home or abroad, scholars have a significantly different understanding of communication technology. Generally speaking, technology that drives human communication may be broadly

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regarded as communication technology, but not every communication technology can turn into a communication medium. For the ease of this research, every communication technology discussed below may be regarded as media technology. Doubtlessly, the development of communication technology drives the development of the corresponding medium. To date, the development of the mainstream media technology of humanity has undergone the following phases: verbal medium, the medium of words and symbols, print medium, electronic medium and Internettechnology medium. Media convergence was born during the fifth technological phase: the Internet-technology medium. As Joseph Dominick described by the term media timeline: to look at the development of communication media chiefly driven by technology from a time perspective allows us to see clearly the rapid changes in media technology and its corresponding media. By going through the development of media technology, we are able to uncover the relationship between communication technology and media development, which in turn leads to the search for the logic of media convergence. Undoubtedly, communication technology profoundly influences the process of media development. Technology promotes the birth and development of new media, as new and old media expand on the existing pattern and co-exist. The integration of digital communication technology and communications technology has become the leading direction of development of current communication technology. In the age of new media, the rise of digital communication technology has broken through the transmission means and the terminals of conventional media, leading to the gradual disappearance of the distinct boundary of conventional media. The exclusiveness of single media in terms of channels and terminals thus becomes a thing of history before eventually leading to media convergence. So what exactly is digital communication technology? How does it promote media convergence? Concrete explanations will be given below. Digital communication technology rises alongside computer technology and is a technology that corresponds to the simulation of communication technology. With the help of certain electronic equipment, it turns information such as pictures, text, sounds and images into binary numbers “0” and “1” that a computer recognises before computing, processing, storing, transmitting, communicating and restoring the information. In the age of digital communication, facilitated by digital electromagnetic waves, the communication speed of bit is almost comparable to the speed of light. Compared to conventional media technology, digital technology has a certain advantage in terms of compression, being interference-resistant, accuracy, confidentiality and commonness. All the media that humans can perceive may be expressed in the numbers of “0” and “1”, leading to a fundamental transformation as to how human communicate and receive information. For instance, the compression of digital signals not only greatly increased communication efficiency, but also further strengthened the load capacity of expression [51]. Network media is the first recognised new media, and the development of digital network technology may be regarded as the real starting point of the development of new media. The popularisation of digital communication networks based on IP technology, personal computer terminals and network-based document service and


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storage systems is the basis for people’s acceptance of the concept of network media. The academic circle has paid network media the attention due, and scholars have published a large number of research results to describe the new features of emerging media such as network media. Interactivity is one of the most distinctive features of network media, as it has broken the unidirectional, linear means of communication of conventional media. The introduction of an interactive means of communication has changed the passive status of recipients, who have more choices and stronger initiative, which may even lead to the concept of recipient being replaced by “prosumer” (producer + consumer). The consequent changes in recipient needs mean the convergence of different media features is an inevitable trend, thus providing media convergence with the basis for marketisation. However, from the point of view of technological application, the birth of any new media is not the result of a single digital technology but rather different digital communication technologies. Digital technologies based primarily on digital symbol-editing technology, data-storage technology, data-network technology and digital-representation technology provide new media the corresponding technological support. The splitting and restructuring of digital technology has given rise to new media, including PC terminals, mobile texts and e-readers, whose digital homology ensures the maintenance of close relationships and contact among them. The conclusion may thus be drawn that regardless of the diversity manifested by new media, due to the commonalities in the technology that supports them, new media have the characteristic of being universal and may be converged. A broad overview of the evolution of communication technology reveals the history of human communication is that of a continuously developing, improving and rejuvenating social-information system. The development of media technology at its core is a process that began from scratch, from low level to high and from simplicity to complexity. Old and new media do not simply change and replace each other, but rather exhibit a state of gradual convergence. The evolution of communication technology means media is no longer separated from people, as it and communication activities infiltrate the entire social organism and reconstruct the living conditions in which people rely on media. Take for example the introduction of digital communication technology by conventional media to digitise conventional media. Due to the distinct technological differences among conventional media, the operations of pre-digital communication media were in strips and pieces that bore no relation to one another. The application of digital communication technology has dissolved and even removed the technological boundaries between different media, providing powerful technological support for the infiltration and convergence of old and new media. III. Changes in media ecology promotes media convergence From a media ecological perspective, the rise of new media is deconstructing the ecology, forms and structures of conventional media. Based on this perspective, that conventional media seeks to converge and develop with new media has become an inevitable choice for the continuous development of conventional media. Meanwhile,

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building upon the conventional media, the features of new media continue to expand and diversify, and the process is in essence the early stage of media convergence. Two points of view exist in the definition of new media: one is a relative point of view, and the other is an absolute point of view. The definitions of new media of most scholars bear the distinctive characteristics of their times. The definition of CCW Research is that new media that emerged in 2006 is a service platform based on the Internet and integrates new technologies such as P2P streaming, broadband wireless remote transmission and directional controlled-broadcast transmission. With computers, television and mobile phones (including PDAs) as the display terminals, it presents videos, music and text. Almost every scholar believe the main representative of new media is the Internet, the basis of digital technology, when referring to the new media. Regardless of what exactly new media is, it has without doubt profoundly impacted the daily life of people. Smart terminals of mobile Internet have quickly won itself a place in the media industry, thanks to their portability and multifunctionality. Particularly following the launch of 4G communications technology, smart mobile terminals have rapidly become the first choice of users when searching for information due to their features of being fast, stable and compatible. Furthermore, their instant, prompt and all-round information services have changed the overall pattern of the media industry. As for the media, the arrival of 5G will certainly have a profound influence on the efficiency of information communication and the medium of communication. On the one hand, the transmission of images and videos will become faster. It will also be easier for users to receive information via videos, signifying image communication will become the primary means of information communication. On the other hand, 5G will encourage the further development of the Internet of Everything, adding to the diversity of media scenes [52]. As the pace of life picks up, unlike before, the time that people spend obtaining information has also become more fragmented, and the characteristics of new media actually cater to such approach. On top of that, the reading forms have undergone dramatic changes, while communication forms have become more diverse, be it text, pictures, sounds, animations and videos. As virtual-reality technology develops, people may in the future even acquire information through audio-visual experience as they immerse in the virtual reality. Reading environments and habits are also changing, and people’s interaction with media is no longer limited to specific locations such as movie theatres or living rooms. Instead, they may enjoy mobile, online or cloud-based reading anytime, anywhere, using multi-display mobile terminals, such as mobile phones, e-readers, tablets and smart watches. New media have also fostered new habits in people in terms of how they receive information, which could be fatal to old media: from “in-depth reading” to “superficial reading”, from “reading by heart” to “reading generally” and fragmented or immersed reading. It is also becoming increasingly evident that the information is more open, diverse, entertaining and experience-based. In short, people are becoming more and more dependent on the communication means of new media, which have reshaped people’s lifestyles. Against such background, the number of new-media users has skyrocketed. In China alone, the number of Internet users reached 772


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million by December 2017, a penetration rate of 55.8%, surpassing the global average of 51.7% by 4.1% and the Asian average of 46.7% by 9.1% [53]. It is clear that the Internet has become one of the key media through which people acquire news information. The onslaught of the Internet media is so fierce that old media all feel the nip in the air. According to statistics from the World Association of News Publishers, newspaper circulation went down by 5% in the U.S. between 1995 and 2003, while in Europe and Japan it went down by 3 and 2%. During the 1960s, four out of five Americans read a newspaper daily, but now only half of the population still reads newspapers. Philip Meyer, author of The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age, remarked that if the trend continued, the last reader would read the last newspaper and chuck it in the bin by April 2040 [54]. The Internet study conducted by the Research Centre for Social Development of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2005 revealed that the Internet had occupied a lot more of the time of consumers and not only the time to read newspapers. The situation is comparable to the emergence of television, when television took up a great amount of people’s time and impacted almost every entertainment and cultural industries. Faced with a new media ecological environment, history seems to repeat itself. Old media is in a precarious position following the strike of new media, which are all the rage. The transformation of conventional media and the convergence between old and new media are imminent.

1.2.2 External Forces I. Recipient factor—the market impetus to media convergence Paul Levinson, a noted American communications scholar, presented the “anthropotropic” theory of media evolution for the first time in his post-doctoral paper, and advocates that recipients are extremely significant in media evolution. In other words, humans have created media, which will consequently become more and more like humans. Media does not develop and evolve randomly, but actually takes on the form of human communication over time. Human brains are an ultimate example of the convergence of the biological processing of information, which is why media will advance towards human features and forms. As media evolves, each piece of equipment is able to perform more and more tasks until all the equipment integrates, and in this sense media convergence happens. As a result, the future development trend of media will conform to human characteristics, and the characteristics of recipients will influence the direction of media convergence. The concept of recipients is rather broad. From the communications perspective, two subjects exist during the communication process: the communicator and the communicatee. The communicatee is the recipient of the act of communication, the destination of the information communication and a key link in communication. Furthermore, the communicatee is the prerequisite and condition that the communication process exists. Without the communicatee, communication has no direction

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and purpose and can no longer be called communication. In interpersonal and organisational communication, the positions of the communicator and the communicatee exist relatively, and there is no clear recipient in such communication. In general, the concept of recipients mostly exists in the context of mass communication. The communicator, communicatee and communication target in mass communication are generally referred to as recipients, who specifically may include newspaper and magazine readers, radio listeners, film and television audience and Internet users. Herbert Blumer, an American communications scholar, referred to recipients as “mess”. According to his analysis, recipients have the characteristics of being large, mixed, scattered and hidden, that is: (1) Recipients of mass communication are large in number, and an influential media may have hundreds of thousands, millions or even hundreds of millions of social recipients; (2) The diverse social attributes of recipients of mass communication are shaped by factors such as different age groups, races, genders, occupations, financial and income levels, areas of residence and cultures; (3) Recipients of mass communication are scattered. The non-organisational, fluid and changing groups have different occupations and motives and do not know one another; and (4) To the communicator, recipients have hidden characteristics. The communicator may learn the overall characteristics of recipients but can hardly grasp the specific conditions of all the recipients. From the marketing perspective based on the recipient concept, the 4Cs theory suggests placing consumers (recipients) in the middle of marketing. Specifically speaking, it is guided by consumer needs and resets the four basic elements of marketing: consumer, cost, convenience and communication. Furthermore, it stresses prioritising consumer satisfaction and may also be applied to the communication field. In the media market, recipient needs are the key impetus that drives media development, and changes in recipient needs will lead to changes in market competition; media convergence is precisely the change that the media industry makes in response to the complex needs of recipients. In summary, recipients are the basic impetus to media convergence, and their splitting up and polarisation prompt media convergence from different aspects. Today, mass media plays an increasingly critical role in people’s daily life. An undeniable fact is that during the period with inadequate media content people had few choices, and it was not uncommon that every family watched the same television programme, such as the extremely popular Chinese television series Yearning from decades ago or CCTV New Year’s Gala [55]. Due to the restricted productive forces back then, the number of media products was also very limited in China. Recipients of different ages, occupations, classes and educational standards could only enjoy the same media content. Programme content was highly homogenised at the time to ensure it appealed to both refined and popular tastes, the old and the young as well as women and children. As media technology develops, media-content production has also improved considerably. Based on such premise, media resources are no longer scarce resources. On the contrary, media’s competition for recipients also grows increasingly fierce.


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According to the uses and gratifications theory of Elihu Katz, recipients are individuals with special demands whose media use arises from their personal needs. As media competition becomes whiteout, media content has also become more diverse and recipients may choose the content based on their needs. Technological advancement has provided recipients with the possibility of choice, and recipients make the choice based on their personal factors. As economy and technology develops, recipients’ interest in media also begins to become divided. Take television audience for example, they have dissimilar requests and judging standards for programmes in addition to watching habits. This drives television programmes and channels to become professionalised—that is, the division of original channels into news, sports, musical and movie channels. Although certain major news still captures the attention of majority of the audience, the “one-package-for-them-all model” of CCTV during the 1970s and the 1980s is long gone. Not only is conventional media going from being “broad” to being “narrow”, the arrival of new media such as the Internet has significantly exacerbated the process of “recipient division”. In summary, the development of communication technology and the social division of recipients have jointly lead to the division of the recipients. In the new media ecology, not a single medium can win the exclusive attention of the recipients. Any medium competing for enough attention to ensure its survival and development must resort to multimedia. It may therefore be concluded that the segmentation of the recipient market requires media convergence to provide brand-new media formats, so as to satisfy the diverse social needs and provide greater choices for content and channels. The polarisation of recipients refers to the division of recipients into two extreme ends, namely the loyalists and non-followers. It causes media to lose its “most general” recipients but acquire core recipients. In the age of network information, information explosion has led to information overload. Meanwhile, with the increasing number of media and channels through which recipients may receive information, recipients are also gaining the initiative. Due to their limited attention, recipients can only choose limited media content. Based on such premise, the recipients become critical, that is, they only focus on content concerning their personal interests and hobbies or what interests them, and will shun media information that does not concern or interest them. As the process further develops, the recipients evolve into special recipients, who are comparatively more focused and are more likely to participate in communication activities driven by purpose and utility and efficacy. Since they have more special demands for the information they receive, a single medium can hardly satisfy them. As a result, old and new media need to integrate, so the recipients may easily choose the information they need from different medium. Finally, network media is characterised by extensive communication coverage, large information content and infinite information connection, which lead to the emergence of a new means of information consumption, as people begin collective consumption. People are no longer satisfied to consume exclusively from newspapers,

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magazines or television media. Instead, people want their computers or phones to be able to send and receive e-mails, browse web pages and allow them to watch movies or livestream, listen to radio, communicate instantly and read articles. II. Industrial factors—industrial requirements of media convergence Another change that arises during the process of media convergence is the adjustment of the organisational structure of the entire media industry. Media organisations that have successfully achieved the convergence of related fields are often able to gain a tremendous development edge. Although the recently rapidly developing new media have achieved expansion and growth with the help of breakthrough technologies and the concept of accompaniment, the brand resources that conventional and major media have accumulated over the centuries are an indelible advantage. On the one hand, the advancement of communication technology naturally demands that of management approaches and organisation structures. On the other hand, old and new media attract each other with their respective advantages. As new media continues to strengthen its media attributes, conventional media also attempts to reform its organisational structure, so the newly converged technology may play a stronger role. The convergence attempts carried out by media businesses in terms of department setup and staff work division are often referred to the convergence of organisational structures. As the term suggests, to adapt to the needs of different media terminals presenting diverse media products, departments in media businesses need to become closely connected to ensure smoother communication for media convergence, including the administration, gathering and editing and channel departments, as well as the business department that divides conventional and new media. The requirement of media convergence is that resources from different departments within the businesses may be fully mobilised for media-production activities. In response to this requirement, a converged media-production department is thus born to deploy resources within the businesses more efficiently, be it human resources or finance. Take the super-editing department of the BBC after the reorganisation of its editing department, the new multimedia news-editing department and the new multimediaprogramme department replaced the three departments unavoidably divided by the media boundary, namely radio station, television station and network. The new editing department becomes a structure that radiates out from a centre, where the new editing and programme departments are found. Commanded by their own editors and programme producers, these departments dispatch reporters from different departments, platforms and regions. Unlike the previous independent administration of staff of different platforms, such as radio, television and network, all the staff work together in the same space and are centrally dispatched under the new organisational structure. The new structure of the editing department helps achieve resource sharing, enhance work efficiency, improve news quality and save production costs, which effectively recycles news resources. The means of the media-content production have also undergone corresponding changes. In the context of media convergence, media products often need to contain content from different platforms. Take Weibo, China’s microblogging site and a


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converged media, for example, text, images, sounds and videos are used to help the communication of the content. To satisfy the needs of such content production, a more converged cross-media content-production team should be created, and reporters and editors of the previous single medium should in response be promoted to multimedia and omnimedia reporters. Similarly, look at the example of the BBC, which has a multimedia newsgathering team comprising expert reporters from different platforms and reporters from the BBC’s interactive television. The BBC has established a universal gathering and editing system to ensure all the news materials are uploaded via a unified form that may also be shared. Sounds, images and information that frontline reporters obtained on site using different equipment are uploaded to a database. Through the adjustment of the new production step, editing departments previously found in different media departments were disbanded, thus advancing further towards the process of integrated gathering and editing. In addition to innovating content-production means, the content-production step that admits more recipients has become the choice of many media. Supported by new communication technology, it has become possible for normal users to enter the field of information production. Privileges previously belonged to reporters and editors are now shared with users, who may upload more original content based on personal preference. The media industry is also transformed during the process of convergence. The convergence of the media industry and regulation allows media of the new age to keep pace with the rapidly changing society, which in turn leads to the convergence of media and society. As conventional media industry further expanded its fields, the monopoly of conventional radio and television media was broken due to the change in the media ecological environment, technological development and the introduction of the triple play. During the process of convergence, the media industry not only converged with the media industry in its original sense, but also the telecommunications industry and industries previously not included in the definition of media. Through latitudinal and longitudinal convergence, the media industry converged with similar industries and expanded its entire industry chain, which helps media organisations mobilise and create more resources. Regulatory convergence should be ahead of media convergence. The objective of regulatory convergence is to set up departments for regulatory convergence, draw up ideas for the convergence, eliminate policies obstructing media convergence, encourage the convergence and competition between different media industries through diverse regulatory means, provide quality information services and satisfy the diverse information needs of recipients. III. Policy factor—institutional support for media convergence Mass media possesses dual attributes, namely social and economic. It exists as a public vessel and performs the role of promotion and monitoring, and with its economic attribute it also plays an industrial role. If the economic attribute may be regarded as the fundamental and enduring attributes of media, then the political attribute would be its supporting and periodical attributes. Due to its powerful influence and the scarcity of media resources, governments around the world manage the mass media strictly.

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Every country revises its regulation of the media industry based on its national circumstances. Through the establishment of a systematic framework for the media industry that adapts to the expanding media boundaries and the trend of converging media, components that are incompatible with existing regulation are adjusted to make up for the blind spots in existing regulation. By knocking down the barrier to media convergence, competition and collaboration between media are encouraged, while the media economy is prompted to strike a balance between obtaining economic benefits and providing public services. So what changes did regulators of telecommunications and radio and television from each country undergo to adapt to the convergence of industries such as network, technology and business? Kullenberg and McQuail divided media policies into three paradigms chronologically: The first stage was from the nineteenth century to the outbreak of the Second World War, when the objective of regulation was to promote competition and reduce monopoly; the second stage was between 1945 and 1990, when the objective of regulation was to promote media to play its role as a social vessel; and the third stage is from 1990 to present, which is characterised by relaxed regulation that provides the media with greater room for development both nationally and internationally. The role of regulators has gradually shifted from an intervener in market development to someone who respects the will of the market, technology, consumers and citizens. Similarly, regulators may be divided based their differences into three categories: the first is when two independent regulators carry out separate, longitudinal management of telecommunications and radio activities; the second is the merge of regulators responsible for telecommunications and radio and television into one. However, telecommunications and radio and television activities are still controlled by different departments under the same regulator, as is seen in the U.S. and Japan; third is the setting up of a central, general regulator for converged regulation of the entire electronic-telecommunications market, which is no longer based on technical features but rather the users, and the departments within the regulatory body are set up based on such principle. The U.K. is a classic example of this category [56]. Policies and regulations concerning media control started off with strict restrictions on media convergence before most countries moved on to relax the control over conventional media and the information and telecommunications industries. They encouraged competition, amalgamation and restructuring among these businesses, before becoming the macroscopic force that drove the macroscopic media convergence. For instance, many countries around the world are slowly realising the obstacle posed by the split-management model to the development of the media industry, and are beginning to revise their regulations and policies and relaxing the restrictions on media businesses, so as to allow the market to become the key impetus that regulates the survival and development of the media industry. In recent years, in response to the global trend of media convergence, particularly due to the internal drive coming from technological development and the profitchasing of related industrial bodies, China is also following closely behind and has revised the policies for related industries. Initially, media bodies in China were public institutions that received full government appropriations, and were often plagued by issues such as insufficient appropriations for business operations and spending on


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business development. For a general business unit, given the limited state funding, it is understandable that the public services provided may suffer in quality. However, for media bodies, regardless of the amount of funding, the promotional tasks must be completed, which is a conflict between the system of administrative appropriations and the business-development requirements of the media business system. To solve the conflict and help the media develop rapidly, the country began a process of systematic change that is bottom up and horizontal. In 1978, eight news companies in Beijing, including People’s Daily, jointly submitted a report to China’s Ministry of Finance requesting the introduction of business management to public institutions. Unable to meet the deficiency in funds for media units, the Ministry of Finance approved the request. Since then, business management of public institutions has become a feature of the media-management system of China. The plan was originally a transitional and temporarily solution for income shortfalls, but once executed it is given a long life and still plays a role today. The policy was adopted by other public institutions such as radio and television, as the public-media institutions ushered in the era of “one-dimensional system, two-dimensional operations”. A “one-dimensional system” here refers to the media being state owned, while the “two-dimensional operations” mean receiving state appropriations as well as generating profit from advertising by taking advantage of the state-granted rights. The political and economic features were thus fulfilled [57]. In 1979, the Central Radio and Television Administration piloted a fiscal policy at CCTV. With the approach of “subsidising the difference, keeping the balance”, the policy required units to assume responsibility for balancing surpluses and deficits. The approach provided CCTV with fiscal support, resource income rights and the rights to allocate funds after earnings. In 1983, after the 11th National Radio and Television Work Meeting, Document No. 37 was published and formulated policies such as “four-level operation”, “severability clause and being block-based”, “tapping financial sources” and “service companies or departments of radio and television bodies at all levels shall introduce business management to public institutions”. It is evident that, on the one hand, Document No. 37 re-confirmed the system of business management of public institutions, while on the other hand it changed the “twolevel operation” of the state and provinces to a “four-level operation” of the state, provinces, regions and counties. The decision to spread out mobilised different areas, tapped into financial sources and greatly reduced construction costs. After the 14th National People’s Congress of the Communist Party of China, people gained a greater understanding of the system of a socialist market economy. Topics concerning media reforms no longer just focused on the aspect of business management of public institutions, but rather that the management needed to consider from a broader, systematic aspect issues such as reform, income generation and development bottlenecks. Against such temporal background, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council promulgated the Decision to Expedite the Development of the Tertiary Industry on 16 June 1992. The document formally included the following cultural industries into the tertiary industry: culture and entertainment, radio, film and television and book publishing. Furthermore, it stipulated and demanded these industries “to devise an industry-oriented,

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dynamic mechanism for the self-development of the tertiary industry. Most bodies of the tertiary industry should become economic entities or introduce business operations, so they could operate independently and be responsible for their own profit and losses. Most welfare, common-wellbeing and public institutions of the tertiary industry should gradually evolve towards being business-based and introduce business management.” The introduction of the document broke the taboo of the media industry and allowed industries such as newspaper and radio and television to find their own positioning in the industrial system. The 1990s saw China experienced rapid economic development, and radio and television departments began to explore collectivised operations due to the general circumstances. However, the lack of related policy support meant the attempts were cautious. The promulgation of Document No. 82 in 1999 sped up the pace of collectivisation of radio and television. The document clearly stated the “creation of radio and television groups that include radio stations in municipalities, autonomous regions and provinces.” The creation of radio and television groups was thus drastically expedited. In the Notice on Forwarding the Opinions on the Further Reform of the News, Publishing, Radio, Film and Television Industries of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and General Administration of Press and Publication published by the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China in 2001, comprehensive stipulations were made for the creation of radio and television groups regarding the guiding ideas, principles, systems and funding channels. Active collectivisation was specifically demanded along with the introduction of cross-media and -region operations to develop and strengthen the groups. The document provided realistic institutional support for media collectivisation, in addition to kindling the enthusiasm of different areas with favourable policies to create groups. The 16th National People’s Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2002 clearly stated the following requests to provide strong political support for the intense reform of media systems: “continuously intensify the reform of cultural systems”, “straighten out the relationships between governments and cultural enterprises and institutions” and “intensify the internal reform of cultural enterprises and institutions”. To act in the spirit of the congress, the National Work Meeting on the Pilot Programmes for Cultural-System Reforms took place in Beijing in June 2003. The meeting formally kicked off the pilot programmes for cultural-system reforms in 35 units, including news publishing, radio, film and television and art academies and troupes, in nine municipalities and provinces: Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Xi’an and Lijiang. To resolve issues that arose from the execution of the pilot programmes, the General Office of the State Council published the notice on the Two Rules for Supporting the Development of Cultural Industries and the Transformation of For-Profit Cultural Public Institutions into Enterprises during the Pilot Programmes for Cultural-System Reforms on 31 December 2003. The rules greatly facilitated pilot units, reduced taxation costs and eliminated policy barriers with the regulation of the following ten areas, namely


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finance and taxation, investment and financing, asset disposal, business administration, pricing, authorised operations, income distribution, social security, staff resettlement and legal-entity registration [57]. On 12 January 2006, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council published the Opinions on Intensifying Cultural-System Reforms, demanding that “the reform of cultural public institutions should be based on the existing nature and functions of the institutions, and it shall be handled individually with distinct guidance and reform requirements”, “the reform of cultural enterprises should be intensified and the system transformation of state-owned cultural public institutions must be regulated”, “the macro-management of the cultural field must be stepped up and improved, the transformation of government functions accelerated and the duties of cultural administrative and management departments defined, so as to straighten out the relationship between the cultural administrative and management departments and the cultural enterprises and institutions to which they belong.” The introduction of the document signified an all-round drive for cultural-system reforms across the country based on the pilot programmes from 2003. The Report on the Work of the Government from 2007 reiterated the “all-round drive for the reform of the cultural systems and the improvement of the policies of the cultural industries”. A year later the General Office of the State Council published document no. 114, which provided institutional support for “the transformation of for-profit cultural public institutions into enterprises and the support for the development of cultural enterprises during the reform of the cultural systems”. The development of media convergence has risen to the level of national development strategy. It is a major strategic deployment of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to consolidate promotional ideas, strengthen mainstream thinking and public opinion and safeguard ideological and political security. Following the 18th National People’s Congress of the Communist Party of China, as the pillar of the party President Xi Jinping has attached great importance to media convergence. He has also elaborated at length the promotion of media convergence on different occasions. At the 4th Meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms on 18 August 2014, the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Convergence of Conventional and Emerging Media were released. At the National Publicity Ideology Work Meeting that took place between 21 and 22 August 2018, President Xi instructed the building of county-level media centres to better guide and serve the public. On 14 November 2018, he chaired the 5th Meeting of the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform, at which the Opinions on Stepping Up the Building of County-Level Media Centres were released. On 25 January 2019, at the 12th collective study session of the CPC Central Committee’s Political Bureau concerning the age of omnimedia and media convergence, President Xi stressed the promotion of media convergence and the development of omnimedia had become an urgent task. The results of information revolution must be exploited to drive the deep development of media convergence. These critical statements have not only provided a clear direction for the in-depth media convergence, but also

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signify that media convergence has become a strategic topic of national development, which is a major measure in the deployment and drive to intensify the reform of the cultural systems at a state level. Huang Kunming, head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, emphasised the need to vigorously promote media convergence and innovatively build converged-media centres in the last kilometre of connecting fundamental cultural ideologies and efforts. The encouraged development of media convergence is a strategic measure to consolidate promotional ideologies and culture as well as to strengthen mainstream thinking and public opinion. The reform policies placed media in a greater cultural context to carry out systematic reforms. The state has also introduced a series of policies that encourage replacing the institutional system with a business system, so as to transform the development model of the cultural industries. As mentioned above, relaxed media regulation is a policy environment for media convergence, which in turn is a new impetus to the reform of media regulation. However, regulatory and policy reforms do not happen overnight and are a process of response, interaction, breaking in and continuous innovation in relation to the actual communication pattern. As the current media convergence continues to advance forward, the corresponding media policies will also undergo a long process.

1.3 Manifestations of Media Convergence The original idea of media convergence refers to the trend of different media integrating different features. Today, however, the concept has acquired a broader definition. The core of media convergence is the continuous development of media such as newspapers, radio, television and network following breakthroughs in the information-communication technology. The barriers in the sense of recipients, society and policies are overcome, so different media are able to make up for their deficiencies by learning from the strong points of others, leading to a trend of convergence. As information technology develops, particularly driven by the emerging Web 2.0 technology, the inherent boundaries among media are starting to disappear and becoming fluid. Convergence in areas such as content, network, channel and organisational structure has given rise to different forms of manifestations of media convergence at microscopic, mesoscopic and macroscopic levels.


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1.3.1 Microscopic Level: The Convergence of Media Technology As an information or content industry, the media industry is built upon the development of media technology. Media convergence at a microscopic level has its root in the progress of information-communication technology, which drives media technology and leads to converged media technology. Specifically speaking, the convergence of media technology is manifested in two aspects, namely the convergence of media-network technology and that of media-terminal technology. I. The convergence of media-network technology The convergence of media-network technology refers to a digitised transmission network of media products turns from a single and exclusive network into a complex, multipurpose and converged transmission network. In September 1993, the U.S. government announced the National Information Infrastructure plan, which would last 20 years and cost USD400 billion. The plan aimed to build an Internet-based information superhighway that would transmit and share massive amounts of information. The proposal of the plan was based on the already remarkable scale of cable-television, telecommunications and computer networks in the country. The concept was to create high-speed, general broadband information based primarily on fibre-optic backbones and complemented by microwave and a coaxial-cable distribution system, before eventually transitioning to fibre-to-the-home. In 1996, the U.S. reformed the Telecommunications Act, which broke down the barriers among the telecommunications, media and other industries and allowed mutual infiltration [58]. The restrictions on the diversification of the information industry in the U.S. were fully lifted, turning telecommunications and radio and television networks from single-purpose, exclusive networks into converged, multipurpose networks. The importance that the U.S. government attached to information technology and the vigorous building of information-technology facilities had strong repercussions throughout the world. Against precisely such background, China put forward the idea of triple play and began converging media networks. According to the definition of Document No. 5 Notice of the State Council on Releasing and Promoting the General Plan for Triple Play that was released by the State Council on 21 January 2010, triple play refers to that as the three major networks, namely the telecommunications network, radio and television network and the Internet, evolve towards broadband-communications network, digital-television network and the next-generation Internet, their technical feature become homogeneous and their business scopes identical. As a result, the networks become interconnected and share resources to provide users with different service, including voice, data and radio and television. The government as well as the telecommunications and radio and television systems all believe that triple play may encourage network interconnection and resource sharing, which will increase the network-use rate and avoid repeated construction.

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The rapid development of digital technology allows text, sounds, images and videos to be transformed into unified computer binary code that may be stored, transmitted and exchanged, when all information is transmitted via bitstreams. The advantages of optical-communication technology, such as a broad transmission band, a large communication capacity and being highly resistant to electromagnetic interference, provide highly efficient means for the transmission of business information. Meanwhile, the development of software technology allows users direct access to the three major networks. The ubiquitousness of universal TCP/IP provides users with a universal communication protocol, so activities supported by IP technology may work on different networks. It may be said that the advancement of the above basic information-communication technologies has removed the obstacle in the convergence of media networks in China, that is, the technical obstacle of transforming a single, exclusive network into a complex, multipurpose and converged transmission network. The biggest obstacles now in the drive for triple play in China lie in organisational structures and policies and regulation. In March 2001, the Chinese government set the clear goal of achieving triple play in the outline for the 10th Five-Year Plan. In January 2008, six ministries and commissions formally issued a document proposing “using the digitisation of cable television as the point of penetration to expedite, promote and popularise digital television and radio. The building of basic information infrastructure such as the broadband-communication network, digital-television network and next-generation Internet must also be stepped up, so as to encourage triple play and form a comprehensive digital-television industry chain. The coordinated development of related industries such as digital-television technology research and development, product manufacturing, transmission and access and user services may thus be achieved.” In June 2010, the pilot cities and pilot plans for triple play were announced, and tangible promotion of triple play was under way. In April 2014, China Broadcast Network Corporation Ltd. was established with a registered capital of RMB4.5 billion. It is responsible for the market subjects of triple play and is focused on promoting the interconnection and integration of all cable networks in the country. The corporation will introduce top-level planning for triple play and the cable-network industry, so as to guide industrial transformation and upgrade. In November 2014, the General Office of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China published the Notice of the General Office of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China on the Application for Business Permits for the Bilateral Operations of Pilot Programmes during the Second Stage of Triple Play; the notice marked the issuance of permits for bilateral operations in 42 pilot cities during the second stage. In August 2015, the General Office of the State Council released the Promotional Plan for Triple Play, which detailed the deployment for the promotion of triple play. The plan proposed the promotion of bilateral operations of the radio and television and telecommunications industries around the country, and the expedition of the building, renovation and planning for broadband networks. It also demanded the monitoring of network-information and cultural security be stepped up, along with the extensive promotion of the development of related industries.


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In view of this, triple play has once again appeared on the reform agenda of the government in recent years and is launching major construction projects currently under way in an orderly fashion. The convergence of media-network technology as represented by triple play will greatly improve the status quo of information communication in China. Furthermore, it will break down all existing institutional barriers on information-transmission networks. It will achieve the converged communication of digital-television and -radio programmes, communications services and digital-transmission services on a unified and complex network, while maximising information-communication efficiency and the use rate of information-communication resources. II. The convergence of medial-terminal technology As media-network technology converged, the convergence of medial-terminal technology also began to emerge. The convergence of medial-terminal technology refers to the convergence of media vessels, whereby the features of different terminals are integrated in the hardware and software of a single medial terminal, as the content of different media forms is received and shown. The main development direction of the current convergence of medial-terminal technology is the convergence of the 3Cs, namely computer, communication and consumer electronics. It was not until after the 1980s and the 1990s that mobile phones truly became popularised commercially. Due to their technological and feature limitations during the early stage, mobile phones were primarily used for point-to-point voice and text communication, and were thus principally defined as a communication tool instead of a mass-communication medium. However, as technology advanced, the features of mobile phones also became more diverse. In addition to the basic calling and texting features, mobile phones began integrating features such as dictionary, radio, music and video players, e-reader and 2G network. They were steadily becoming “smarter”, and by then most were equipped with the features of a converged media terminal. As their features become more diverse with each passing day, their prices are also dropping, leading to a dramatic rise in their user number. By the end of 2005, the number of mobile-phone users exceeded 2 billion around the globe. The convergence of medial-terminal technology happened in its true sense when smartphones emerged. The initial definition of smartphones refers to mobile phones with software and hardware such as an operating system and a central processing unit. In 2007, Apple introduced the first-generation iPhone, whose simple and beautiful look, fluid operating system, multitouch interaction and full-screen webpage display overturned the public perception of mobile phones and ushered in a new era for smartphones. Apple introduced the second-generation iPhone product, the iPhone 3G, the following year, which supported the high-speed 3G network. The 3G network provided mobile phones with sufficient network bandwidth, allowing the speed of wireless surfing to reach or almost reach that of non-wireless connection, while playing music- and video-streaming media online also became a reality. Meanwhile, Apple launched an official application store, the App Store, which is a platform that allows third-party app developers to sell their apps. Two months after its launch, the App Store saw the number of app download exceeded 100 million globally. At the

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Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2015, Apple announced that its App Store had reached another monumental milestone, as the total number of apps reached 1.5 million. Apart from Apple’s iPhones and App Store, most global mobile-phone brands now also have their own smartphone products and app stores, including Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo and Microsoft. In terms of hardware, in addition to having a high-speed 4G mobile network and WiFi access, smartphones currently are fitted with a highresolution multitouch screen, high-definition camera as well as high-performance processor and high-capacity internal storage that are comparable to those found in desk-top computers. Moreover, they even have different sensors such as GPS, electronic compass and electronic gyroscope. In terms of software, smartphone users may easily find a huge number of apps that satisfy their different needs in the app stores, which allow them to download, install and use the apps. Supported by software and hardware development, smartphones are no longer just a basic communication tool, but rather a most representative converged terminal. Today, they are the equipment for accessing media such as digitised radio, television, newspapers and books, as well as the equipment for communication, working and entertainment. They are able to display and support the input of most of the sensory information such as text, pictures, music and videos. In addition, they are able to store and process as well as share and communicate diverse information. These features make smartphones the true terminal equipment of media convergence. The rapid popularisation of smartphones shows the huge market potential of converged terminals and the infinite possibilities of feature breakthroughs. In addition to smartphones, new products are emerging, including smart household products, smart vehicles, smart wearables, augmented-reality (AR) products and virtual-reality (VR) products. These products are also undergoing changes similar to the transformation of functional mobile phones to smartphones, as non-medial terminals gradually turn into converged media terminal, considerably extending the concept of media terminals. In the future, converged-terminal technology will certainly become more diverse in forms and richer in features, with application scenes that are beyond our imagination. Converged terminals will become media that are everywhere and readily accessible.

1.3.2 Mesoscopic Level: The Convergence of Organisational Structures, Production Processes and Product Forms During the process of the continuous development of media, conventional media such as radio, television and newspapers already owned a significant proportion of resources, including brands and channels. Emerging media has also enjoyed a large audience and market in recent years thanks to its technological advantages. New and old media attract each other with their respective advantages. While new media continues to strengthen its media attributes, conventional media also attempts to


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adopt the production means of new media to develop new media products, so as to maintain their strong media positions. The media convergence at a mesoscopic level is thus born. Media convergence at the mesoscopic level involves the convergence of the organisational structures and the actual business operations of media, which primarily include the convergence of organisational structures, production processes and media-product forms. I. The convergence of organisational structures The convergence of the organisational structures of media refers to the convergence of department setup and staff work division of media enterprises. During the process of media convergence, enterprises need to offer diverse media products for different media terminals. To ensure smooth communication and a tight connection, enterprises inevitably need to continuously strengthen the horizontal relationships among departments and organisations, such as the administrative department and business departments for conventional and new media. Converged media-production departments are thus born to coordinate the communication and connection of different departments as well as mobilise internal resources for media production more efficiently. Following the convergence, the media content-production department may allocate in a unified and integrated manner resources such as staff, finance, materials and information; simplify the process for content production from application to launch, thus reducing the production cycle; reduce the cost of centrally purchased production materials, including paper for newspapers, camera equipment and typesetting equipment; and reduce waste and repeated construction through centrally dispatched staff, studios and logistics during the production process, so as to reduce the production costs. Influenced by the attempts of media convergence of foreign media, media in China is also attempting to adjust its business organisational structure. It has set up editing departments based on a “central-kitchen” format and broken down barriers among existing departments. Furthermore, the integration of internal resources allows content to be “collected once, produced differently and communicated diversely”, so as to facilitate the transformation of the entire media group into a platform for resource communication and sharing. Representative models of organisationalstructure convergence include the “central kitchen”, an omnimedia production platform, of People’s Daily; the multi-channel digital-publishing system of Jiefang Daily; and the central editing department of Guangzhou Daily Newspaper Group. II. The convergence of production processes Previously, media production only needed to edit the products of a single medium. However, in the age of media convergence, editors of converged media must perform extensive processing, whereby materials need to be processed in a differentiated manner for the different forms and different target recipients of different media. The rise of these new requirements has led to corresponding convergence changes in the information-production process of conventional media. Firstly during the planning stage, media enterprises need to devise all-round plans for converged media. During the planning of a single medium, editors have only a

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single work objective. For example, book editors will focus on the planning of a new book, newspaper editors mostly on stage-based plans or plans for special topics, while radio and television editors primarily on devising the best presentation plans for content production. After media convergence, the planning of editors of converged media has become more complicated. They must consider if the specific media resources are capable of developing multimedia communication, and if the adoption of different forms of presentation such as text, image and music and video is suitable. Moreover, they must consider how to fully exploit materials and resources to produce converged products of different modalities, so as to maximise the benefits. Regarding the production stage, the Tampa model of news production was once the example of media convergence. With the production means of process recreation and gathering and editing integration of conventional and new media, the influence of the model extended to the global media industry before becoming the norm of converged production of major media. In terms of organisation, following the setting up of converged news-editing departments, independent editing departments of media such as networks, newspapers and radio and television no longer branch out. The new organisational structure further emphasises timeliness in media production, which in turn requires media to change its content-gathering and -editing means and gradually leads to integrated gathering and editing. Media in China has also attempted to set up “central kitchen-style” editing departments to restructure the work process of news gathering and editing. During the newsgathering process, the entire “central kitchen” allows coordinated operations and resource sharing among members of different teams, thus simplifying the process of newsgathering and improving newsgathering efficiency. All the content, including text, images, music and videos, gathered are screened, indexed and stored in a storage space for resources awaiting editing. During the editing stage, the “kitchen” retrieves the needed materials from the storage space and maximally excavates their value. Semi-finished news products of different types are created based on the needs and features of different media platforms of the enterprises. Editing departments of physical newspapers, websites, new media and mobile phone-based newspapers may then perform deep processing of the semi-finished products based on their needs, and content products that are relatively personalised are released on suitable individual terminals. On the other hand, media-content production in the context of media convergence is no longer the privilege of reporters and editors, as the status of passive recipients under the model of conventional information communication is altered. Supported by new communication technologies, it has become possible for normal users to take part in information production, who are no longer just consumers of media content. The diverse means of interaction brought about by new media technologies allow users to upload user-generated content such as text, images, music and videos onto media-production platforms based on their personal preference and take part in media production. The homepage of CNN has an iReport column for user participation. By clicking on the column, the page will show an invitation from CNN inviting users to share their stories with CNN and even the world. Users may also upload information such as pictures by logging in. Meanwhile, CNN also pre-sets themes to gather user


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content. For example, a total lunar eclipse occurred across the world on 8 October 2014. The topic of CNN’s iReport on 9 October was “blood moon”, calling for user photos of the total lunar eclipse. By letting go the privilege of media-content production, editing departments open up the content-collection system, allowing normal users to take part in the media-production process and become content producers or grassroots reporters. III. The convergence of product forms The convergence of product forms refers to the emergence of new, converged multimedia product forms during the process of media convergence. It is the final result of organisational-structure and production-process convergence in media production. It is also a result of the creative use of media-convergence means and multimedia information resources during content production, as well as a critical breach as media convergence joins the market competition. Currently, press at home and broad are continuously trying out different forms of media-converged products. For example, the New York Times’s website featured an article “Climbing Kilimanjaro” in 2007, which used a 3-dimensional model to show information such as the perspective of the climber, the climbing route, the change in the heart rate and the oxygen absorption rate of the climber’s lungs during the climb, as well as the self-narrated videos and photographs of the climber. Readers were taken along the climb to experience first-hand the hardships encountered. In 2012, the New York Times took advantage of the advanced new-media technology for the story “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek”. How 16 skiing enthusiasts encountered the avalanche was elaborately described via different reporting means and approaches, including text, audio and video files and digital models, making the readers felt as if they were also there. The report eventually won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize and was a successful attempt at using media-converged technology to innovate converged product forms. A classic example of China’s attempt at media-converged products was the introduction of QR codes for newspapers. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, newspapers such as Beijing Evening News, The Beijing News, Shanghai Morning Post and Chutian Metropolis Daily had QR codes inside. While reading the newspapers, the readers may scan the codes with their phones and watch the World Cup highlights, which was a novel newspaper-reading experience. The adoption of QR codes effectively made up for the inadequacies of newspapers in terms of information presentation and coverage timeliness. With respect to information presentation, conventional newspapers are static and one-dimensional. Their content is primarily presented through text that may be complemented by news pictures. With the adoption of QR codes, information-presentation forms such as videos and music files on the Internet are linked to newspapers, thus allowing readers to receive more diverse forms of information. Readers are able to hear and watch the news and enjoy the more realistic rendition of the event. In terms of coverage timeliness, compared to the real-time communication of information on the Internet, conventional newspapers lag behind due to their physical printing means. By creating a feature page on the website before an event takes place and by printing the QR code for the feature

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page on the paper, newspapers allow readers to visit the page and obtain information on the feature by scanning the QR code when an event happens. Such a connection between the Internet and newspapers also allows the latter to provide around-theclock news coverage. It also removes the time limitations of newspapers in terms of deadlines and physical publication, which helps prolonging the sense of freshness of newspaper news. Like conventional newspapers, television media is also attempting to converge media-product forms. For the traditional Chinese, watching CCTV New Year’s Gala during the family reunion on Chinese New Year’s Eve has already become a custom. For the New Year’s Gala in 2015, CCTV attempted to integrate extensively with WeChat, a Chinese instant-messaging app. During the live broadcast of programmes such as the New Year’s Gala and Year after Year, viewers could obtain real-time content related to the live broadcast through WeChat’s Shake feature, including the New Year greetings from attending guests and stars and e-programme of the live show. Viewers could also create New Year’s Gala-themed greeting cards and share pictures of family reunion to take part in the “showing off family photographs” event. Moreover, viewers could follow the instructions of live-show compères and take part in interactive activities, including using WeChat’s Shake feature to win a New Year red envelope. According to data released by WeChat, its Shake feature was used 11 billion times during the New Year’s Gala. Information communication of conventional television media is unilateral, linear and limited, and viewers could only receive the information communicated in a limited manner. However, the introduction of multiscreen-interactive technology such as Shake has removed the boundary between television networks and the mobile Internet, and has truly become the point connecting the screens of television and mobile phones. Television viewers may identify the channel and programme currently being shown on the converged terminal that is the mobile phone, while interacting with information and television programmes related to the live broadcast as shown on the “second screen”. The new interaction means to a certain extent makes up for the innate deficiencies of the unilateral communication model of conventional television in the age of content diversification and interaction. It also provides greater possibilities for the expansion of television content, viewer participation, social interaction, real-time consumption and high-precision audience measurement. When developing media products with converged forms, the inadequate understanding the media has of the idea of media convergence also begins to emerge. Peng remarked that: “While developing converged media products, a lot of media simply apply the thinking that it is the addition of information means. They also only look at the issue from a perspective of media forms and overlook other changes in the age of media convergence.” She continued: “The development of products in the age of media convergence should not only include news and other information products, but also products such as community, gaming, search, entertainment, communication and business.” It is therefore evident that the convergence of media-product forms is not merely limited to the connected reaction between existing conventional media and the Internet media; the possibilities are endless and await further exploration by the industry.


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1.3.3 Macroscopic Level: The Convergence of the Media Industry, Media Regulation as Well as Media and Society From a macroscopic level, the forms of media convergence are not simply limited to the convergence of technological foundations and that of production stages; they have also brought converged changes to the entire media industrial. Furthermore, the converged forms at microscopic and mesoscopic levels are affecting the macroscopic structures, leading to the convergence of media regulation and that of media and society. I. The convergence of the media industries Under the conventional organisation model of the radio and television media, from the content production in the upstream to the content channels in the downstream as well as the basis of the industry that are the information-transmission networks, everything is controlled by the radio and television organisations. As the ecological environment of media changes along with the progress of technological development and triple play, the monopoly of conventional radio and television media has also been broken, giving rise to the latitudinal and longitudinal integration of the media industries. A broad overview of the development trend of Western media in recent years reveals that during the convergence process of the media “moguls”, in addition to the convergence of the media industry in its original sense, industries that were previously not included in the original sense but centred on the industry were involved, such as the telecommunications and IT industries. Focusing on the convergence, these industries joined the media industry to form a general “major media industry”, which is also the overall trend of the global media industry. As the market of China’s media industry is still expanding and developing, its degree of concentration will continue to increase. Against such background, the scale of the media industry has become more important in competition. Scale will also become a critical threshold in media competition as well as the core competitive edge of major media groups. Media groups that do not reach a certain significant scale will have their core competitive edge weakened, and may even lose the ability to compete with other media groups due to their small scale and insufficient strength. The result would often be that the few large-scale general media groups dominate the market and control the sub-fields. As a result, to stand out in the rapidly developing media industry in China, media groups must achieve three points: fast, big and strong. “Fast” refers to the maintenance of high growth speed; “big” means the continuous expansion of scale; and “strong” refers to improving the corporate competitiveness in addition to achieving the above two points. The industrial convergence of media is a pivotal means to achieve the above three points. From the perspective of the media industry, latitudinal and longitudinal convergences are the two major manifestations of media convergence. The latitudinal

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convergence refers to the convergence of the same industry along a certain link of the media industry chain. It also refers to the business expansion of media groups in the same communication medium or at different media levels. The same communication medium means the integration of the same industry. For instance, a newspaper group has a number of papers that are subordinate to the main paper, while a radio and television group comprises a series of channels and frequencies with clear work division. Business expansion at different media levels is manifested in media groups with different media forms, including radio, television, newspapers, magazines and networks. The latitudinal convergence may reduce the number of competitors in the same industry, so a media group may acquire greater market share, raise the competition threshold and boost its competitive edge in the industry. The greatest advantage of the model is the creation of the economy of scope, that is, the reduction of the production costs of media products will generate more profit and give the media group the competitive edge. The Western media has no shortage of success cases, such as Disney, which is a representative case of same-industry convergence. The company started off with the production of animations and eliminated Pixar, a major competitor that is identical in scale and popularity, with a buyout to augment its competitive edge in the field. In addition, Disney’s buyout of Marvel Comics is another manifestation of the latitudinal convergence of strategies. In terms of business expansion at different media levels, the omnimedia convergence of Britain’s BBC is a most fitting rendition. The BBC is a classic example of conventional radio and television media transformed into converged omnimedia. Converged media fundamentally overhauled the layout of conventional radio and television media, which was changed from a single media entity into a combination of different media, leading to the restructuring of the entire information-production process, such as content production. To develop further in the current context of media convergence, the BBC was committed to allowing the public access to the media content they enjoy anywhere, anytime. To this end, Mark Thompson, the director-general of the BBC at the time, required all the staff to change their thinking and develop an awareness of media convergence. They were to provide the BBC with materials for programme production, so the media resources of the BBC could be recycled. Guided by this strategy, the BBC converged platforms such as independent radio, television and networks to build a cross-platform, multimedia news centre of remarkable scale. When news events take place, frontline reporters would promptly release the information on the BBC’s information-collection platform. Television, radio and network editors of the news centre may then retrieve what they need from the platform, before editing it based on the requirements of their media content and broadcasting it on their respective channels. The reform strategy effectively enhanced the BBC’s media-content use rate. The longitudinal convergence of the media industry refers to a media group expanding backward to the raw-material suppliers or forward to the end-product users based on the industry value chain, which covers different stages of media products of the same category, including the production, publication, broadcasting and sales stages [59]. Media groups may replace market transactions with transactions among different parts within the groups, so as to reduce the transaction costs. Meanwhile,


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transactions within the groups may keep business activities free from the influence of uncertain factors of the external market, thus guaranteeing a stable demand-supply relationship. Currently the longitudinal convergence comprises forward convergence and backward convergence. The former refers to the infiltration into the downstream of the industry value chain from the upstream. Take a self-published newspaper for example, it may enter the wholesale or retail stage from the production stage of media products through forward convergence, so it may obtain the channels to manage its product and leave out other complicated middle stages involving other company departments. The simplified process will help the group significantly reduce its costs and gain competition edge. Backward convergence, in comparison, is the infiltration into the upstream of the value chain with the key objective of ensuring a steady supply of raw materials. The longitudinal convergence is also a kind of convergence of content resources, whose objective is to build a sharing platform for content resources to reduce the cost of information collection and distribution and increase profit, such as the convergence of film resources. If a general media group with different departments, such as a filmproduction company, distribution company, television stations and networks, wants to produce a film, then its film-production company will produce the film and the distribution company distribute the finished film. When the film goes off the big screen, the cable-television network subordinate to the group will show it. Later the non-cable television networks and video websites of the group will also show it, and the film merchandise will be on sale. As a result, the income of a film does not simply come from the box office, but also other sources, which often excess the income from the one-off box office. Also look at the convergence of news resources. The Tampa News Center in Florida of the U.S. is regarded as the pioneer in media convergence in the country. The centre comprises three media, namely Channel 8, Tampa Tribune and the news website, which all belong to Media General. The three media have established a content-sharing mechanism and reflected the advantage of media convergence. As for news-information gathering, the centre has a breaking-news command centre with dedicated staff commanding and coordinating news coverage. In the event of breaking news, the command centre can promptly relay the command to the three media. In terms of news-resource use, all three media have their own staff, office areas and operating and decision-making mechanisms, which allow them to independently select the news materials collected and produce their own news products. To further facilitate the collaboration among the three media, the news centre appointed a “news-content coordinator”, who is responsible for liaising among the three media and directing news coverage. The coordinator must take charge of the use of news resources of the day as a whole and give specific “convergence” suggestions for news articles. S/he will also need to coordinate the reasonable use of news resources of all three media to avoid conflict in the publication of the “converged articles”. Meanwhile, the coordinator must remain in close contact with frontline reporters to gain a full understanding of the news site. S/he may send in more or pull out reporters at any time according to the progress of the news event, so as to reasonably allocate the reporters.

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Regarding the use of news resources, the news centre requires the three media to hold a pre-editing meeting before confirming the page content. They would discuss one another’s chosen topics, confirm the news that may be converged and the specific convergence strategies at the meeting. The centre has many forms of media convergence: first is the sharing of news information, whereby the media with the exclusive news would share it with the other two; second is the mutual promotion among media, whereby one media would promote and popularise the news coverage of the other two on its communication platform; and third is the joint coverage of the three media, whereby they take advantage of their own strengths and collaborate to report the news. For breaking news, television usually needs to report it immediately to emphasise the strong sense of presence, whereas newspapers would focus on the stories behind it and provide analysis, while networks stress the diversity and different perspectives of the news information [60]. Current longitudinal convergence of the media industry also includes another broader convergence strategy, which is mostly manifested in buyouts and mergers. Specifically, it refers to the convergence of the industrial layouts of a media group that goes beyond the media industry. The strategic restructuring of assets and the convergence of resources such as personnel, finance and property allow the group to enter other industries with higher return on investment. Meanwhile, the production of two or more products and services with different economic purposes will reduce business risks and maintain the competitive edge. The convergence strategy is favoured by many major media groups and has its own advantages. Firstly, the model allows access to other industries to avoid risks, so the group may develop steadily. Secondly, it allows the group to swiftly seize market opportunities and access them through different industries to discover new economic growth points. The strategic transformation of the group may thus be achieved to provide multipoint support for the group’s development. Lastly, it allows the group to exploit its strength, so different resources may be gathered and used. By going through the development history of major media groups in the U.S., it may be discovered that mergers and acquisitions are a key means to expand a group. General media groups such as News Corp, Warner Media, Viacom and Disney often are involved in many sub-fields, including film-production companies, television-production companies, television networks, cable television, satellite television, radio, newspapers, magazines, publishing, theme parks and e-commerce, in each of which they own many subsidiaries. What must not be overlooked is that although the model may bring media groups tremendous strategic profit, it is also a double-edged sword. The convergence of conventional and non-conventional media means media groups may not be familiar with and may lack experience in the new business that is unrelated to the media industry. Furthermore, with the extra branches, the resources also spread out, which means media groups may not reach their best potential in each business field, thus leading to greater risks. However, the execution of a broader convergence strategy has its advantages: the brand image and public influence of the media industry allow media groups to access new industries. Meanwhile, as advertising media themselves,


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the media industry may also save on market-development expenses generated from advertising for other branches. Longitudinal convergence may strengthen the industrial operations of general media groups and allow a media company or group to simultaneously own media forms such as newspapers, television, radio and networks; its core is the convergence of all the media platforms under the same company or group. For the same objective, different media strive to extensively converge and use news resources through collaboration, so as to achieve the effect of one plus one is greater than two. The strategies of major American media groups for resource convergence based on the media industry make a great lesson. Information supplied by media convergence is not presented to the recipients in separated and unrelated forms, but rather a combined form as a whole. The convergence objective of general media groups is not to become an all-encompassing giant, but to strengthen the competitive edge of their main business, so they may outpower their peers. Following media convergence, media organisations will possess more resources and be able to produce more content, as production costs drop. Given these premises, it will be easier for media organisations to create media products of top quality. At the same time, the latitudinal convergence of the media industry has weakened competition among media of the same category. The longitudinal convergence of media organisations on the other hand allows organisations to play a role in the different parts of the industry chain of media-product production and sales. An all-inclusive effect is thus achieved and the economies of scale and scope are consequently formed. This not only reduces the production costs of media products, but also allows these products to generate greater profit. As the competition within the media industry becomes increasingly fierce, media organisations are able to gain distinct competitive edge through latitudinal and longitudinal convergences, which will allow them to develop more steadily in the industry. II. Convergence of media regulation The convergence of the media industry has removed the distinct boundary of the media market, leading to fierce and effective competition in the market. The process of media convergence also prompted regulatory convergence, which positively ensured media convergence. Furthermore, the earlier the reform of media regulation takes place, the sooner media convergence occurs. Regulation convergence promotes converged competition among different media industries through diverse regulatory means, so quality information services are provided to satisfy the diverse information needs of recipients [61]. As communication technology develops, the convergence of the radio and television, telecommunications and IT industries has already begun. In response, most Western countries have introduced regulatory reforms to reduce the barriers between different markets, enhance competition efficiency among media and safeguard public interests. Through asset restructuring and mergers and acquisitions, the three major industries have formed a new industrial system and market structure. Since the conventional media market forbids an overlapped access, regulatory convergence

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breaks the industry monopoly and promotes competition among unrelated information industries in markets such as content, channels and terminals. The new regulatory convergence attempts to encourage media competition and provide equal opportunities, which will in turn drive down the prices of media products and services and improve service quality. Meanwhile, the previous paragraph mentioned how the radio and television industry occupies the rare spectrum resources, which requires regulatory convergence to effectively allocate them, so as to encourage investment and innovation and increase the contribution of the information-communication industry to economic growth. The unique nature of the information industry means it must bear the corresponding social responsibility, and regulatory convergence must also ensure the pluralistic expression of the content and views of the industry, thereby protecting the rights of the public. The global regulators of triple play may fundamentally be divided into two types: first is the model of industry-based regulation under a universal regulator, as is seen in the U.S. and Japan. It sets up different regulatory departments for the radio and television and telecommunications industries under a universal legal framework and regulator. For instance, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 of the U.S. removed the boundaries among industries such as telecommunications and media and relaxed the restrictions on the scale of the market and the telecommunications enterprises. In addition, it relaxed the restrictions on the ownership of the radio and television industry and allowed mutual infiltration among markets. It also encouraged crossindustry amalgamation and joint collaboration to assume the duty of public trustees. However, the act did not relax the control of ownership among conventional media. In July 2003, the Federal Communications Commission proposed the continued relaxation of control. Second is a fully converged regulator as is seen in the U.K., where public and commercial media are distinctly delineated. Commercial media groups, such as News Corp, support legislative proposals that favour more liberal convergence and a more liberal market. Meanwhile, public media such as the BBC entirely opposes the legislative proposal for convergence. As a result, the requirements of regulation convergence for media regulation differ between public and commercial media. The control of public broadcasters focuses on service quality, reasonable use of capital, openness and transparency of management and whether the recipients are respected. The control of commercial broadcasters on the other hand focuses on prompting them to fulfil their public-service responsibility. Following the introduction of the Communications Act 2003 in the U.K., the Office of Communications (Ofcom), a converged regulator, was established. It is the only independent communications regulator in the U.K. founded by converging five regulators, and the responsibilities of its subordinating departments removed the separate management of the telecommunications and radio and television industries. In terms of the restrictions on cross-media ownership, the act has relaxed them to some extent, particularly for commercial media. Despite the extensively relaxed media market thanks to the converged regulation, the relaxed policies only target the national market while control of local markets remains tight, such as the control of cross-media ownership including local newspapers, television stations and Channel 3 (the largest commercial channel of the U.K.).


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Other countries also have their own models and bodies for regulation convergence. For example, Germany and France have industry-based regulation, whereby different regulators are in charge of different regulatory content and networks, and the relationships between different departments are legally prescribed. For example, Germany’s Media Authorities (Die Medienanstalten), France’s Superior Council of the Audiovisual (Le Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel) and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission centrally regulate the telecommunications and radio and television industries. Regulatory means may generally be divided into active and passive regulation. In terms of the active regulation of content, European countries and the U.S. widely expand and extend the services of and the subsidies for public-broadcasting services. Currently, most European countries not only support the model of imposing a publicbroadcasting fee, but also permit and encourage public broadcasters to develop content and services for new media such as the Internet. In terms of passive regulation, European countries and the U.S. focus on punishing inappropriate content such as obscenity and indecency and limiting the advertising duration during children’s programmes [29]. Driven by media convergence, regulatory convergence will bring together departments previously in charge of different types of media, allowing them to manage more efficiently the relationships among different media against the background of media convergence. Moreover, “relaxed control” will allow major media to buy smaller local media, while small media groups attempt to converge their media. This way, media resources from local markets are converged, while the news-communication ability of media groups improves. Tightened or relaxed regulation has its pros and cons. On the one hand, regulation may easily lead to increased bureaucracy and breed rent-seeking behaviour. It may also result in reduced efficiency and increased costs in the regulated enterprises. Moreover, regulation may stifle innovation, which is why regulatory convergence is advocated, as Western countries are willing to allow media convergence to a certain extent. On the other hand, major media groups may monopolise the media market and impact media impartiality. That is why countries will introduce rigid regulation through legislation or the judiciary to prevent excessive convergence of media ownership, so as to maintain competition among different media, services, channels and markets. The commonest approach is to relax the regulation of the structure of media groups on the one hand, while gradually tightening the regulation of the activities of media groups on the other hand. Governments have to adopt a certain measure to regulate the media industry because of the uniqueness of their products, such as the scarcity of radio frequencies used by radio and television and the extensiveness of their communication range, and the ideological attributes of media products. Meanwhile, media products use scarce social resources and possess a certain features of public utilities, which is why they must bear the corresponding social responsibility and social-service duty. As a result, it is highly necessary and reasonable for governments to regulate media groups through legal means. For example, having dedicated regulators to ensure that radio and television allow the public to acquire true information and freely express their

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opinions. Governments shall also strictly control the purchase of shares, the amalgamation and the control of domestic media enterprises by foreign businesses. Meanwhile, strict control shall be imposed on foreign businesses entering the domestic market and the ratio of the airing time of foreign programmes. Legislative and judicial regulation of the radio and television media means the adoption of laws and regulations to regulate the industrial behaviour and market structure of such media. Firstly, make dedicated laws for radio and television based on the constitution, and limit the setting up, existence and communication activities of radio and television media. Secondly, limit the establishment, jurisdiction and functions of governmental or independent regulators of radio and television, so as to achieve the objective of media regulation and form a comprehensive legal regulatory system comprising the constitution, law, rules and policies. Meanwhile, judicial bodies may eventually create a legal environment, in which industries are governed by the law, through means such as lawsuits and trials to regulate radio and television, thereby leading to better media convergence. The introduction of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 in the U.S. imposes monetary penalties as high as USD320,000 on negative-externality broadcast content that is obscene, indecent or profane. Section Two: Harm and Offence of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code of the U.K. moderates and limits content of broadcast programmes involving violence, dangerous behaviour, suicide, exorcism, the occult and the paranormal. In China, both conventional and emerging media are socially regulated. For instance, the “cutback on television entertainment” mandatorily regulates the quota to guarantee the number of positive-externality programmes such as information, education, culture and service. Meanwhile, the introduction of the “television commercials ban” compulsorily demands broadcast products to control the number and length of advertising breaks, in addition to regulating the airing time and the minimum length of public-service advertisement. To date, China still practices the model of “one newspaper group and one radio and television group per province”, so local markets are basically monopolised by local media groups. The industrial monopoly in turn exacerbates the seclusion of the capital market, leading to the waste and loss of media resources. For instance, media resources are rarely shared in the same area or even among the departments of the same group. Capital circulation needs to be supported by a relaxed policy environment, and judging from the status quo of media convergence in different countries, regulatory convergence is necessary before media convergence. At the moment, some media groups in China are realising how media convergence may improve communication efficiency, but are unable to introduce drastic reforms due to policy limitations. The gratifying news is that following the megatrend of media convergence China is revising its regulation accordingly. In 2013 the General Administration of Press and Publication and the National Radio and Television Administration merged to become the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. The merge of the two media regulators provided favourable conditions for the overlap and convergence of two major industries, and even the amalgamation and restructuring of property rights. The reshuffling of administrative bodies will trigger changes


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in media bodies and business operations under their jurisdiction, and will benefit the building of omnimedia groups that cover newspapers and magazines, publication and radio and television. The merge of different administrative bodies is a result of digital information-technology renovation. From the managerial-structure and industrialsystem perspectives, the merge paves the way for the convergence of different media in terms of content, networks, terminals, assets, operations and management. At the 4th Meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms on 18 August 2014, the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Convergence of Conventional and Emerging Media (the Opinions) were carried, in which the following were stated: emerging media shall be elevated, so instead of depending on conventional media it shall develop alongside conventional media and enjoy an equal status. The distinct development of emerging and conventional media shall transform into the coordination and convergence of both. In terms of how to prompt media convergence, the Opinions also proposed some key ideas and measures in four areas: first is the expanded application of new technology; second is the innovation of content production and information services; third is the improvement of systems and mechanisms; and fourth is the strengthening of the media-management system. As the top-level planning of the state for the converged development of conventional and emerging media, the Opinions not only provided clear directions to promote media convergence, but also stressed the regulatory management of both media by related departments, so the convergence may progress along the correct direction. Media convergence began in China later than in the West, therefore the country must learn from Western media during the convergence process. The convergence must be well combined with the survival environment of domestic media, so as to achieve the efficient and extensive convergence of content, industries and regulation. In the current context of information globalisation, if Chinese media wants to become strong and powerful, so it may turn the tables on foreign media groups in competition, then media convergence is imperative. III. The convergence of media and society From a macroscopic perspective, the manifestations of media convergence are not simply the convergence of media industries or media regulation. Media convergence also affects the entire society, as is seen in the convergence of media and society as they interact, which leads to converged changes in social forms and the relationships among men and between man and media. The development of printing technology popularised mass media and brought about tremendous changes to society. As the newly emerged mass media, newspapers, books and magazines not only removed the barriers among people and affected how communities functioned, but also led to dramatic changes to social structures and functions. Following the birth of electronic media, mass communication profoundly transformed people’s life and caused qualitative changes in how information is communicated across society. A society built upon media gradually breaks the temporal and spatial limitations on the human senses of sight and hearing, so people may “see and hear all”.

1.3 Manifestations of Media Convergence


The invention of computer, particularly the Internet, has created another wholenew digital era, one that Nicholas Negroponte called a post-information era. In his book Being Digital, Negroponte referred to the industrial age as the “atomic age” and the computer age as the “information age”. The industrial age introduced the concept of mass mechanical production and the economic form of repetitive production based on universal standards anytime, anywhere. The information age shows a similar scale, but the correlation between space and time and economy has weakened, as everyone may create bits regardless of time and space. In the post-information era, the digital tribe is slowly creating a real way of life that is not simply the intellectuals putting on airs. The Internet experts met in the online space and call themselves the bit tribe or the computer tribe, whose social circle is the entire earth [62]. With the advent of media convergence, media of different forms are able to converge. The technological development of media convergence broke down the barriers that previously existed among media and expanded the platforms for information production and communication, so media influence could reach further and extensively all corners of the society to create a virtual media world that could expand infinitely. The virtual world will converge seamlessly with the real world. As Professor Tong Bing described that in a social scene of information in which the new online media and conventional media merged in the same social space, information globalisation had led the world into a new phase of digitised communication. The overwhelming number of newspapers and magazines, the omnipresent radio and television programmes, the eye-catching book markets, the spectacular silver screen, the fascinating Internet and the quick and easy mobile texts, the countless media constitute the modern society in which people live. Media and the news communication that depends upon it have become a medium that people cannot part with, which is the basic form of modern human interaction and overall social expression. Being digital and a media-based society are the most crucial features of an information society [63]. This totally confirms Walter Lippmann’s prediction of a “real environment” and a “virtual environment”. In a society in which the virtual media environment converges with the objective, real environment, people are used to shaping their perception of the world through media, and even lead their life based on information obtained from media. Media convergence in the virtual world not only gives rise to the convergence of media and society and a converged social form, but also turns everyone into a “mediator” in such social form. For those living in such a media-based society, individual perception and imagination of society are primarily built upon media, while individual ways of thinking and personal consciousness are profoundly branded by media. Marshall McLuhan had a famous point of view, that is, media is the extension of man. As a key driving force, technology supports the future forms of communication and is an all-round extension of the human sensory system. In the context of converged media, future media technology will combine the external work with virtuality and objectivity with human subjectivity through the full extension of human senses. In that case, that the pseudo-environment as created by future media will become infinitely close to human consciousness may become a reality as predicted by McLuhan.


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In the age of media convergence, not only media forms underwent tremendous changes, the communication system also transformed as never before seen. In the future, media will create an enormous communication community in society, where each entity possesses the media attributes of personalised features. These entities are both the producers of media content and the participants of the communication processes. Moreover, they are the owners of communication rights. Human beings’ tireless exploration of information is constantly driving the transformation and development of media and the in-depth convergence of media and society. As media convergence further develops, individuals may use all kinds of smart terminals of media convergence in real life, and come across converged media products in the virtual environment. Media convergence benefits individuals in society, allowing them to improve their capabilities in both reality and virtuality. However, it also makes people become reliant on electronic equipment and virtual content on different occasions. Whether it is on the road or at school, office or home, people surround themselves with all sorts of equipment in every possible way. They connect the objects on hand with the Internet to obtain media information from the virtual world using smartphones, smart household products, smart vehicles, smart wearables, AR equipment and VR equipment. Recipients with human agency rely on information provided by different forms of media to satisfy their personal needs and achieve their goals, but similarly they are unable to avoid the influence of media. Apparently, under the same circumstances, recipients with greater reliance on media are more likely to be influenced by it. During the convergence of media and society, mass media intruded into, changed and even replaced man-to-man and man-and-society communication with virtual information, which rendered the communication impersonal. This may lead to the inclination for psychological isolation in individuals and the gradual separation from other people and society, which will in turn exacerbate personal dependence on media and cause the virtual world created by media to re-impact the form of the actual society. As a result, for recipients of the mediaconvergence age, technological empowerment further drives the transition in their identity. The “immersive” communication environment that is embedded in daily life has turned them from being passive to active and from recipients to participants. This means that while embracing emerging smart technology and promoting its lifebased and personalised communication, recipients must improve the quality of smart and logical media, as they exercise with caution their own communication rights to manage the relationship between technology and life.

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Chapter 2

The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence

2.1 The Challenges and Predicaments Facing Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence In recent years, against the background of media convergence, the advent of digitalisation has impacted the ecology of conventional media. The arrival of the new media that is the Internet challenged conventional radio and television media in every aspect in an unprecedented manner. For instance, the continuously falling profit, the compressed recipient market and advertising space, the dramatic talent loss and a reduced ability to sway public opinion all placed conventional media under tremendous pressure, which means conventional media must become fully aware of the urgency of the situation. In addition, the accelerated media convergence, alteration and renewal have ushered in the smart convergence of emerging technologies based on 5G and artificial intelligence (AI), which is overturning the models of information production and communication. It is precisely what President Xi has stated: “The continuous development of omnimedia has given rise to a media that encompasses the full process, diverse information formats, every social body and blanket effects. Information is everywhere, all-pervasive and used by all, which leads to profound changes in the ecology of public opinion, media patterns and the means of communication, as work related to news and public opinion faces new challenges.” Meanwhile, media convergence has been extensively and intensely launched in China, and considerable experience has been accumulated consequently, but issues still abound and require theoretical exploration. For radio and television media, from the perspective of a macro-media market, new commercial audiovisual media has achieved a strong communication ability through the combination of technological and market skills and new consumption scenarios, which allows it to dominate the audience market of conventional media [1]. Meanwhile, multiple factors have caused partial changes in the institutional environment, which became key factors that influenced the development of conventional © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd 2020 P. Duan, Media Convergence and the Development Strategies of Radio and Television in China,



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radio and television media, including variables in business management, the loss of advertising and talents and challenges involving different stages of communication, such as channels, platforms and content.

2.1.1 The Predicament of Talent Loss: The Separation of “Top Resources” President Xi has repeatedly stressed: “Development is the top priority, talent is the top resource and innovation is the top driver”, and “hard power and soft power all come down to the strength of the talent.” As media convergence evolves, demand of the conventional-media market for general and all-round media talent also continues to increase, and innovation is imminent. On the one hand, due to the strong emphasis placed on media convergence and the creation of new mainstream media groups by the government, a large number of new media projects sprang up like mushrooms, driving up the demand for new-media talent. On the other hand, as the business platforms of conventional media continue to expand and the structure of newsgathering and editing is broken, some new posts with new-media attributes begin to emerge, making the demand of the media industry for omnimedia talent ever more urgent [2]. In recent years, following the rise of new media and the continuous intensification of media convergence, network and mobile media are showing a powerful life force and tremendous competitiveness that have never been seen before. Emerging media formats such as WeChat, Weibo and mobile terminals and the network culture they bring along have profoundly changed people’s way of life and produced significant impacts. Within such environment, a large number of excellent personnel left radio and television media to join the new media, leading to the increasingly grave phenomenon of talent loss among conventional media. An upsurge in resignation was also seen among many famous CCTV hosts, including Yang Lan and Cui Yongyuan. The loss of talent means that while transforming into new media, conventional media lacks reform and innovation talent to come up with fresh vibes and ideas. The serious loss of talent suffered by conventional media further highlights the lack of talent. With inadequate manpower for transformation and upgrade, the progress of convergence also lacks staying power. Some scholars discover during their research and survey that during the transformation of conventional media in recent years, its newsgathering and editing teams are plagued by a series of issues such as unreasonable organisational structures, serious loss of mid-level officers, lack of omnimedia talent and high turnover. Issues concerning talent have already become one of the key bottlenecks in the transformation and development of conventional media [3]. On 9 September 2015, Zhang Quanling, a famous CCTV host, announced on Weibo her departure from CCTV, while Lang Yongchun, the host of Xinwen Lianbo, a daily news programme of CCTV, also left CCTV around the same time. In November the same year, Zhao Pu, the host of Night News of CCTV, also announced his resignation. Such cases are too many to list, and the cause may primarily be that many

2.1 The Challenges and Predicaments …


outstanding media workers have acquired new thinking and ideas at work, which along with their favourable relationships with the business systems of conventional media and the resources and contacts they have accumulated over time provide propitious prospects for development in the new-media industry. Take Luogic Talkshow, an epistemic community created by the media veteran Luo Zhenyu, for example, it releases a 60-second voice message on WeChat daily and publishes a talk-show video on Youku, a Chinese video-hosting platform, weekly. The innovative move has promoted the development of different related industry chains and achieved tremendous business success. Media convergence, in the end, is the convergence of media channels and content by talent, who therefore plays a critical and fundamental role here. Based on his survey of and interview with those involved in conventional radio and television media, Zhou maintains that the obstruction of the development of radio and television media due to talent loss is chiefly reflected in the following specific areas: firstly, the unwillingness of talent to join from outside the institution. The relatively modest remuneration system of the current new radio and television media means competent talent involved in technology and content is unwilling to join; secondly, many capable and experienced workers in radio and television media are being lost to market institutions and commercial media platforms; and thirdly, the internal remuneration system provides little incentive for the new-media workers left in the system [1]. Furthermore, Zhou regards the following as the key factors that affect the turnover of news workers in conventional media: bottlenecks in development, the rise of new media, a large income gap between inside and outside the institution and the enormous work pressure [4]. It is therefore worth adopting a multi-pronged approach to tackle areas such as the institutional and remuneration systems and the incentive mechanisms of conventional radio and television media, while vigorously promoting the progress of media convergence of conventional radio and television.

2.1.2 The Predicament of Advertising Loss: The Transfer of Capital Support In recent years, under the powerful impact of the Internet media, the value of the portals of conventional media has dropped drastically, which is largely reflected in the rapid loss of users that in turn leads to the massive transfer of advertisers and the substantial drop in advertising revenue. The weakened core competitiveness of conventional media has resulted in the predicament of lost users and advertisers [5]. According to Blue Book of China’s Media: Report on Development of China’s Media Industry (2016), which was published on 6 May 2016, the television media showed a bleak trend in 2015, as spending on television advertising dropped for the first time. Blue Book of China’s Media: Report on Development of China’s Media Industry (2018), which was published on 1 May 2018, revealed that radio and television advertising revenue showed negative growth for the first time in 2017 and


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decreased by 1.84% compared to 2016. In contrast, the scale of network advertising in China exceeded 380 billion yuan in 2017, and network advertising, gaming and videos became the keys that propelled the development of the media industry. In addition, the market scale of conventional Internet was surpassed by mobile Internet, and the scale of mobile advertising even exceeded the sum of that of conventional media. Research statistics from CTR Market Research show a like-for-like increase of 9.3% in spending on advertising in omnimedia in the first half of 2018, whereas the figure was only 0.4% in the previous year. Meanwhile, weighed by the Internet, television media such as over the top (OTT) has risen from 13% in 2015 to 21% in 2017 according to research results of advertisers. It is thus evident that monumental changes are quietly taking place within conventional media after being empowered by the Internet. Impacted by the new media along with the increasingly white-hot industrial competition with each passing day, many television stations are seeing mediocre performance and the industry as a whole is also affected. In terms of audience rating, CCTV continues to dominate China’s television industry, particularly in areas such as news and live coverage of major events, and possesses unrivalled resource advantages. Meanwhile, the Matthew effect is becoming increasingly evident in recent years. The choice of television media of advertisers has grown polarised: either concentrated in CCTV and top satellite television or terrestrial television. Nonetheless, the revenue from naming rights to entertainment programmes with high audience ratings remains unaffected by the overall situation of the television industry and continues to maintain a high-speed growth. Against such background, many mainstream radio and television media had to receive government subsidies or expedite the exploration of the transformation towards new media with government support. For example, for three consecutive years following the foundation of Shanghai United Media Group, the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government has allocated 100 million yuan of dedicated funds each year to support its development related to new media. Meanwhile, noticing the enormous potential that new media has in advertising conversion, many advertisers left conventional media and began advertising on new-media platforms. Supported by the big-data technology of networks new media is able to collect and analyse big data, which allows demassified advertising based on audience groups, so better communication results may be achieved as the advertisements are directed at the target market. A classic example is the precision marketing of WeChat advertising. Given its natural social attributes, WeChat allows the establishment and development of strong relationships through interaction, and businesses and consumers may thus form friendly relationships. Meanwhile, building upon the colossal user base of Tencent, the developer of WeChat, and aided by advantages such as mobile terminals, open platforms and location positioning, WeChat helps businesses conduct precision marketing using big data and cloud-computing technology to segment audience.

2.1 The Challenges and Predicaments …


2.1.3 The Predicament of Interest Patterns: The Transformation of the Media Market The media market has undergone tremendous changes as media convergence progresses, which leads to the predicament of interest patterns of conventional radio and television media, as is reflected in two areas: one is the market impact of new media, while the other is the change in the structure of conventional communication power brought about by recipient role changes. On the one hand, conventional media no longer dominates the media market. It is well known that the production of media content comprises many stages, including interviews and writing up, post-editing, review at different levels and printing and production, which cost a tremendous amount of manpower and material resources. New media, in contrast, provides its recipients with a vast amount of free content that it has taken from conventional media with its expedient information-communication channels. As a result, conventional media suffers a dramatic drop in revenue and may even be unable to recover its costs; some could just survive on government subsidies. The positioning of conventional and new media is therefore unequal in the overall industrial structure; the resource advantages of the content of conventional media are not reflected or able to compensate for the limitations of its channels, not to mention the inability to provide itself with adequate financial security. It goes without question that the challenges from new media should not lead to content control and the suppression of its development, but should prompt fair competition and collaboration to balance the interest leverage during media convergence, so as to help conventional media face the challenges, get out of the predicament and recover what belongs to it. However, rapid changes in the media market drive up competition from new media, which sees conventional media losing its initial market and audience advantages. Furthermore, conventional media has always had inadequate control over the content due to the little emphasis placed on conventional concepts, the unsound legal system and the imperfect administrative management. As a result, it has been unable to safeguard its legal rights and interests, despite the constant infringement of its rights and interests as it competes with new media. On the other hand, the main communicating bodies of conventional mainstream media are the professional information producers, who monopolise information production and communication, control mainstream public opinion and communicate an advanced culture. The public, in contrast, remains the passive recipient of information. Mass media is powerful enough to determine the information to be communicated to the public and to influence how the public understand the acquired information. The information production of conventional media is based on the stance and value orientation of individual editing departments that screen the information. Reporters, who are at the forefront of news production and communication, manipulate the processes of information communication with a superior ideology and influence the acquisition, understanding and response of the people towards news information. Such communication model plays an active role in guiding the public opinion and consolidating social consensus. In the age of the Internet, the reticular


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form of power distribution is the most efficient decentralised organisational structure. The classic features of this period are decentralisation, openness and freedom. That is why against the background of media convergence, the bilateral interaction that characterises the communication of emerging network media has transformed the communication pattern of conventional media, and hugely impacted the mainstream status of conventional mainstream media and the central status of reporters. The influence of the agenda of media coverage on the public is slowly declining, and the audience are no longer passive information recipients who read, listen and watch whatever is presented. A new generation of audience who are also communicators has emerged, and they are able to promptly feed back information and communicate and interact with the communicators. As a certain scholar put it: “The audience plays the multiple role of viewer, listener, reader and user who forms high-frequency close contact with media, as they become mutually dependent and influence and strengthen each other” [6]. The notion of feedback was first put forward by Norbert Wiener in cybernetics. Undoubtedly, feedback also exists in conventional media, such as readers’ letters to newspapers and the audience ratings of radio and television programmes. However, during the production and communication of professional information, feedback on news from the public is feeble; the process requires a certain amount of time, as the information is generated and goes through a medium before reaching the audience, who then feed back to the medium and even the information source. Such a feedback model is random, delayed and confined. In the age of the Internet, the status of the audience has completely overturned, making feedback possible anytime, anywhere. In addition, the bilateral information communication and real-time interaction between communicators and communicatees brought about by digital technology allow multilateral interaction and communication among the audience, media and businesses. The audience may directly visit the interface of a shopping website through the hyperlink on a webpage, where they may purchase the same clothing and accessories worn by their favourite stars, as they watch any television drama and variety show. Some of the examples included the folding fan of Gao Xiaosong in Xiaosong Pedia or the “genius hat” of Chen He in Keep Running. Not only do such things increase the sense of audience participation and win further loyalty, but also effectively promote the development of derivative industry chains. This further illustrates that in an environment of converged media, the audience has the potential of directly influencing the market of conventional media. Moreover, the rise of network media has led to the role exchange between the audience and the communicators, whereby the former are deeply involved in the production of media content and are able to independently publish information. Bestowed with an unprecedented capacity to communicate information, some audience have replaced the communicators, making it a reality that all voices may be heard. Among the current news web portals and mobile news terminals, not only may the audience freely choose news topics that interest them, but also immediately comment on the news and share their personal opinions and views. Meanwhile, during the information production and communication of specific events, in addition to personal judgment, the audience

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may bring in their own emotions and understanding, which may be used to reprocess and re-communicate the information through the network platforms. When a large number of identical or similar opinions and voices gather they form an arena of public opinion, which may indirectly or directly sway the communication intention of communicators and influence the agenda setting of conventional mainstream media and the generation and development of public opinion, so much so they may even directly interfere with the progress of the events. For instance, the Murder of Zhang Miao in 2010 saw the tremendous pressure that one-sided online public opinion exerted on the trial. The public opinion may be unreasonable and subjective, but it did influence the court’s judgment, making the case a classic example of “trial by media”. “The Internet has made everyone a reporter, broadcaster, columnist, commentator and critic.” Today, producers of media information are no longer limited to professional news workers of conventional media, many ordinary individuals are also producing and communicating information on networks. Particularly following the continuous popularisation of smartphones and the drastic development of mobile media, mobile-phone snaps have given rise to the age of citizen journalism. Such proactivity elevates the status of the audience like never before seen, while dependence on the production of professional information by conventional media continues to diminish. OhmyNews, a South Korean online news website that stresses “Every Citizen is a Reporter”, foregrounds the subject agency of the audience to produce and communicate information. New West, a U.S. citizen-journalism website, describes public contributions as anything the public want to write that may be published via the website, and wants to hear the truest voice of the public [7]. Conventional mainstream media must re-examine its status and that of the audience to actively implement media reforms that reflect and satisfy the continuously growing needs of the audience, so it may take up challenges and win back the audience. That is why audience participation in media convergence is characterised by interactive production, which in essence is a culture of participation and interaction. From another point of view, the information selection and processing of conventional mainstream media usually reflect the mainstream ideology. Yet the audience is often weary of and even repulsed by stereotypical coverage formats, which result in unfavourable communication effects. The content of new media, however, is more in touch with the grass roots, diverse and richer. In addition, it bestows upon the audience the power to pursue personalised information communication. The emergence of crowdfunded news is a classic reflection of non-professional audience acting independently as information producers. As a result, compared to the past, the audience holds a more active position in the process of communication against the background of media convergence. Moreover, the audience achieves self-empowerment through participation and interaction in the culture of production convergence. Citizens may take part in information release through the Internet, and with the help of powerful networks and the power of public opinion, they may break the fixed informationcommunication patterns and identity limitations of conventional media, and establish an equal relationship between the communicators and the communicatees. Furthermore, with the time of new media as the vessel, the fixed patterns of being dependent


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on the focused or special coverage of conventional radio and television media may be broken, thus allowing more concentrated public opinion that may in turn drive social progress.

2.1.4 The Challenge of Communication Channels: New Media Begins to Set the Agenda for Traditional Media As a medium that serve as a channel of information communication, in addition to media products such as drama and variety shows, television primarily produces and communicates information products such as weather, news, finance and economy and consumption. In short, as a channel of information communication, television is unilateral. As conventional radio and television media evolve into omnimedia, the first challenge lies in reality and development. It is well known that the biggest challenge brought about by emerging media is timeliness, which is something unattainable to conventional media. New media has overcome the temporal and spatial limitations, and with the help of quick and instant networks, media information may be instantly communicated to the audience with almost no delay. Needless to day, conventional radio and television media also possess theoretically the trans-temporal and -spatial features. Nevertheless, the organisation of radio- and television-programme production bodies and the clear division of labour entail many stages, including information collection, processing, production and review, so apart from live streaming, the transtemporal and -spatial features are not fully manifested during actual operations. New media, in contrast, has given full play to these features and made live streaming the norm. The extreme timeliness and replaceability of news mean media that are unable to promptly communicate the information to the audience will be abandoned and face tough challenges. Conventional media that used to flaunt about being able to get the scoops have lost their competitive edge in terms of timeliness. If they do not converge with new media, the delayed information that they communicate will no longer be needed by the audience. While competing and converging with new media, the only thing that conventional media may do is digging deeper. Li Zhiyong from People’s Daily once remarked: “The importance of newspaper news can no longer compare to the past; it is just dishing up the same old stuff in the age of new media. Focusing on the content is the only way forward, while the depth of news investigation and the acuteness of news reviews are the core competitiveness of newspapers.” As new media gradually integrates into people’s daily life, the public is usually able to acquire first-hand information from the scene of specific incidents, which they upload onto networks using self-media tools such as mobile phones and tablets. The original pictures and videos become hot news topics as they spread rapidly on networks and draw public attention. Early conventional media and professional reporters in contrast seem slow to react to certain unexpected events, and may even intentionally avoid certain sensitive topics, which place them at a disadvantage in

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terms of timeliness and public opinion. It is evident that the powerful influence that networks has over public opinion often puts conventional media under tremendous pressure of competition. To preserve credibility, conventional media had to follow up different news coverage, as its agenda was “being set”. Take the explosion in Tianjin in August 2015 for example, the earliest coverage and continuous updates came as usual from network and mobile-phone media as represented by NetEase and The Paper. The follow-up coverage by newspaper and television largely came from that of Weibo and web portals and live pictures and videos taken by the public. In 1986, Danielian and Reese put forward the theory “intermedia agenda-setting”, which stated that major newspapers would influence the topics covered by tabloids, and mainstream media would influence the agenda of emerging media. In the context of media convergence, the boundaries of “intermedia agenda-setting” are also broken, as the information from new media gains influence on the coverage of mainstream media. New media may serve as the information source and provide news leads for conventional media, thus acting as the basis for its coverage and commentary. New media may even become directly involved in news events and exert direct influence on the information production and communication of conventional media. Conventional mainstream media had to start paying attention to the power of emerging media and undergo transformation and develop new-media business. As media continues to converge and expand its features, the identity of conventional mainstream media has also evolved from a pure information miner to a diverse information consumer and the subject of communication and influence. The role change brings about the change in the presentation of media content, and will further influence the public’s perception and understanding of the social environment built by media. Against such background and compared to new network media, conventional media is extremely limited in terms of coverage speed and audience number. New media does not only impact conventional media in the information-communication market, more importantly is that it has begun to set the agenda for conventional media, which has lost partial initiative in information communication. The early information-sending and -receiving environment has now undergone tremendous changes.

2.1.5 The Challenge of Communication Platforms: The Changing and Growing Demands of the Audience for Information For a long time conventional media used its own platforms to provide the audience with information, but as media convergence intensifies network media takes advantage of its digital technology and combines communication forms of conventional media, including text, pictures, sounds and images. The strong creativity and diverse communication forms of network media not only satisfy the ever changing and growing demands of the audience for information, but also pose challenges to the


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monotonous communication forms of conventional media. Furthermore, the popularisation of smart mobile terminals and the rapid information flow cause the audience to lose patience over time when it comes to receiving information and eventually cultivate the habit of fragmented reading. To satisfy the personalised demands of the audience, information service providers have begun to adopt micromedia as an information vessel to communicate information in a layered and fragmented manner [8]. It is previously known as “an image-driven culture”, whereby a good news image comprises all the information the audience wants, and the audience also derives satisfaction from interpreting the image. The ever-changing news-coverage formats have further adapted to the new reading needs of the audience. Whether it is understanding current affairs and politics through infographics, popularising knowledge through short animations or advertising using slide shows, only information that is enjoyed and accepted by all can truly have communication effects. As mobile media develops, social division of labour becomes more specific and the pace of modern life picks up, the fragmentation and personalisation of information communication become ever more evident. The rise of mobile interconnected media has also overcome spatial limitations, so the audience may access and receive information anytime, anywhere, making it a key means for the public to acquire information. Nowadays, people are used to reading news and watching shows on their mobile phones and tablets as they dine out and travel on the underground, instead of spending a long time watching television at home or reading newspapers at the office. The old habit of being stuck at home to watch news on television has thus changed. Meanwhile, amid the massive amounts of information, people will usually only pick what interests them, and news apps caters precisely to such demand. Their services fully reflect the Internet thinking of “users above all else”, giving users the absolute decision-making power. In addition, the growing demand of the audience for personalised information prompts the trend of specific, precise and customised information. The advantage of new media means the audience may customise the content and special information columns based on their personal interests and needs, and they may take part in them by the instant publication of their opinions. The audience may also save or share what they like with friends, thus making “to each according to his need” a reality in information acquisition. The short and rapid means of information supply pose tough challenges for conventional information-communication platforms characterised by the publication of content via monotonous media forms. The technological edge of new-media platforms forces conventional media to adopt new-media platforms to expand and develop. In response to such challenge, conventional media has introduced diverse and rapid means for the audience to acquire information, including building official websites, opening accounts on social media such as Weibo and WeChat and launching mobile-phone terminals.

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2.1.6 The Challenge of Communication Content: The Online Culture That Is Shaping the Social Forms As Denis McQuail stated that media had turned many new cultural forms into a part of our daily cultural life, it is not hard to see the lasting and profound effects that information communicated by mass media has on society and culture. During the time of conventional media, the unequal social structure of information communication and the monopoly of the right to speak meant media dominated the limited information resources. As a result, it was able to exploit the powerful tool that is mass communication to subtly promote and sow ideology and influence the public, so the communication results that satisfy the ruling class and stakeholders could be achieved. The legality of social order and the rationality of interest distribution were thus continuously approved and strengthened throughout the unilateral and repetitive communication processes. It may be said that during the time of conventional media, a traditional culture was shaped to strictly control the development of the social culture and maintain social stability. Following the development of computer-network and mobile-communication technologies, an emerging network culture arises from the progress of emerging media technology and thrives. Such culture digresses from the tradition and rebels against the mainstream right from the beginning. It aspires to values such as freedom and equality, strongly promotes personality and does not follow official discourse in the traditional sense. Network technology has bestowed upon the public the right to speak and offered the public the tool to confront authorities, while the anonymity offered by networks effectively protects online privacy to prevent punishment that may be brought about by indiscreet remarks in a traditional society. As an emerging media, the most distinctive feature of networks in comparison to conventional media is the extreme openness of the platforms and the extensive participation. It is precisely as some scholars remarked: “Regardless, it is the only medium that allows many to become creators.” The younger generation, which is referred to as “the natives of the Internet generation”, even regards networks as their main strongholds, and has formed rich and ever-changing network cultures as represented by netspeak, such as the colourful emoji, new terms coined by netizens and online networking, videos and literature. As the network culture gradually evolves into an independent cultural form, it brings new ways of thinking and living, and poses challenges to the control that conventional media has on social order. Catering to the public’s pursuit of the latest trends, the content of new media is usually extremely popular, whereas conventional media, which normally prides itself in content production, had to follow suit. Departing from its usual rigid and formal style of writing and stereotypical coverage approaches, conventional media attempts to win back the lost audience with the extensive use of the latest netspeak. Conventional media may possess conventional advantages such as content discovery and idea depth. However, faced with the unstoppable trend of the network culture and in line with the change of the times, the key tasks of conventional media would


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be to pique the interest and desire of the audience to read and share, as it responds to the impact of new media and extends its influence. Given the strongly converged media, conventional media should quickly discard outdated ideas and pay full attention and respect to the creativity of the audience in the age of network culture. It needs to continuously renovate its coverage content and forms and communicate with the audience as its equal, and adopt the appropriate netspeak that is popular among the audience to cover news and express its standpoint and attitude. By doing so not only may it reach the eyes and ears of the audience, but also their hearts and minds to win back credibility and initiative in the age of media convergence.

2.1.7 The Challenge of Media Operations: Systematic Pitfalls and Losing Sway in Public Opinion Driven by the powerful information technology of networks, media convergence has achieved remarkable progress. But its development process is still very much limited by conventional-communication systems. Liu Binjie, the director of China’s General Administration of Press and Publication, once mentioned: “As an organiser and promoter of the institutional reform of press and publication, the most vexing issue during the execution process was the asynchronous progress between the institutional reform of press and publication and that of the national economy” [9]. The news industry is usually closely connected to policies and regulations and is strictly confined by the system, which seriously interferes with the reform to apply business methods to conventional media, as issues still abound in the marketoriented operations. The “one-dimensional system, two-dimensional operations” of Chinese media have greatly impeded the development and transition of conventional media. Before China’s media market fully opened up, as a public institution, media mostly played the role of a mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the government, and was responsible for the political mission of ideological propagation. The party newspapers dominated, while the media also possessed a vast amount of administrative power, causing workers in conventional media, particularly the management, unwilling or unable to change timeously. Trapped by the belief of “official-rank standard”, conventional media to date still fails to adapt to the role change, despite being aware of its lack of market competitiveness under the dual impact of impeded progress of media industrialisation and the fierce development of new media. Blindly confident, conceited and arrogant, conventional media rests on its laurels and refuses to admit defeat. It even rejects historical development and entertains the hopes of resorting to the typical administrative means such as the promulgation of government decrees to suppress the development of new media. As fiscal investment decreases over time, such system objectively leads to the increasingly monotonised paid-service channels of conventional media amid the fierce market competition. The situation is compounded by falling advertising

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revenue, which drives conventional media into the predicament of funding shortages, and is also one of the main reasons why media workers are under considerable survival pressure along with ongoing corrupted professional ethics. The historical trend of media development is unstoppable, and regardless of the severity of the challenge facing the development of conventional media, the obstacles must be overcome quickly. Instead of hoping to eke out the miserable existence by resting on its laurels and through policy protection, conventional media should do its utmost to save the desperate situation and expedite media convergence to achieve leapfrog development. It is generally believed that two arenas exist in the public-opinion environment: one is the mainstream public-opinion arena that comprises conventional media such as party papers and national broadcasters, which faithfully promote the guiding principles and core socialism values of the parties and governments; while another is a public-opinion arena formed by new network media, which allows people to freely discuss current affairs and central issues, voice their opinions and monitor government administrative in an unrestrained virtual network space. Previously, conventional media, especially those that serve as the mouthpieces of political parties, occupied an absolute dominant position in the social-communication system. However, against the background of media convergence, the old communication system was impacted, and the swaying of public opinion went from unilateral one-dimensional dominance to bilateral multidimensional co-existence. Particularly as a result of modern media marketisation and industrialisation, conventional media, as independently operated businesses, not only largely lags behind new media in terms of timeliness, but also experiences many difficulties in business operations. More often than not, conventional media has little power in swaying public opinion or influence in the public-opinion arena. On the contrary, the thriving emerging media has shown its powerful ability to sway public opinion in many news events, and poses great challenges to the ability of conventional media to sway public opinion. For example, social-media exposure and doxing have in recent years played a significant role in anti-corruption cases such as those of the so-called “watch man” and “property tycoon”, as they forced the departments concerned to dismiss and investigate the exposed officials due to the enormous pressure from online public opinion. Given the urgent circumstances, the communication of malicious ideas and extreme views may even affect social stability and national security. Due to China’s unique communication system and political environment, conventional mainstream media must rely on its convergence with new media to salvage its waning ability to sway public opinion and grow and toughen up further. The media learning of modern audience is also continuously improving, particularly the younger generation that grew up among network media, which demonstrates a strong postmodernism spirit in the opposition of tradition and authority. Under the impact of the neoliberalism of Western media, public opinion becomes diverse, complex and filled with instability. Moreover, many irrational and even erroneous voices have been overplayed, making the importance and urgency to improve the ability of conventional media to sway public opinion all the more critical. Conventional media must no longer be led by the nose by new media. The loss of the ability to sway public opinion is equate to


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the loss of credibility, without which no audience will be willing to contribute to the profit of the media.

2.1.8 The Challenge of Organisation Management: Deficiencies in Departmental Setup and the Talent-Cultivation System The accessibility of the communication channels of new media and the diversity of its platforms will certainly trigger changes in conventional information production, particularly the production process of news. Furthermore, the earlier organisational structures and division of labour of conventional media will not be able to adapt to the new media environment. In September 2014, Shen Hao, financial-media tycoon and president and chief editor of 21st Century Business Herald, was arrested for suspected involvement in “news extortion”, which seriously damaged the sanctity and credibility of news media; from paid advertorials to ignored news and all-round, organised news extortion and rent seeking, the number of cases of damaged media credibility and even overall degeneration and corruption in recent years is too many to list. Nevertheless, charged with such large-scale corruptive actions of abuse of public power, Shen blamed the low salary, as he had asked the board of directors for a raise without success. To generate more income for himself and the senior executives without adding to the company’s operating costs, he covertly blackmailed the subjects of coverage and the stakeholders involved. From a different perspective, what Shen said: “We are both a media and a business organisation. To produce more and better news requires a sound financial foundation”, precisely reflects the irrationalities of the departmental setup and the division of labour of conventional media. The most dominant problem is the blurred boundary between newsgathering and editing and business departments, whereby activities of news production and advertising operations are centrally coordinated, so profit is linked to business in the end. As the president and chief editor, Shen was in charge of administration and business. With the business department so deeply involved in newsgathering and editing, it was inevitable that the independence and objectivity of news were lost. Given the pressure to generate income and the lack of supervision in the new media environment, it is unavoidable that news workers err and even break the law. Apart from the irrational division of labour among organisational departments, as media convergence is extensively promoted, the talent mechanism of conventional media faces severe challenges under the impact of new media. As new media develops, demands for media talent are also evolving and renovation is imminent. In February 2014, the new-media project “jiemian” of Shanghai United Media Group published a recruitment post, whose broad and vague requirements demanded no professional skills or work experience but smart and passionate hard workers, which replaced the basic skill requirements of conventional media when recruiting individuals for newsgathering, writing and editing. The move gave rise to a lively debt

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within the media industry. Moreover, the lack of talent-cultivation and -education models for omnimedia is another pitfall in the existing system. China’s omnimedia still has insufficient talent and cannot satisfy the transformation needs of business media. Following the vigorous promotion of media convergence by the central government, a large group of new-media projects such as The Paper and Qianhai Media sprung up like mushrooms and drove up the demand for new media talent. Conventional media must adapt to the changes and challenges of such talent demand structure, as existing structure of newsgathering and editing departments is no longer suitable for the current media environment. The setting up of posts with new-media characteristics is urgently required, as media workers place greater emphasis on the ability to use social media. Against such background, as professor Mike McKin put it: News talent proficient in one or two coverage techniques, familiar with other coverage means and had strong team spirit and awareness of media convergence would become the most sought-after talent [10]. The difficulty of mainstream media fostering omnimedia talent lies in the interdepartmental barrier, which drives a wedge between new- and conventional-media workers and reflects the differences in ideologies between new and existing talent. That is why the true in-depth convergence of new media may only be accomplished through the fostering of Internet-based thinking while facing up to the synergy of old and new media. In addition, quality talent teams need to be formed, along with a reasonable assessment system to evaluate employees and promote the growth of omnimedia talent [11]. Only with the launch of a comprehensive talent introduction, motivation and cultivation system can new-media talent be retained. Furthermore, it will prompt their development, which will consolidate the talent foundation for the management of media convergence and newsgathering and editing of mainstream media as well as business development. A favourable situation will consequently be created, whereby talented individuals will emerge in large numbers with the best in them brought out. This is how new omnimedia talent becomes the driver of business innovation and the pacesetter of development.

2.2 Inadequacies of Radio and Television and Their Causes Against the Background of Media Convergence 2.2.1 Macro-Perspective I. Inadequate market scale that lags far behind Western countries On the one hand, conventional media faces market competition brought about by new media, and lags far behind in terms of profit and income generation. On the other hand, China’s conventional media market is also poles apart from that of Western countries in terms of scale.


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China’s conventional media were initially public institutions that were managed based on the areas of operations. Following the Chinese economic reform, the limitations on the two-dimensional management model for radio and television were gradually relaxed. Under the original management model, media could only operate within the specified areas, making it difficult to develop further. As new-media technology develops, the Internet brings emerging Internet companies tremendous opportunities, and conventional media is no longer the only channel through which people access media information. The Internet companies also pose strong challenges to conventional businesses, such as the general news and entertainment video services provided by Tencent and iQIYI, while the trial-operation capacity of China’s conventional media remains less than promising. According to Blue Book of China’s Media: Report on Development of China’s Media Industry (2019), the market scale of the netcasting industry exceeded the advertising revenue of radio and television for the first time in 2018, which also saw the intersection of relative data. The turnaround may mark the turning point in the emerging audiovisual industry in China, but also signifies that conventional radio and television media face fierce competition [12]. Compared to Western countries, the overall scale of China’s mainstream media seriously lagged behind. The annual turnover of WarnerMedia amounted to USD28.1 billion in 2016, which was about over RMB200 billion, whereas the annual income of the entire media industry in China was only RMB1.2 trillion in 2015. The figures strongly reflect the disadvantage of Chinese media in international competition. Many Chinese businesses may enjoy considerable reputation and influence domestically but are unable to enter the global market and gain international standing. II. Unequal regional development with little convergence In recent years, the CPC and the central government have introduced media convergence at a national-policy level. In August 2014, President Xi proposed the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Converged Development of Conventional and Emerging Media at the 4th Meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms. The CPC and the central government consequently introduced the development strategies and directions for media transition at a national level. However, due to the regional differences in economic and media development, media convergence also showed unequal, strongly dissimilar development in different regions. Mainstream state media such as Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily and CCTV are at the forefront of media convergence. Whether it is the newsgathering and editing model or media business-organisational structure, these businesses are the first to carry out the reform and experiment of media convergence and introduce convergence and innovation in different areas, and have achieved remarkable results over time. The “central kitchen” model of People’s Daily and the convergence-media centre of Guangming Daily serve as valuable reference for other media. Nevertheless, judging from the extent of the launch of media convergence in China, the progress is slow in the central west due to obstacles related to funding, talent, technology, systems and mechanisms, and cannot compare to eastern provinces that started early. As a result, the development of media convergence is unequal throughout the country. According to the Report on Communication Indices

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of Media Convergence 2016, the communication efficiency of media convergence in areas such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Zhejiang and Shanghai is far ahead of the rest of the country. Although the media in the central west has achieved a certain progress and its convergence speed picked up, it still seriously lags behind the developed eastern areas and provinces. Without reaching a certain scale, the media industry in central-west China cannot achieve resource shoring or form a complete industry chain. In the context of new media, media development no longer relies on the channels of conventional media, but rather different network platforms. Nevertheless, the media strength upon which the western region may rely on still lags far behind that of the eastern region. Influenced by the complex social background and the development ecology of the communications industry, conventional media develops unequally in China, and the status quo of partial progress of media convergence will continue for a long time to come. Judging from the intensity of the progress of media convergence, the strategies of media convergence have reached county level and construction is under way. Despite the achievements, predicaments and issues concerning its development still abound. Based on their survey and field research on county-level media bodies across China, Xie and Huang sum up the current major shortcomings in the practice of media convergence among county-level media bodies across the country as follows: lack of organisation and coordination, blind expansion of content platforms and weak follow-up operations, insufficient original content, non-systematic management of talent and absence of professionalism [13]. Lu maintains that the current construction of converged-media centres at county level in China has three hidden dangers: first is the weakening of the main news industry; second is the falling number of users of regional digital television; and third is talent loss and the shortage of professionals. Moreover, the model of “provincial platforms + converged county-level media centres” is not without pitfalls, and may lead to competition among newspaper groups, radio and television groups and provincial news websites, causing each platform individual platforms to dominate individual terminals and diverging converged county-level media. It may also result in converged county-level media failing to cover the “last kilometre” in its development, as converged provincial media grows bigger and stronger. In view of which, fundamental media convergence has yet to achieve qualitative progress, and media convergence as a whole still has a long way to go in China. III. Inadequate talent-cultivation system and reserve manpower Media development requires the support of outstanding talent, whose introduction and fostering in turn requires rational and effective talent mechanisms. The inadequate internal talent-introduction, -cultivation and -motivation mechanisms of China’s mainstream media means the inability to uncover, keep and cultivate outstanding talent. To start with, the cultivation system of journalism and communications talent at China’s tertiary institutes tends to converge and is unable to adapt to the talent demand of omnimedia. According to China Journalism and Communication Yearbook 2015


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published by China Social Sciences Press, China currently has over 600 tertiary institutes offering journalism and communications degrees, covering the seven major undergraduate programmes, namely editing and publishing, communication studies, broadcast journalism, advertising, networks and new media and journalism and digital publishing. Although the number of undergraduates in programmes related to communication studies exceeds 140,000, many institutes are just jumping on the bandwagon and consequently lack distinctive characteristics, thus giving rise to a homogenous and converging trend. In addition, many institutes have insufficient teaching staff and academic standard to cultivate outstanding media talent, resulting in a lost situation in communication studies at tertiary institutes in China. Furthermore, the programmes and models for the cultivation of journalism and communications talent at tertiary institutes are not in touch with social and business demands. Most communications students in China are involved in news-related jobs, such as editor and reporter. In the context of omnimedia, reporters are no longer simply involved in text editing, but must also satisfy the editing demands of omnimedia with the simultaneous use of different devices, including cameras and recording pens. They must in addition be apt at the writing style of Weibo and public WeChat accounts. However, the programmes of tertiary institutes in China are still inadequate for such new-media technology and content editing on new-media platforms. The tertiary institutes still predominantly adopt curricula for the gathering and editing processes of conventional media and the trends and features of new media, and few offer curricula for the gathering and editing processes of new media. Lastly, the teaching programmes for journalism and communications degrees at tertiary institutes may still be improved, and few general educational models are available among different degrees. Communications students have insufficient journalism knowledge, while journalism students know very little of communications research methods. Such phenomenon puts all-round talent in the age of converged media at a disadvantage, as journalism and communications essentially focuses on society – unlike subjects such as law and economics, whose autonomy is primarily gained through the application of their logic systems. As a result, the cultivation of academic and practical talent is the future trend of development. Apart from the shortcomings in the cultivation systems of journalism and communications degrees at tertiary institutes, the media has also experienced dramatic talent loss. Mainstream media in China are public institutions that are run commercially. Despite the availability of staffing, salaries to a large extent rely on the operating profit of the media instead of fiscal spending. In 2016, the darkest hour of Chinese television stations, many businesses were unable to pay their employees, causing great difficulties. Furthermore, against the background of media convergence, mainstream media faces the challenge of transition, which is compounded by competition with Internet companies. As a result, many mainstream media workers switched to the Internet industry or even started their own businesses, and the loss of countless top talent is a heavy loss for mainstream media.

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IV. Incomprehensive media-regulatory system and control of network ecology needed Currently, China’s conventional radio and television media have an incomprehensive media-regulatory system, and content management is based on vague administrative orders instead of definite legal clauses. That is why conventional media is unable to define the boundary of rationality and legality, leading to overlaps and ambiguity. In addition, the management of mainstream media by different departments is highly problematic. The overlapping management of conventional media puts it at a loss and makes it unable to introduce institutional innovation and departmental reforms for media convergence. Due to the timeliness of the Internet and rapid communication of information, conventional content management cannot keep up with the swift media changes. The old means of managing conventional media are no longer suitable for the management requirements for development in the age of new-media evolution. In addition to the ambiguous and multi-departmental management issues in the regulatory system of mainstream media, the hotchpotch nature of the Internet lacks effective management, making it difficult to create favourable communication ecology of the Internet. Information security and false information on the Internet, particularly mobile networks, are the grave issues. Conventional radio and television industries are easy to regulate due to their nature as public institutions. However, private Internet-media companies and their audience do not possess professional media ethics and knowledge, leading to chaotic phenomenon of sensational headlines and reverse news. President Xi remarked at Network Security and Informatisation Symposium: “The network space is the spiritual home for hundreds of millions of netizens, where the sky is clear and the air is crisp and the ecology favourable for the benefit of the people.” China has to date introduced laws and regulations to strengthen the management of the Internet, but sound regulatory and management systems with lasting effects for new media must still be developed. V. Weaker international influence and the loss of the right to speak internationally Currently China’s mainstream media has a relatively weaker internationalcommunication capacity and insufficient international influence; it is also marginalised in the international communication system. As a result, it lacks the ability to set the mainstream global topics, and has little right to define and use news discourse. In addition to bearing the responsibility of swaying public opinion and enriching public life, China’s mainstream media must perform the tasks of external communication to promote international communication. China will thus need to enhance its international-communication capacity, increase its influence in the international community and achieve internationalised media development. The reasons that China’s media has lost the right to speak in the international community are manifold. Currently, the global communication system is dominated by the Western system, which is clearly biased in its sway of public opinion, as it builds a discourse system that centres around the Western world. Meanwhile, perhaps due to the evident lack of overall strength in mainstream media, China has in general an acute shortage of talent in international communication. In addition to


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having inadequate number of news-agency branches and overseas correspondents in comparison to the other three major news agencies of the world, the development standard of communication tools of China’s mainstream media lags behind developed countries, while the available international-communication resources are also meagre. From a micro-perspective, Chinese media has little experience, as it has just begun its research on mainstream discourse and the cultivation of cross-cultural communication knowledge and skills. VI. The industrial structure of media has yet to optimise and upgrade, while omnimedia has insufficient drive Against the background of media convergence, to adapt to the demands of the Internet age, media development must rely on capital to achieve transition and build new mainstream media and media groups. This also requires further marketised operations of media groups to achieve resource sharing and the extension of a full industry chain. Currently, a major contradiction in the achievement of media convergence and transition of conventional media is the inability of existing industry structure to adapt to the demands of new information production. As the pace of media industrialisation further accelerates, the industrial layout of China’s conventional media may have become increasingly diverse, but many have encountered challenges during the actual practice as they test the water. Besides the modularisation of content production and the rigid industrial management, certain media blindly pursue the trend of media industrialisation against the background of new media, treating diverse industrial development as a tool to stake a claim in a new market and aimlessly expand their business. Not only have they failed to effectively drive the industrial transition of the media, the mismanagement has instead further burdened the media and become a liability to the innovative development of the media [14]. Furthermore, the well-trodden path of relying on fiscal appropriations can no longer satisfy the capital demand of major media groups. As a result, the reduction of state involvement in mainstream media and the introduction of private and foreign capital into conventional media may be viable. Not only will this revitalise conventional media, but will also bring in advanced media technology, management experience and development models from abroad. In 2016, Xinhuanet was listed on Shanghai Stock Exchange, and the A-share market welcomed a rare company that is a national-level network-media platform. The successful use of capital allows mainstream businesses to swiftly expand their capital and acquire the strength to run omnimedia. In contrast, the sole reliance on fiscal appropriations will dampen the impetus for the development of media businesses. Enhance China’s right to speak in international communication through the creation of some media groups with global influence; encourage the thorough transition of the media industry, strengthen the synergy among media, optimise information resources and promote a complementary media relationship and the overall transition and upgrade of China’s media industry through the creation of new mainstream media groups.

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2.2.2 Meso-Perspective I. Rigid internal organisational structure failing to adapt to the gathering and editing needs of omnimedia As a public institution, China’s mainstream media has created a special organisational structure. Following the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, news media chiefly assumed the function of internal publicity and did not need to engage in any economic activities. After the Chinese economic reform, the first newspaper groups were formed in the 90s. Although China’s mainstream media began expanding its news activities using the Internet and different platforms very early, the organisational structure has always remained a great obstacle that prevents the innovation and convergence of mainstream media. The majority of China’s conventional businesses still adopt an organisational structure that suits the production of content via conventional channels. Currently, China’s radio and television stations are generally subordinate to radio, television or new-media centres, while newspapers comprise three departments, namely newspapers and periodical publication and new media. New media may appear to be included, but the departments are mutually exclusive, so conventional and newmedia channels are unable to share and organise resources or coordinate with each other. Conventional businesses may have set up public Weibo and WeChat accounts, which they maintain and promote, but are unable to produce original content that is suitable for new media with the help of mainstream media resources. This is something China’s radio and television may learn from their Western counterparts. For instance, as a well-established media brand, the BBC focused particularly on removing the barriers among departments and teams during media convergence to build an omnimedia platform. II. Inadequate marketised collaboration and innovation to satisfy audience needs In the age of new media, the survival environment of the media industry has changed drastically. Before the arrival of the Internet, conventional media primarily relied on fiscal appropriations and served a political function, in which it was responsible for publicity and the swaying of public opinion. In the age of media convergence, mainstream media may still be responsible for publicity as the mouthpiece of the party and the people, but the audience has become the most critical factor that influences media development. To reach the most audience and satisfy their diverse needs, mainstream media must continuously innovate and take advantage of external resources to propel its development. To satisfy the needs of the audience, mainstream media must have an accurate understanding of its audience. Since the 80s, state media such as CCTV began conducting audience surveys, but its categorisation standards differed greatly from the audience category of the Internet age. The raw and simple audience surveys of the early days no longer meet the needs of modern-day user surveys. Audience surveys in the Internet age require the use of big-data technology to extensively grasp user preference and behaviour, so rich and diverse content and services may be provided


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to audience from different categories with different characteristics and their diverse needs satisfied. Innovation is essential to satisfy audience needs. During the process of innovation, media must remain connected to reality. It needs to draw on the leading experience of the Internet industry and global media magnates, which must be combined with its own characteristics to propel development. As the entire conventional media faces pressure from all sides, it needs to boldly innovate where possible and think outside the box. It must also learn from past experience and develop new ideas, and form an industry alliance while collaborating with other media and more social businesses, as it works further on business strategies. III. New media generates little profit and has a monotonous profit-generating model Following the marketisation reform of conventional media, fiscal appropriations also decreased over time. With a marketised operating model, conventional media became responsible for its own profits and losses. Meanwhile, as it dipped its toe in new media, due to the large amount of investment in the early stage and the uncertain profit-generating model, input and output were unequal, which resulted in losses [15]. Before the rise of new media, media companies that monopolised the main communication channels generated a substantial amount of advertising revenue. However, as new media continues to develop, network advertising strongly impacted the advertising of communication channels. In the Internet age, conventional advertising models see mainstream media generates meagre income, while some were on the brink of bankruptcy and needed full state appropriations in recent years. In early 2017, the rather influential Oriental Morning Post suspended publication, while Xinyu Evening Paper also formally suspended publication in September the same year, after publishing 1390 issues. This reflects the major challenge facing the profitgenerating model of modern mainstream media, which lacks effective exploration in the environment of converged media. In the Internet environment, network platforms have become the latest choice for advertising and substantially undercut the profit of conventional media, which reflect the urgent need for the profit-generating model of mainstream media to innovate. The reasons that China’s mainstream media now faces such issues include: firstly, the monotonous profit-generating model, which persistently relies primarily on advertising for a long time, with advertising revenue accounts for over 90% of the business revenue of some conventional companies. Secondly, the effective profitgenerating model of new media has not been discovered. Network companies such as iQIYI and Youku and major foreign media groups have all adopted a diversified profit-generating model, from which China’s mainstream media may draw lessons. The survival predicaments of mainstream media demand the expansion of a survival space in which a single business is established based on different models.

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2.2.3 Micro-Perspective I. Conventional production processes are slow to update and monotonous The conventional media-production model only needed to focus on the production of one or two media products. However, in the age of media convergence, production must be based on media types and is extensively processed. Channel businesses may be rising in the age of new media, but media may not neglect the importance of content production. The article Accelerating the Converged Development of Conventional and Emerging Media stated that content would always be the foundation for news media and the key to its survival and development. “Content is the king” will always remain relevant for the media. Media convergence and innovation need to combine creativity and technology, and make the application of data analyse and the improvement of user experience some of the key means to improve coverage approach and enhance content quality [15]. Meanwhile, the adoption of the diverse, focused and refined content-production model of new media to process quality content of conventional media should be the chief means to organically combine content and channels. Li suggests that the content recreation of media convergence is not the patching up of the previous content-production model, but should take full advantage of new communications technologies such as Weibo, WeChat, terminals, TikTok, short videos, H5 pages of WeChat, AI and VR. It needs to recreate content based on and taking into consideration the needs to adapt, match, serve and enhance new media. And through the exploration of the methods and patterns of content recreation, it should strive to produce quality content that satisfies the modern audience before becoming widely accepted and approved by the market [16]. Clearly, contemporary conventional media still has tough work ahead and a long way to go in terms of improving the content-production model. Content production in the Internet age may no longer be based on conventional business procedures. Hu mentioned that editing reporters should transition to product managers, who were a team that introduced the workflow of Internet companies to conventional media to change its monotonous, content productionfocused work model. The internal business process of a new media group should adopt omnimedia-content gathering and production, followed by multi-platform integration, release and operations and multi-network transmission and distribution before reaching the multiple terminals on user’s end to form a complete businessprocess chain. With a large number of mainstream media still employ conventional content-production process, transformation is hard to achieve and poses challenges to new-media development. II. Overlooked new-media and mobile-Internet markets and low-level use of new-media technology 2012 was referred to as the “first year of mobile networks”, when technologies and services related to the mobile Internet were appearing one after another, and mobile phones and devices have become a part of people’s daily life, foretelling the arrival of the mobile Internet. One of the reasons that mainstream media has placed little emphasis on the mobile Internet is due to the lack of good mobile-phone terminals,


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and another is the inability to mine information related to user habits and scenarios. Topics in the age of mobile media are closely connected to data. Although the media needs to stick to what it used to be good at, if it cannot expand its thinking to cover other information dimensions and use, its structure is bound to become limited in the future. From a material aspect, technology is the easiest to improve. However, conventional media still needs to expand further and dig deeper in its discovery and use of higher-level technology. Currently, China’s mainstream media remains superficial and simple in its combination and use of new-media technologies, which have yet to be integrated and connected with the audience, operations and even the development and convergence of conventional media channels, so they may form a joint force for media innovation and transition.

2.3 Exploring the Causes Impeding the Business Development of Media Convergence 2.3.1 Deep-Rooted Inertial Thinking of Conventional Media Failing to Adapt to the Development Needs of the Internet A change in thinking is the prerequisite for media convergence. The development of any technology and business ideas requires ideological and theoretical support. However, the current conventional business and inertial thinking of China’s mainstream media has restricted the transition of conventional media. China’s mainstream media has insisted on a two-dimensional model: on the one hand it is a national or local public institution that must persevere in swaying public opinion and accomplishing the missions from its superiors, while on the other hand it is a business unit that is responsible for its own profits and losses. Conventional administrativemanagement systems have introduced conservative thinking centred on a planned economy, which is unable to take advantage of market needs and the needs of media development in the Internet age. As a result, to achieve the convergence of mainstream media firstly requires conventional media to break with its inertial thinking and gain a thorough understanding of the technology and the theoretical logic of new media, so the convergence and innovation of mainstream media may be fully understood and controlled, and media transition and media convergence achieved. Guo remarked that currently a large number of conventional media might have keenly suggested media convergence and seemed strongly determined, but they were simply treating it as a slogan and a perfunctory tool—they were merely converging for the sake of converging [5]. Fenced in by the existing interest structure and conventional ideas and complacent about the status of mainstream media and the belief of “official-rank standard”, conventional media is plagued by many erroneous and conservative ideas. Firstly, the administrative thinking from the planned-economy

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age causes a considerable number of mainstream media, particularly regional ones, to develop a passive attitude of inaction, resulting in the inability to recognise the development trend of new media and the complacency in the dominant position. Moreover, in terms of determination, as an arduous and complex systematic project, media convergence inevitably involves the readjustment and redistribution of interests and benefits, which a great number of conventional media are unwilling or unable to undergo. As a result, employee enthusiasm cannot be aroused, and the passive attitude leads to missed opportunities in the age of new media, causing conventional media unable to face up to the challenge of marketisation. Secondly, for mainstream media that has for a long time become adapted to the professional development of a conventional and monotonous medium, new media is a field in which it has little experience, and many businesses dare not rashly dip their toes in it. The mentality of inaction is thus developed when it comes to development in fields related to new media. In addition, ideologically, conventional-media workers have yet to realise the massive impact the Internet brings and still believe in the fair prospects conventional media has, which consequently leads to the unwillingness to truly converge. In terms of investment, media convergence requires substantial investment. However, a large number of conventional media are reluctant to invest during convergence and seek instant success and quick profits, making it inevitably hard to achieve longterm tangible results [5]. They may also apply the thinking of conventional media to product operations in the new-media field, and develop new-media products based on conventional ideas, experience and management models, making it hard to obtain favourable results. In a new-media environment, a change in thinking is precursor. The mentality of “not wanting to do” and “dare not to do” must be transformed into that of “must do” and “can do well”. A sense of crisis must be developed and the grave crises facing conventional media in the new-media age must be fully recognised. Conventional media will face major crises if it remains complacent, thinking being a public institution offers protection. A change in the thinking of conventional media also includes developing the thinking of “can do well” and learning from that of the Internet, with the transition of mainstream media being guided by the ways of thinking in the new-media age. Liu Qibao, head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, published a feature article Accelerating the Converged Development of Conventional and Emerging Media in People’s Daily in 2014, in which he put forward four new ideas, namely the establishment of integrated ideas, the strengthening of Internet thinking, the reinforcement of leverage consciousness and the promotion of the spirit to tackle challenges. The mentality of “can do well” requires mainstream-media workers to understand the transformation of media convergence, starting from the current market situation in China and grasping the development patterns of new media, before finding a suitable personal path for new-media transformation.


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2.3.2 Barriers of Conventional Systems and Mechanisms Become Institutional Factors of Media Transformation Although China’s mainstream media has undergone business reforms and embarked on the path of market operations, it still possesses attributes of a public institution. Similarly, its management approach continues to adopt the normalised management model of administrative orders, which primarily responds to instructions from a higher authority instead of market needs. Under such system it is therefore difficult to develop marketised thinking or break free of administrative rules and regulations. It is difficult to consolidate the thinking predominantly guided by marketisation or satisfy the needs of the audience and the Internet, given the non-scientific and institutionalised management approach. Currently, certain Internet media created by conventional media have adopted the development approach that is outside the institution and acquired a certain market competitiveness. However, while converging, some conventional media pull Internet media with a certain market vigour back into the institution, which completely nips the little vigour acquired in the bud [5]. Guided by such administrative thinking, China’s mainstream media adopts a conventional department-based system, making it hard to share resources and coordinate. Not only are the conventional departments separated, the relationship between new and conventional media is lukewarm, allowing no centralised coordination. Newmedia departments are either completely separated from conventional departments and unable to takes advantage of the resources of conventional media, leaving them having to independently produce the content, or are completely placed under conventional management departments that manage them using conventional management means, which rein in the development of new media. True media convergence should be completely connected to the market and thoroughly reform and prefect existing systems to follow the example of Internet media. Efficiency of the converged development of mainstream media may only be optimised, when administrative and departmental barriers are broken down and an omnimedia news centre created, leading to the development of a set of personnel-deployment methods for different departments. Meanwhile, both new and conventional media are revived as they work together, which also minimises resource and talent waste. Apart from the management method, conventional media also has problems with the incentive-allocation mechanisms for talent. Firstly, the existing incentiveallocation mechanisms for talent can no longer satisfy the needs of the new-media age. Television stations place quality talent under tremendous amount of pressure, but few incentivise their talent. Chen Xiaoqing, the director of the highly successful A Bite of China, admitted to “spending each day under pressure”. This aspect illustrates that the existing talent-incentive mechanisms of mainstream media are no longer effective. Secondly, the characteristics of conventional media as a public institution have led to unequal treatment in terms of employee remuneration. CCTV also divides its employees into four categories: formal, station-employed, business-employed and project-based, each of which have totally dissimilar remuneration packages. Some businesses even have very different personnel for conventional and new media, with

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some actually hire temporary workers for the new-media departments. On the one hand, this reflects the inadequate emphasis placed on the new-media field by mainstream media, while on the other hand reflects the thinking of conventional administrative management, which focuses on staffing and not talent. This doubtlessly leads to the dramatic loss of quality talent, particular that of new media. Once again, media convergence also requires a whole-new business process, and the conventional business processes no longer suit the multi-platform communication of omnimedia. China’s conventional media has entered a critical stage and a critical year of transition. Media content production is at the centre of media businesses and a key part of the reforms. The basic conventional business pattern of mainstream media still follows the process of topic selection, interview and production, layout and review. Initially all conventional media attempted to include new media as a new channel into the conventional business-production processes, but consequently discovered that the characteristics and directions of new and conventional media are entirely different. That is when it realised media convergence required more than simply the use of new-media platforms, but more importantly changing the existing production processes, whereby the business formats of conventional media are changed from the lowest level using new media. Converged media is committed to omnimedia communication and has enormous and diverse channels and platforms, which a single department is unable to satisfy the drastic increase in information-production needs and will lead to personnel and content-resource waste. That is why mainstream media needs to focus on the integrated gathering and editing process and characteristics of omnimedia before restructuring the production process of omnimedia. Lastly, the conventional monotonous business model based primarily on advertising needs to change, and a brand-new business model suitable for the Internet context needs to be explored. China’s mainstream media has gradually transitioned from relying on state appropriations to being responsible for its own profits and losses during the business reform of public institutions. Meanwhile, mainstream media has adopted the advertising-based profit-generating model. However, in the Internet age, the conventional advertising-based business model has severely impacted the revenue of mainstream media, while some were on the brink of bankruptcy and needed full state appropriations in 2016. This reflects the major challenge facing the profitgenerating model of modern mainstream media, which lacks effective exploration in the environment of converged media, and leads to a shortage of information-media companies of substantial scale and international influence and competitiveness. In the U.S., in contrast, media giants are emerging in succession. The exploration of the diverse business formats of the Internet is an issue that requires the urgent attention of China’s mainstream media.


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2.3.3 Lack of Quality Content Online, Where Conventional Content Still Dominates Technology and content are the two highly critical points in media convergence innovation, while conventional media continuously attempts to adopt new technology. They are also essential to media survival and must be continuingly innovated and developed. Winning user trust and favour with quality content is a vital means to achieve the dual objectives of swaying public opinion and generating profits. Radio and television stations are apt at producing programmes for radio and television platforms and are able to produce one good programme after another. However, they are at a loss when it comes to the completely different operating and production means of the Internet. McLuhan’s proposal that “the medium is the message”, meaning different media have different preferences and characteristics, and no favourable results may be obtained by placing programmes of conventional media directly on the Internet. Nevertheless, the convergence of China’s mainstream stream almost always began with the setting up of new-media platforms, on which content that was produced using conventional means was directly placed. Despite the large amount of quality content available, the totally dissimilar characteristics of newmedia platforms and conventional media mean no good results have been achieved. As an agglomeration of text and audiovisual information, the Internet brings users a brand-new media experience. Mainstream media therefore needs to produce highquality content that matches the media characteristics of different new-media platforms, while producing more good original Internet-based content to attract a wider audience, so as to enhance the influence and credibility of new-media platforms of conventional media. Above all else, unlike conventional-media channels that are mainly controlled by mainstream media, the Internet is an open platform, where authorised businesses and even individuals may produce content on all kinds of platforms. Internet companies such as Tencent and iQIYI have begun joining the content-production industry, and they pose a significant threat to conventional media, whose ability to sway public opinion is weakened. Furthermore, the time and space of mainstream media is encroached, leading to its talent loss. The shortcoming of mainstream media in the production of quality content for the Internet has become a business disadvantage, and in a time when self-produced online shows continue to improve, mainstream media faces an enormous challenge. In the new-media environment, the production of high-quality content first requires innovative forms of content presentation that break free of the content limitations of conventional media, and the content needs to be purposely produced for the Internet. Content-production channels may be expanded either through selfproduction or the purchasing of finished products created by dedicated production companies. Meanwhile, due attention should be given to PGC and UGC to build shared platforms for users. Not only does this respond to the feature of a growing user initiative in the Internet age, but also helps building an audience database, which lays a solid foundation for the media to understand the market further.

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2.3.4 Conventional Channels Dominate, New-Media Channels Lack Variety and Online Infiltration Is Inadequate Currently, while undergoing media convergence, a great number of conventional media have failed to adapt to the development trend of the media industry. They simply regard the Internet as a tool and means, and fantasise about converging the Internet media with conventional media. Based on the actual transition of conventional media, regardless of e-version, “newspaper-internet interaction” or omnimedia, those regarding the Internet purely as a tool and means have all failed without exception, and media convergence is certainty not exempt [5]. Nonetheless, as new-media technology develops, conventional-media channels such as newspapers, radio and television are no longer the only channels through which people receive information. How people receive information has become more diverse and pluralistic, and Weibo, public WeChat accounts and social media have become main channels of information acquisition. New media may have expanded the means of information reception, but it has also led to an audience crisis for the conventional channels of mainstream media. Apps of major business media, Weibo and public WeChat accounts have “cut off” a large amount of user flow. A great number of mainstream media may have produced plenty of outstanding content, but netizens are seeing such content through the apps of Tencent and NetEase. Mainstream media is a good content producer, but lacks diverse and open channels, which reduces them to a mere content provider who no longer possesses the market initiative. The expansion of new-media channels and the increase of audience penetration in the new-media environment are therefore of paramount importance to mainstream media. Take CCTV New Year’s Gala from 20 years ago for example, if the content has a value of 100, given that television was the only broadcast channel, which is 100, then the final value is 10,000. Despite the deepened reform of television that rapidly improved the content quality, the swift development of networks has divided channels, and the value of television has shrunk to 5000. Even if television steps up its investment and increases its content value, if the value of the channels is smaller than 1, what value would it produce? During its earlier development, conventional media has monopolised all the key communication channels, and naturally concluded that “content is the king” and paid little attention to the development of channels. With the advent of the Internet age the monopoly has ended, and the expression that “channels are the king” has become highly popular. Actually, channels and content are two sides of the development of conventional media, while ensuring content quality, the development of new channels and the innovation of communication forms are equally important. Finally, mainstream media has become overly reliant on emerging Interne channels during the development of new media, and has done little to build own platforms or innovate channels. Innovation is a pivotal driver for Internet development. To stand out in future development requires breaking free from the thinking of conventional


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channels, focusing on the frontier of new media and audience needs, providing more personalised and user-friendly services and creating content on new communication channels that take advantage of conventional media.

2.3.5 Insufficient Use and Convergence of Technology by New Media The criticism of media technological determinism and pan-mediatisation all along, and the theoretical conflict involving the “rectification of the name of media technological determinism” in recent years [17] fully reflect the attitude of and changes in the media, academic and political circles regarding technology. This illustrates that the viewpoint of “everything is a medium” from a technological perspective is beginning to receive wider attention against the broader background of media convergence [18]. Technology is a pivotal driver for social development, and Internet technology has profoundly transformed the means of human communication. Precisely because the Internet and digital technology have radically changed our ways of life and the social formats, it is therefore apt to call it a digital revolution. Digital and network technologies based on the Internet and mobile networks have broken the conventional monotonous media form and make the convergence of different media and presentation forms possible. Television, radio and newspapers have become the content of network media. McLuhan once proposed that “the medium is the message”, and the media characteristics of the Internet offer the best annotation for it. In addition to discovering new media forms, the Internet affords the audience greater media proximity. In the context of new media, the audience are no longer simply passive information recipients, but have become active information communicators, which may be attributed to the power bestowed upon them by the Internet. The Internet has tremendously impacted every industry and people’s life, and the news industry is no exception. Technological development provides whole-new converged news forms, and the trend of converged news with all-round, personalized multi-platforms is foreseeable. Mobile networks based on cloud technology, mobile Internet and portable terminals free newsgathering and editing and news access from temporal and spatial limitations. GPS, AR and VR not only reflect the trend of converged virtual spaces and real life, but also make novel news forms such as on-site news a reality. All the refreshing technology requires thorough understanding from the media industry, and the extensive use of new-media technology will become the breakthrough point in the converged and innovative development of mainstream media. In the megatrend of new media, mainstream media cannot completely avoid newmedia technology. However, the application of new-media technology by China’s mainstream media remains rudimentary and is limited to direct application; no extensive development has taken place based on individual features and media characteristics. It is not uncommon to see conventional media move the content produced

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by conventional channels as a whole to new-media platforms without any editing or adjustment. The outright content transplant makes the content that is suitable for television unable to adapt to the characteristics of new media, and usually fails to produce positive results. The websites of many media groups are only updated every few days and have no aesthetics to speak of, while the number of app downloads does not quite live up to expectations due to the lack of distinctive characteristics. The first challenge facing mainstream media during the process of media convergence and innovation is the adequate application of new-media technology, which is no simple addition or generalisation. The divide between technology and needs is most pronounced in media convergence, which to a great extent may be attributed to the outdated knowledge and the passive acceptance of technology of professional media bodies all along. The technological convergence of media is most certainly not about moving conventional media to networks and mobile phones. It is about using new digital technology and developing features based on own needs to achieve information gathering, editing and transmission on omnimedia platforms, as well as gathering and analysing user data on new-media platforms. These are more advanced requirements for the application of new-media technology by mainstream media, and instead of moving conventional media online, mainstream media needs to develop products and services with own characteristics to satisfy the demands of the audience and Internet users. Mainstream media needs to thoroughly exploit new-media technology and focus on the research and development of new-media products to form pluralistic operational approaches.

2.4 Development Opportunities for Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence Media convergence has long become one of the development directions and trends of the media market. In addition to breaking down the temporal and spatial barriers, the trend marks the vigorous growth of communications technology in recent years, and has created brand-new media ecology that foregrounds the renewal of industry ideas. As stated above, against such background, many media bodies around the globe have embarked on converged development, and hoped to gain a competitive edge through the execution of media-convergence strategies. China is also picking up its pace in the drawing up of the blueprint for media convergence. During their exploration, media bodies, from central to regional, have discovered media-convergence models with distinctive characteristics based on the principle of differentiated competition. An overview of the progress of China’s media development shows that convergence is slowly becoming an irreversible trend. New opportunities and models are thriving in five major aspects of media, namely content, channels, platforms, operations and management, which doubtlessly become the key drivers for the accelerated transition and the enhance influence of conventional media.


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2.4.1 Content-Wise: Diverse Sources and Formats Although the Internet age may be flooded with general information, quality content with critical thinking and authoritative accuracy that may assure users is still able to have the final word. The evaluation of communication content may guide media in content selection as well as content creation. Nowadays, media convergence has created favourable opportunities for the development and communication of media content. On the one hand, the sources of communication content are becoming increasingly diverse. Prior to the arrival of the age of media convergence, the flow of information content was usually unilateral, with professional communicators having a tight grip on content production. Such conventional content-production model controlled the perception framework of the audience and restricted the width and depth of news coverage. Media convergence introduces different voices, and the public begins to become involved in the production of communication content. Since the public is far less restricted by the standards of governments and media bodies, its communication content is more diverse and personalised, and relational media based on social-network platforms in particular has breathed new life into conventional media. A live report and a rational comment from the self-media may all become the source materials for conventional media. Collaboration between selfmedia and conventional media produces more comprehensive information content for users, and is also a critical factor for conventional media to improve rapport and satisfaction. In the age of media convergence, the boosting of content value has increasingly become the logical starting point and the primary endogenous driver for the convergence of conventional media. On the other hand, the forms of communication content are diversifying with each passing day. Prior to digital production, text, pictures and audiovisual files are incompatible due to the different formats. Conventional media relied on a relatively closed and independent news-production model, and such a monotonous operating model was unable to adapt to the rapidly changing media market and the diverse needs of the audience. However, media convergence prompted the evolution of technological digitisation and broke down the barriers of incompatibility among different formats. The communication carriers of information have expanded from the monotonous text, pictures and audiovisual files to multimedia content, which becomes the metadata that support communication. The information content may thus be easily converted into different media products with low costs, and such is one of the major breakthroughs in the news-production field brought about by media convergence. As contentproduction technology transitions from pre-digital communications technology to communications technology, conventional media continues to strengthen its contentproduction capacity, which is primarily manifested in the digitisation of interviews, circulation and broadcasting, storage and internal-management systems. Media has achieved a significant breakthrough in content-production capacity following the digitisation of the technology of content production. The breakthrough has given birth to a relatively open production model based on databases, which combines the storage, management, retrieval and release of different media formats in one,

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thus achieving the integrated sharing and optimised deployment of pluralistic media forms. This signifies that communicators of conventional media may fully exploit many different communication carriers to communicate effectively.

2.4.2 Channel-Wise: Complement and Convergence of New and Old Media Currently, the Internet is generating massive amounts of information all the time and enjoys an edge in terms of content timeliness and scope. Conventional media, however, possesses a slight competitive edge in terms of content depth and communication coverage rate. By giving full play to the advantages of conventional and new media and achieving the content sharing and communication across media such as conventional media and the Internet, better communication results may be produced. On the one hand, conventional media has begun taking advantage of emerging media. Before the Internet technology fully matured, conventional media had a tight grip on the initiative in information communication, and its communication channels were limited to mass media such as paper media and radio and television. On the other hand, information transmission and release had a longer communication cycle due to limitations such as typesetting, printing, production and editing, leading to reduced effectiveness. The unilateral communication forms of conventional media restricted feedback and resulted in the lack of interaction. The advent of digital-communication technology offered conventional media other possible forms of information carriers. Whether it is the communication channels or media terminals, the uniqueness of conventional media has become a thing of history. Digital communication networks and computers are not tools exclusive to emerging media; conventional media may also take advantage of these new channels and terminals. Media convergence offers an opportunity for the extensive convergence of conventional and emerging media, and conventional media is thus able to break away from the communication ideal of being “content-focused”. It has transitioned from being used to teaching to being used to learning, which allows it to take full advantage of the new media to achieve thorough development. On the one hand, information takes advantage of emerging media to communicate extensively via different channels, thus acquiring wider coverage and greatly enhancing the effectiveness of the news. On the other hand, conventional media has achieved the feature of interactive information with the help of the diverse channels of emerging media, which allow users to take part in the process of information transmission. Furthermore, users are given the capacity to state, express, argue and even criticise, and are taking the initiative in the sense-making of events. Contemporary conventional media only needs to digitise its content before transmitting it to users via digital communications networks and terminals. The sharing of the digital communications networks between emerging and conventional media is in essence an early form of media convergence.


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On the other hand, conventional media may make up for the deficiencies of emerging media. In the Internet age, emerging media is developing by leaps and bounds and has absolutely captured the attention of the industry, which to a certain extent signifies the end of the era when conventional media looked down on everything. Nevertheless, the current development of emerging media in China is not problem free: in terms of the depth of information communication, the rapid and instant communication patterns of emerging media foreshadow shallow reading, and the quality of such massive amounts of diverse information is hard to ensure, resulting in the lack of credibility. In terms of the width of information communication, emerging media may have spread information beyond borders with the help of Internet technology, but it is still unable to reach remote, rural areas without the adequate hardware infrastructure, which means its reach still lags behind conventional media such as radio and television. In contrast, conventional media has a clear edge in terms of credibility, content resources and talent reserves, which it has accumulated in the information-communication field over the years. As a result, while network media needs to enhance its credibility, it is of paramount importance that conventional media works harder to maintain and establish its credibility. Judging from the above, conventional media needs not belittle itself, but should seize the opportunity and rise to the challenge. Conventional media should actively explore a development direction that suits its characteristics in a media environment in which emerging media is developing with a strong momentum.

2.4.3 Platform-Wise: The Drive of Digital Technology and Social Mechanisms Firstly, digital technology has played an active role. Prior to the arrival of the age of media convergence, platforms were a rather foreign concept to conventional media, whose content transmission and release relied primarily on unilateral, vertical channels that were mutually exclusive and unable to effectively achieve inter-channel synergy effects. Supported by digital communications technology, conventional and emerging media have begun to overlap and converge horizontally. As media convergence progresses further and big data and cloud computing spring up everywhere, digitisation will be how future media platforms coexist. The boundary between conventional and emerging media will disappear completely, as they eventually converge to the same form. In such sense, different media converge to a brand-new digital-media platform that integrates many media forms, and truly embody “the appreciation of diverse beauties in harmonious co-existence”. In the major confluence of thriving development, conventional media may take advantage of digital technology to help it navigate the digital platforms with its refined and professional content [19]. Secondly, social elements have played a contributive role. In the age when conventional media dominated the communication patterns, conventional media also

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held the right to speak. Agenda setting became uniform and information sources monotonous, and the efficiency of feedback channels was consequently poorer, leading to the crushing of a market of free public ideas and opinions. The most direct result of diverse media forms is the extension of discussion platforms, and people may take advantage of the quick and easily accessible social media to actively allocate attention resources. Social media is a platform of content production and exchange that is based on the social relationships of its users, who are thus the central players of the platform and not the website operators [20]. In fact, the prevalence of social communication mechanism have provided the media convergence of conventional media with a greater space for development, and the existing experience has a certain reference value for radio and television media. For example, The New York Times has introduced 67 types of newsletters and launched 13 AR projects in 2018. It periodically holds daily press conference on Amazon’s Alexa, and has introduced a series of editing features customised for Alexa to provide additional audio content for its readers of travel, book and fashion columns. It also provides the gist and webpage links for audio content in corresponding paper and digital versions. The paper announced to have 4.5 million subscribers by the end of the first quarter of 2019, among them over 3.5 million are digital subscribers, and the number of total subscribers is expected to exceed 10 million by 2025. American Broadcasting Company News (ABC News) channels offer diverse content and allow quick content sharing anytime, anywhere. In March 2019, ABC News’s Facebook has 471 million views, its YouTube channel 152 million views, Twitter 69 million views and Instagram 36.9 million views. The Economist has for a long time been devoted to building a community on social-media platforms, and to date has 3.4 million followers on Instagram alone. These examples illustrate that conventional radio and television media are completely capable of riding the rapid development of social media to execute their strategies of media convergence.

2.4.4 Operation-Wise: Development of the Media Market and Changes of Profit Model First of all, thorough development of the media market. All along, China’s conventional media bodies have been referred to as the “ears and eyes” and “mouthpieces” of the party and the government, and have always been called “public institutions” and cut off from market activities. As the socialist market economy prospered over time, the party and the government has begun to relax their control of the media and recognise its dominant market position. Nevertheless, in the end, conventional media still lacked market competitiveness. The industry-convergence trend triggered by media convergence, however, opened up the door for conventional media to be part of the market competition. A series of policies introduced in 2014, including the Guiding Opinions on the Promotion of Industries with Cultural Characteristics and the Opinions of the State Council on Promoting the Integrated Development of


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Industries Related to Culture and Creativity and Design Services, laid a solid political foundation for the development of the media industry. Conventional media possesses strong regional advantages in the original regional market, talent reserves and content resources, and with policy protection, it will achieve major breakthroughs in terms of media convergence, listing and financing and the restructuring of the industry chain. Once they have undergone full industry convergence, conventional-media groups will give play to the economies of scale and scope to become brand-new business groups that transcend media, regions and industries, and will promote the optimisation and upgrade of the industry structure of the media. Secondly, the conventional profit model has been revised. The conventional profit model was regarded as the “bible” before the age of media convergence. Previously, conventional media generated advertising revenue and profits by selling audience attention. Given such a monotonous profit model, conventional media was unable to achieve significant progress. The advent of media convergence further integrated different information and capital flows and logistics online, after which more new business and profit models were born out of the Internet, providing conventional media the opportunity to change its profit model. Providing users with customised information services is a key form of the development of resources of news communication and information against the background of media convergence, such as the provision of designated services of specific information for users, including videos on demand, customised news and business reports. A newer and more high-end information-service market should be developed for the media field. That is why during this window of opportunity, conventional media should not be complacent and conservative, but should break free from the initial set ways of thinking of “secondary sales” and look at the greater environment of the Internet. It needs to obtain resources from other fields of the Internet and extensively develop the network features and services that users need, so as to create a novel and efficient profit model.

2.4.5 Management-Wise: Renewal of Management Concepts and Organisational Structures On the one hand, it is the renewal of the management concepts of media organisations. During the period of its dominance, conventional media enjoyed exclusive resources and development space. Due to its closed and conservative organisationalmanagement concepts, conventional media often did things its way while confined to its own circle. Against the background of media convergence, the common closedmanagement concepts of conventional media are challenged and have to become more open. In the renewal of the management concepts of conventional media, media policies play a role as the navigator. In his guiding speech Accelerating the Converged Development of Conventional and Emerging Media, Liu emphasised the tremendous significance of fostering the concept of integrated development: “Fostering the concept of integrated development of conventional and emerging media to

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achieve the effective reorganisation of media resources and key production elements, so as to form an integrated organisational structure and communications and management systems, in which everything is inseparable” [21] Against the background of media convergence, the internal or mutual management of media organisations needs to transform from being monotonous to being diverse. As a result, to maintain the balance among the diverse goals inside media bodies, the renewal of the management concepts of media-production organisations is the foundation for their successful management, which conventional media urgently need to undergo. On the other hand is the renewal of the management system of media organisations. During the earlier period of news production, a bureaucratic management system was in place for news production and communication, and departments were clearly separated. This also made resource integration within an organisation problematic, and the institutional barriers impeded the further development of conventional media. However, media convergence has completely torn down the solid walls among departments of media bodies, and prompted the flattening of the initial bureaucratic management structure. The change is both an opportunity and a challenge to conventional media.

References 1. Zhou, K. (2018). Ecology and mentality: Key impediments to the development of new-media platforms for the Chinese radio and television. Audiovisual Circle (Radio and Television Technology), 1, 37–40. 2. Duan, P. (2018). A study of the development strategies of radio and television in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province against the background of media convergence. China Television, 1, 72–77. 3. Lu, Y. (2017). Building of talent teams for conventional media. Media, 23, 8. 4. Zhou, R. (2018). A study of the turnover types of news workers and their influencing factors. TV Research, 6, 50–52. 5. Guo, Q. (2015). Media convergence: Status quo, issues and strategies. Journalism Review, 3, 28–35. 6. Nie, L. (2014). Audience analysis and communication strategies as driven by big data in the new-media environment. Journalism Bimonthly, 2, 129–132. 7. Cai, W. (2008). From public journalism to citizen journalism. Journalism Review, 8, 43–46. 8. Zhang, X. (2016). “Micro” formats within the framework of “micro-communication” of documentaries. Media, 24, 50–51. 9. Xiong, B. (2013). A study of the development of China’s television industry in the age of New Media. Doctoral dissertation of Wuhan University. 10. Fu, X. (2009). American news industry and news education reforms amid media convergence. News and Writing, 8, 25–28. 11. Zhou, C. (2016). The exploration and execution of the building of omnimedia-talent teams. Youth Journalist, 12, 9–10. 12. Cui, B., Xu, L., & Ding, M. (2019). Report on the development of China’s communication industry. China: Social Sciences Academic Press. 13. Xie, X., & Huang, Y. (2018). The status quo of and issues concerning the building of converged media at county level in China. Chinese Journalist, 10, 53–56. 14. Zhang, W., & Xu, S. (2015). Bottlenecks and paths of development of China’s radio and television industries against the background of media convergence. China Broadcasts, 3, 29–32.


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15. Lu, J. (2017). Thoughts on the in-depth convergence of conventional media. Publishing Research, 5, 57–59. 16. Li, J. (2019). On the theoretical ideas for content recreation of media convergence. People’s Tribune—Frontiers, 7, 72–77. 17. Hu, Y. (2017). Rectifying the name of media technological determinism: Additional perspectives from the history of communication ideologies. Modern Communication, 1, 51–56. 18. Ju, J. (2019). Media convergence from a technological perspective. Journalism Review, 3, 52–55. 19. Xu, Y. (2006). Interaction, integration and convergence—The three levels of media convergence. Chinese Journal of Journalism & Communication, 7, 32–36. 20. Peng, L. (2015). Social media: The profound influencer of media convergence. Jianghuai Tribune, 1, 152–156, 165. 21. Liu, Q. (2014). Accelerating the converged development of conventional and emerging media.

Chapter 3

Cases of Reforms of Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence

3.1 Cases of Media Convergence of Foreign Radio and Television 3.1.1 Media Convergence of the BBC The U.K. was among the first Western countries to introduce media convergence. Back in 2009, the British government proposed the strategy of “Digital Britain”. The strategy has become the guiding principle for British media convergence, and its goal is to turn the U.K. into a global digital capital with the championing of media infrastructure renewal and the adoption of emerging digital technology. Guided by the Digital Britain strategy, the BBC introduced comprehensive reforms of its communication content and organisational structure. Firstly, in terms of the overall guiding policy for the reforms, the BBC prioritised the enhancement of its credibility. Prior to that, the British academia explored the goals of media convergence, and Jonathan Baker, head of the BBC College of Journalism, stated that a highly credible media body was hugely significant to the audience, and the public needed to be informed of what was important and what were simply pastimes. Media therefore had the responsibility of becoming the trusted guide of the audience and the public [1]. This is reflected in the attitude of the BBC in response to the trend of media convergence, which saw the staff opening different communication channels and building different communication platforms trying their best to maintain and even enhance the credibility of the BBC. Secondly, in terms of content production, the BBC actively arouses audience enthusiasm and creates a production model with wide user participation. In 2005, the BBC began building a UGC centre, which is responsible for the effective processing of news information provided by the audience via different channels before forwarding it to the BBC’s content-production and broadcasting departments. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the BBC has taken an early step in the convergence of media content. To date, the daily work of the BBC has formed a relatively © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd 2020 P. Duan, Media Convergence and the Development Strategies of Radio and Television in China,



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complete report process and management model with audience participation. UGC refers to media users producing and releasing personally produced media content using emerging network technology and communication channels, including videos, images and articles. Meanwhile, the term user is frequently used to refer to the user of emerging media. During the process of media convergence, users play an extremely critical role. Sharing is a keyword in the BBC’s transformation. To encourage information sharing between users and the media, the BBC actively advocates the building and the technological research and development of new-media communication platforms, in addition to prompting users to create blogs and microblogs and extensively adopting original content created by the audience and readers. Guided by the ideal of sharing, the BBC has built a database of active users. As soon as a news event takes place, the BBC will be able to quickly contact the applicable active users in the database, or use the Have Your Say platform on its official website to actively obtain news content from users. Helped by these means, the BBC’s users are able to take part in the production and communication of its news content. Meanwhile, the first-hand information they provide, such as site videos and pictures, greatly enriched the BBC’s news coverage. In 2006, the BBC launched BBC Vision, which integrated the videoproduction departments of television, networks and mobile terminals, so its video products may adapt to the requirements of different media platforms, from frontend planning to medium-end production and back-end release. In 2007, BBC News was restructured, and radio-, web- and television-news departments were integrated into two new departments, namely the multimedia newsroom and the multimedia programmes departments. Furthermore, the BBC vigorously developed new-media platforms such as the on-demand platform, mobile clients and website videos. The series of reforms ensured the news menus and content production of BBC radio, television and web platforms are consistent, in addition to promoting the sharing of resources such as information, personnel and interviewees among the platforms [2]. Furthermore, the BBC also drastically reshuffled its organisational structure. Under the original channel-based organisational structure, information communication among departments was poor and work efficiency low. The reshuffled organisational structure removed the boundaries among departments and fully integrated internal resources, giving rise to a gigantic trans-media omnimedia news centre. The media boundaries were broken, and organisations were reorganised into three trans-media programmes-production departments based on content topics, namely news, videos and audio files and music. The Future Media and Technology department was also created, which coordinates technologically trans-media programmes production of the three departments and satisfies the release requirements of different terminals, including radio, television, networks, smartphones and interactive television [3]. Today, the BBC has built a relatively mature information-gathering and distribution model, which centrally collects information, distributes original information where needed, edits in a differentiated manner and communicates and distributes information of finished products via channels. The process is centrally overlooked by the BBC’s multimedia newsroom, which tremendously enhanced informationcommunication and -use efficiency. More importantly, the move has significantly enhanced the level of media convergence of this well-established media.

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In recent years, the BBC began to focus on the continuous expansion of information-release and -sharing channels of users, such as the installation of a dedicated feedback portal in its iPlayer and the creation of UGC channels. The communication and interaction with users help it strengthen the connection and increase user stickiness and participation. In 2015, BBC and Facebook co-launched the “Instant Articles” service, which, in the event of unexpected incidents, allows the BBC to instantly communicate the information and interact with the audience using the social network. The move effectively increased the BBC users’ sense of participation in news coverage. Once again, the BBC has actively and extensively explored the convergence of communication channels. During the first decade of the new millennium, the BBC had a bumpy ride in its transformation and was unable to effectively organise its communication resources, which resulted in comparatively inefficient content production and organisational operations. Against such background, having learnt from its previous experience, the BBC put forward a transformation strategy dubbed the “1-10-4” multi-platform convergence at the beginning of 2011. Simply put, the 1 stands for one platform, meaning all the communication content and services of the BBC belong to the core brand that is the BBC. That is why every platform must collaborate to create quality programmes that satisfy the brand positioning of the BBC, so the characteristics of the BBC brand may strike a deep chord in the hearts of the people. The 10 signifies the ten key products, namely News, Sport, Weather, CBBC, CBeebies, K&L, TV, Radio, Home and Search, and all the information content of the BBC’s websites must serve these ten core products. The 4 refers to the four screens: computer, television, tablet and mobile phone. In the environment of media convergence, cross-screen and multi-screen content communication have become the norm. The BBC has a quick and thorough grasp of the trend and strives to create media content that is suitable for the features of the four screens, so as to ensure the products may be well presented on all screens. The “1-10-4” development plan adapts to the megatrend of media convergence and satisfies its evolutionary logic, and with its help the BBC effectively boosted its credibility, production and operations, which powerfully protected and increased the BBC’s influence in the international communication field. Take London 2012 for example, the audience survey at the time showed as much as 80% of the young audience had a higher opinion of the BBC, believing in its quality and that it was trendy. Before the BBC introduced the series of media convergence, it had always been known among the young audience as “conservative and formal”.

3.1.2 Media Convergence of CNN The foundation of in summer 1995 marked the first step of the convergence of the CNN station and network and became a major income source for CNN. According to Nielsen’s survey, has on average about 38.2 million visitors monthly. To date, CNN continues to introduce media convergence in areas such as


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news-production processes and communications, which gradually turns into a multidimensional communication network that combines three points, namely online interaction, television-network broadcasting and offline services [4]. CNN has achieved remarkable results in the building of new-media channels, especially after Jeff Zucker became president of CNN Worldwide in 2013; it has drastically adjusted its development strategies, and adopted the “mobile first, digital first” development strategy for media convergence [5]. Guided by this strategy, CNN mainly made the following attempts at reforming. Firstly, the convergence of organisational structures. Currently, CNN is transforming radically in two directions: the transformation of television reporters into omnimedia reporters, and that of a television news institution into an omnimedia news institution. Following this train of thought, CNN’s digital news-production department may primarily be divided into three, namely the newsgathering department, news-editing departing and digital-product department. The newsgathering department chiefly plans the features of television news; the news-editing department share a certain features similar to a conventional television-editing department but focuses more on digitisation, and strong emphasis is placed on the communication characteristics of new-media terminals; and the digital-product department mainly comprises product managers of different mobile products, programmers of websites and mobile terminals and other engineers in charge of digital technology. Such organisational structure is highly beneficial for the execution of the concept of “digital first”, in addition to making CNN’s digital content production extremely efficient. Secondly, the focus on mobile communication channels. CCTV’s U.S. correspondent Du Yubin learned from his interview with CNN staff that “60% of CNN’s newmedia traffic comes from mobile platforms such as mobile web pages and clients” [5]. Faced with such pivotal clientele, CNN stresses to its staff that news production must take into consideration how the content is presented on mobile terminals, along with the characteristics of target users and their social interaction. Furthermore, CNN places particular emphasis on enhancing the social features of products on mobile channels. CNN revamped its iReport in November 2015 and began collaboration with different social media. Users may publish content with #CNNiReport, which may appear on iReport once screened by CNN [6]. The feature connects CNN mobile application with social media, and draws users of social media to the iReport app. When users click on iReport, the web page will show an invitation from CNN that invites users to share with CNN and even the world their stories. Once logged in, users may upload information such as pictures. Meanwhile, CNN may collect user content through a pre-set topic. For example, for the total lunar eclipse on 8 October 2014, the topic of CNN’s iReport column was Blood Moon, which called for users’ total lunar-eclipse photos. Through the delegation of the privilege of media’s content production and the opening of the content-collection system, the editing department allows ordinary users to take part in media production and become its content producers or the “grass-root reporters”.

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Once again, CNN reformed its digital production. Against the background of media convergence, CNN vigorously reformed the originally independently operated network department and removed the barrier standing between it and the news content-production department, so the two may collaborate efficiently and converge. The specific reform process saw the replacement of staff of the network department by an internally recruited team of news workers who are more interested in network communication. The reform dramatically improved CNN’s content-planning and -production efficiency. Today, CNN has also developed a mature “central kitchenstyle” information-collection and -distribution system. Guided by the principle of “digital first”, the reporters divide the captured content into “roughly edited”, “finely edited” and “extra materials”, which are then directly sent to the Atlantic headquarters, where the individual functional teams of the “central kitchen” performs its respective tasks, such as text and image processing and audience interaction. The works are subsequently centrally organised by the executive producer before being released on different channels. In addition, CNN has built a CNN Share team, which is in charge of creating an early-warning system for important news and the collection and editing of the content, which is released on websites, mobile phones and television [8]. Every time an unexpected news event takes place, staff from the newsgathering department will quickly send the information to every team. Apart from the news-editing department, CNN has set up the position of cross-platform editor during its transition. The position coordinates news planning, collection and release, and is usually occupied by a new-media editor with media-convergence thinking. During the transition of conventional radio and television reporters to omnimedia reporters, the cross-platform editors deserved all the credit. Lastly, the focus on the expansion of foreign media markets. As the domestic market grows increasingly weaker, CNN’s foreign operations are thriving, contributing more and more to CNN’s profits. The focus on foreign markets has become a pivotal strategic direction of CNN’s transformation [4]. Currently, in addition to having its own gathering and editing and production teams across the globe, CNN owns systematic information-supply systems and has extended its reach to many developing countries. Furthermore, it seizes the market of international news agencies through the acquisition of resources at low costs, and owns powerful information databases and extensive information-source channels.

3.1.3 Media Convergence of NHK NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai in Hepburn romanisation) of Japan is the merge of three major radio stations in 1926, namely Tokyo Broadcasting Station, Osaka Broadcasting Station and Nagoya Broadcasting Station. It is Japan’s first national radiostation body. The uniqueness of NHK’s media-convergence strategies may also serve as reference, especially the TV Everywhere strategy of NHK World TV, which allows


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users to watch television programmes via the Internet and mobile clients in addition to conventional television. It is regarded as an effective strategy of conventional television media in response to the impact of new media in the age of media convergence. Firstly, the strategy allows diverse means of information communication and reception, which included two measures: diverse means of communication and reception. Programmes are broadcast via cable television, Internet-Protocol television (IPTV) and the Internet, and users may receive information via terminals such as computers, smartphones and tablets. Meanwhile, NHK World TV also began collaborating with global networks in 2009, and users may also watch television programmes on NHK Global Media Services. The collaboration added to the broadcast channels of NHK World TV and dramatically boosted its audience number. In the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, NHK Global Media Services became the window for people around the globe on the damage of the disaster. Finally, the development of mobile clients is one of the key strategies of TV Everywhere. Since NHK World TV introduced the slogan “Closer to you, anywhere, anytime!” in 2010, its app is now available on mobile terminals such as iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Technological innovation also occupies a key position in NHK’s mediaconvergence strategies. For instance, the 8K televisions that NHK is currently researching aim to offer the audience an immersive experience and a sense of presence. Prior to that, NHK has already installed televisions that may watch 8K programmes in its sub-branches across Japan as well as at some public-viewing points in Tokyo and Osaka for the public. NHK plans to popularise 8K television programmes when Tokyo 2020 takes place. Furthermore, the NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories is researching and developing 3D televisions, known as the “next stage of 8K”, which it plans to launch around 2030. NHK also announces that its research direction has gone from the conventional 3D to the presentation of 3D without having to wear the glasses [2]. In addition, NHK will continue to promote its independently developed infrastructure system, the Hybridcast technology, so as to achieve around-the-clock services and keep enriching the content. It will closely combine Internet-based content with digital television broadcast to make all kinds of television services a reality. In terms of the development of a communication-effect evaluation system, NHK has introduced the “total reach” technology for monitoring and evaluation, and the results will be used to continuously improve omnimedia services [7]. It may thus be seen that NHK places particular emphasis on the integration of technological power into different stages of communication. It has also specifically tapped into the research of media technology, which shows NHK has fully understood the critical role that new technology plays in the launch of media convergence. It is worth mentioning that the Japanese television industry attaches great importance to the convergence with social networks, which primarily refers to the use of social networks to effectively send, share and spread information content related to television and promote programmes, in addition to using audience feedback from social networks to conduct index-based explorations of programmes. In 2012, the industry integrated data communication with Facebook and introduced the Join TV

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service. Television and social networks were converged through Join TV, and with the help of the second screen of smartphones, the audience may take part in activities on television programmes with their friends, such as the handing out of gifts. The audience may also take part in the sending, sharing and spreading of information content related to the television. For the television industry, the integration of the feedback from social-network audience brings sponsors unexpected business opportunities, while providing the basis for improvement in the index-based explorations of television programmes. It is thus evident, the media convergence of the Japanese television industry as represented by NHK with social networks centres on the innovation of the means of information communication and reception. Meanwhile, since 2012, the Japanese television industry began empirical research on audience participation and satisfaction. This shows the importance attached to audience analysis and social networks may be a breakthrough point in the transition of conventional media, and the “provision of better, faster and stronger user experience” is a goal it strives for.

3.2 Cases of Reforms of Radio and Television in China 3.2.1 Media Convergence of New-Media Newsroom of China Global Television Network (CGTN) CGTN, formerly known as CCTV-9 and CCTV News, is one of the first English channels of CCTV. In summer 2013, CGTN founded a new editing department: a global multimedia studio, which pioneers the exploration in the age of media convergence. Supported by the news gathering and editing capacity of CCTV, CGTN combines different communication channels of many new-media platforms from home and abroad, and begins to play an increasingly critical role in the international competition between CCTV and other major general media. CGTN’s media convergence takes place chiefly in the following aspects: Firstly, the setting up of an organisational body. Parallel to its new-media newsediting department are the news, social-network and app teams. The news team is largely responsible for the release of news content on Twitter and Weibo; the socialnetwork team takes charge of the release of original news on Facebook and public WeChat accounts; and the app team is chiefly in charge of updating and managing client content. In terms of the arrangements of office space, CGTN has built an office area similar to that of the Tampa News Center. Apart from individual departments, most staff from the editing department work in a shared open space on the same floor. The open space does not have a distinct departmental division, and only has workstations for different task teams. The television screens next to the workstations show rolling news broadcast to help editors understand any of the events currently taking place.


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Secondly, the practice of convergence in news production. The editing department has adopted a flattened work approach to the production process, whereby editors may independently select their topics. Each morning the managing editor of the editing department gathers the morning-shift editors from the social-network and the app teams for a pre-editing meeting, at which the main selected topics of the day are coordinated and confirmed. Generally due to the large amount of work, members from different teams are responsible for their own tasks, and inter-team collaboration is comparatively infrequent. However, when it comes to major news events or topic selection, the editing department will temporarily assign a managing editor as a project manager, and staff from different teams will be gathered to form a temporary team, which will be disbanded after the event or topic selection. Once again, the proper maintenance of relationships with the audience. In the age of media convergence. Social media and big data have facilitated the communication between the media and the audience. For CGTN, on the one hand, editors from the editing department may promptly grasp the situations of users on different media platforms, such as their reading habits and comments, and engage in online interactions. On the other hand, the editing department has set up dedicated positions to collect the daily backstage data from each team, and writes up weekly analysis reports on each team. The department uses data to understand the audience and market trends, so it may effectively guide the teams to execute the next task, such as closely following and analysing the newly emerged outstanding self-media and later collaborating with them in related coverage.

3.2.2 Media Convergence of Shanghai Media Group (SMG) In spring 2014, Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group (SMEG), Radio and Television Shanghai and Shanghai Media Group merged and restructured to become SMG. The newly founded SMG revamped its operations during the age of conventional media and introduced multi-dimensional and -level media-convergence reforms, making it one of the reform examples of media convergence in China. SMG’s media convergence in recent years primarily comprised the following forms: First is the convergence of organisational structures. SMG’s institutional reform in February 2014 insisted on the core thinking of “resource integration and institutional reforms”. Specific measures included merging the “big SMG”, SMEG, with the “small SMG”, Shanghai Media Group, to form the state-owned Shanghai Culture, Radio, Film and Television Group Co., Ltd., which along with Radio and Television Shanghai were known as SMG, or the new SMG. The new SMG contains resources acquired through the internally adjusted small SMG and the integrated big SMG, which cover many key business categories, including news, business, new media, data service, entertainment and cultural-industry investment [8]. Quality resources were combined and internal resources thoroughly integrated to break free from the original sectorial design. The business forms were restructured to achieve industrial transition and key breakthroughs and form new core sections [9]. Furthermore, the

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three companies that were originally in charge of radio, film and television, television stations and other media were merged into one, and their management conflated [10]. Not only did the reforms effectively improve the operational efficiency of the media, they also put an end to segmentation and optimised media resource allocation. Once again, BestTV, a listed subsidiary Internet company of SMG, bought out Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group Co., Ltd. The integration of the two media companies provided financing channels for SMG’s comprehensive convergence and quickly turned BestTV into a media company with near 100 billion yuan’s worth of market value. Finally, the group has insisted on the “de-administration” of its systems and mechanisms to build a flat and parallel structure. Moreover, it has created a big coordinated and centralised platform by focusing on content production and setting up dedicated teams, independent producers and coordination departments around it. Second is the convergence of channels. Six channels, including Dragon Television, Art Media and Channel Young, integrated and restructured to become SMG Centre, while Radio News Centre and China Business Network integrated and restructured to become SMG Radio. Channels that previously were similar in content and style were reduced in number but expanded in size through convergence and reforms, which streamlined programme quantity and improved quality. The user resources that were until then scattered were integrated, thus helping enhance resource-use rate. Third is the creation of Knews, In June 2016, the SMG convergence media centre was founded, and Knews, the convergence-media news product of the centre, was launched. Focusing on news and featuring videos and live streams, Knews is a combined transition from “+ Internet” to “Internet +” and from “being inseparable” to “being the same”. It will cover the three channels of conventional and new media, as it connects the previously independent three communication channels and integrate Dragon Television, streaming television and Knews mobile clients. The reform has given full play to the quality-content edge of conventional media while exploiting the advantages of new media’s rapid and extensive communication; it is a major result of SMG’s media convergence.

3.2.3 Media Convergence of Hunan Broadcasting System (HBS) HBS has achieved remarkable results in its media convergence, which may be attributed to its unique internal logic. Unlike SMG, which focused on systems and mechanisms, HBS began with content innovation, development, operations and marketing [9]. Above all else, in terms of content innovation, self-producing quality content and building a distinctive brand are the goals of HBS. In 2014, HBS promoted “Mango TV self-production” to a strategic position, and all the self-produced programmes are branded with “intellectual production of Malanshan” in an attempt to create a unique style. Meanwhile, Mango TV insists on three fundamental points for the


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self-production strategy: youth-, boutique- and Internet-oriented. It regards youth as its target audience, and aims to satisfy the personalised demands of the younger consumers. Moreover, in terms of content development, HBS’s new-media transition strategy is worth mentioning. It is adapt at taking advantage of its content-resource advantage to expand diverse profit channels, while the emergence of business models such as the Internet and mobile Internet also provides opportunities for different means to generate profit. HBS’s diverse business channels for its content may primarily be divided into two major modules, namely Internet and mobile-Internet terminals. Its Internet terminals have also developed network videos, online retailing, online gaming and a SNS friend-making platform, while the mobile-Internet terminals have expanded towards mobile gaming, mobile value-added services, mobile clients, China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting and mobile animations [11]. In terms of television, HBS follows closely the trend of media convergence and has turned its official website into China’s first network-entertainment and -life platform, on which television, computers and mobile terminals are converged. The many services offered by the website are popular among the users, including information reading, community interaction, online-video watching and online-gaming experience. Lastly, in terms of content operations and marketing, HBS innovatively developed an outsourcing form. Keeping control of the advantageous key segments of its business, HBS outsources segments such as payment and technology that require longterm construction resources to other media companies. Through the adoption of the “joint operations” strategy, HBS uses resources effectively and enhances their operational efficiency. Regarding its content-marketing strategy, HBS employs a market model of diverse coexistence. After the end of the promotional period of Mango TV, HBS began focusing on optimising its control of omnimedia copyrights. It perfects its content distribution through strategies such as transplant, value derivative and selfproduced programmes to maximise profits [12]. Firstly, it transplants advantageous programme resources of Hunan Television to Mango TV. The ability of original brand resources to draw the audience has successfully diverted the value among different media and preliminarily achieved the interconnection of television and networks. Secondly, the execution of the value-derivative strategy saw the repeated development of the same quality intellectual property, which created differentiated content and won user loyalty to the platform. Lastly, Mango TV has insisted on thoroughly executing the self-production strategy, and has invested 1 billion yuan in self-produced programmes in 2014 alone, with the objective of creating variety shows most suitable for networks, as it shows quality content on both television and networks.

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3.2.4 Media Convergence of Shenzhen Media Group Shenzhen Media Group began exploring the paths for thorough media convergence in 2016, and has been committed to building an ecological system of converged-media industries with scientifically sound top-level planning, so as to achieve the integrated development of content, channels, platforms, operations and management. In terms of content products, Shenzhen Media Group has adopted a differentiationand feature-based path. It analyses its own resources and market to uncover its edge, which it then combines with a differentiated survival space. Meanwhile, it consolidates its positioning in content development and rounds up its limited resources to set itself apart from competitors in specific markets, so as to create a complete content-ecological chain with distinctive characters [13]. In the new-media environment, Shenzhen Satellite TV focuses on young-urban characteristics to capture young audiences. In response to the major trend of “mass innovation and entrepreneurship”, it has in recent years launched related programmes, events and unique New Year’s Eve addresses, including venture-capital programmes such as Dream, Dragon’s Den, Win in China, Investors and TheMakers. In addition, political and military affairs have become feature-content products of Shenzhen Satellite TV, including Greater China Live, Military Situation, Hot Spot Debate and Key Insights. Shenzhen Media Group has gained a stronger comparative advantage in international and military news features [14]. Building upon its content, the group rapidly expands related industry chains, converges new and old content channels and builds a centrally coordinated new-media matrix. It begins promoting content operations such as copyrights, advertising and the development of derivative business, which form a new favourable and sustainable content-operation ecological pattern [13]. As the production environment of the Internet is comparatively relaxed, certain quality network-based variety shows have in recent years begun the process of reverse output to television stations. Located in the strategic town of the Internet industry of China, Shenzhen Media Group places great emphasis on the expansion of the sources of programme content, and has attempted to connect to network resources on many occasions to enhance the level of interest in its television. For instance, Shenzhen Satellite TV once aired iQIYI’s variety show Oh My Singing God, which enjoyed a high audience rating. It also showed the intellectual programme Time’s Friends of Luo Zhenyu on New Year’s Eve. The differentiation strategy has helped Shenzhen Satellite TV become a fresh breeze amid the onslaught of New Year’s Eve concerts of major satellite-television stations [15]. In terms of the development of new-media platforms, Shenzhen Media Group focuses on the launch of its converged-media app Yishenzhen, in which it has set up a special radio page. Yishenzhen prioritises user thinking in its operations and, based on technological means such as big-data analysis and user profiling, the programme content produced by the group is accurately distributed to individuals. Furthermore, to enhance the influence of programme content, the group collaborates with Tencent’s Penguin FM to create Penguin Shenzhen. While the group creates professional and


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refined programme content, Penguin FM is in charge of the analysis of user data and product marketing, thus optimising the respective edge resources [16]. With regard to industry operations, Shenzhen Media Group has primarily adopted the following measures: first is the creation of a station and network alliance, which thoroughly combines television content and network e-commerce and achieves station-network connection with extensive station-network collaboration. Second is the introduction of e-commerce elements into television content, which combines the professional, refined production of television content with the Internet-marketing model of television. Meanwhile, efforts are made to create a complementary model of “television content + network e-commerce” that converges television and new media, so positive interactions between content production and broadcasting and product promotion may take place [14]. Gifts for Foodie is one such classic example of television bringing visitor traffic to e-commerce. In addition, Shenzhen Satellite TV collaborates extensively with Alibaba to hold super press conferences for products, as it attempts to connect the traffic chain between television audience and e-commerce consumers through its television content and plan famous televisionmarketing events. It also collaborates with Alibaba to hold super press conferences, hoping to create super-platforms for product launch.

References 1. Baker, J., & Xin, X. (2012). Professional news education against the background of media convergence—Interview with Jonathan Baker, head of the BBC college of journalism. Chinese Journal of Journalism & Communication, 11, 12–126. 2. Ma, J. (2018). Thoughts on the convergence of stations and networks of international mainstream media—A look at media convergence based on the examples of CBS, the BBC and NHK. TV Research, 8, 94–96. 3. Yu, G. (2014). On the Internet thinking of western television—Observations and thoughts based on the omnimedia transformation of CNN and the BBC. TV Research, 12, 35–38. 4. Chen, Y. (2013). Be omnipresent—Case analysis of CNN’s transformation. Chinese Journalist, 11, 122–123. 5. Du, Y. (2016). The new-media transformation of CNN. Southern China Television Journal, 4, 23–26. 6. Huang, M. (2016). British and American media-convergence practice. News and Writing, 11, 35–38. 7. Wei, R. (2016). NHK’s broadcasting strategies for Rio 2016. Youth Journalist, 25, 84–85. 8. Yan, S., & Liu, F. (2015). Exploration of the causes and directions of intensified reforms to separate the production and broadcasting of Shanghai media group. TV Research, 11, 34–36. 9. Yi, Q. (2015). “Three in one”: The ways towards the convergence of television media. China Television, 8, 45–49. 10. Jiao, Y., Zhao, Y., & Tan, Y. (2016). A study on the convergence of SMG against the background of a new round of reform and integration. Voice & Screen World, 7, 6–9. 11. Dong, Q. (2011). Breaking through with content—A study on the new-media strategies of hunan broadcasting system against the background of triple play. News Research, 8, 15–17. 12. Wang, H. (2017). Creating a “mango ecological circle”—A transformation path for hunan broadcasting system under the structure of “one body, two wings”. TV Research, 7, 11–14. 13. Yuan, K. (2018). Thoughts on the creation of new mainstream media by Shenzhen media group. Media, 1, 39–40.



14. Zhang, C. (2017). Convergence and transformation strategies of provincial satellite television in the new-media environment—On the innovation and development of Shenzhen satellite TV against the background of new media. China Television, 8, 109–112. 15. Chen, H. (2018). Exploration and practice of media convergence of Shenzhen media group. Radio & TV Journal, 8. 16. Li, X. (2018). Creating new “radio+” media formats—development and outlook of Shenzhen media group. Radio & TV Journal, 8.

Chapter 4

Communication Strategies of Radio and Television Against the Background of Media Convergence

4.1 The Evolution of China’s Media System 4.1.1 Initial Choice: Party-Controlled Media Following the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, a system of a newspaper industry centred around party newspapers was established, the core of which is partycontrolled media or party principles. In other words, as public institutions, news media were primarily responsible for the publicity of the party and served as its mouthpieces. Meanwhile, the system of centrally managed revenue and expenditure, fiscal subsidies, government-supported subscription and post-office publication was introduced. Such core ideology initially came from the mouthpiece theory of Marx and Engels concerning proletarian newspapers and periodicals. Engels detailed the party attributes of proletarian newspapers and periodicals: What are the tasks of party papers? First is the organisation of the discussion, argument, clarification and defence of party requirements, and the refutation and overturning of delusions and inferences about the party. In The Swiss Press, which was published in 1849, Engels stated: “[I]n large countries a newspaper takes the lead from its party and never undertakes anything against the interests of the party.” Marx further summarised the function of proletarian newspapers and periodicals as a mouthpiece, and put forward the corresponding “mouthpiece theory”. In his speech at the First Trial of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (New Rhenish Newspaper) in spring 1849, Marx remarked: “[The press] is by profession the public watchdog, the tireless denouncer of those in power, the omnipresent eye, the omnipresent mouthpiece of the people’s spirit that jealously guards its freedom.” The theory was put forward once again in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. Politisch-ökonomische Revue (New Rhenish Newspaper: Politico-Economic Review): The greatest advantage of the press is its ability to intervene in movements and become their mouthpiece. It is able to reflect the overall current situation, and allows people and daily papers to engage in a continuous and dynamic connection. © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd 2020 P. Duan, Media Convergence and the Development Strategies of Radio and Television in China,



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The basic principles of proletarian press are laid down upon the birth of a proletarian party. The party controls the media, which in turn must be loyal to and serve the party and is a critical component of proletarian causes. Compared to journalism, proletarian press is more interested in publicity. China’s proletarian press was profoundly influenced by the Soviet press following its inception, with Lenin specified policy guidelines for the press in the Soviet Union. In Party Organisation and Party Literature, Lenin first proposed the party principles of the media. In the article published in Russia’s Novaya Zhizn (New Life) in November 1905, Lenin expounded on the function of a party paper and the norms to which party-paper staff should conform: “Literature must become part of the common cause of the proletariat, ‘a cog and a screw’ of one single great SocialDemocratic mechanism set in motion by the entire politically-conscious vanguard of the entire working class. Literature must become a component of organised, planned and integrated Social-Democratic Party work.” At the 1st National Congress of the Communist Party of China, some basic ideas for party papers were already being discussed. The first resolution carried at the congress in 1921 stated: “The Central Executive Committee shall oversee magazines, daily newspapers, books and pamphlets,” and “no central or local publication may publish articles that violate the principles, policies and decisions.” It emphasised the leadership of the party over publications and the basic principles that publications must observe. Throughout the many subsequent historical periods, management systems and guiding policies for news and publicity continued to emerge. The party principles took shape during the news reform in liberated areas in 1942, as is seen in the revised Jiefang Daily, and the most significant guiding principles of China’s press were thus established. Party-controlled media first arose from how newspapers were run and the media concepts of the Chinese Communist Party during the Yan’an Period, and may be defined as a “management model focusing on the administrative management” of the media by the party [1]. Ye concluded that the Decisions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Strengthening the Ruling Capacity of the Party from September 2004 specified the upholding of the principles of party-controlled media. In other words, party-controlled media is the basic principle of how party guides news and sways public opinion [2]. After going through related research and literature, and taking into account the continuously developing media environment and reality, the author theorises that party-controlled media may be defined as follows: Party-controlled media is the basic principle of how the Chinese party guides news and sways public opinion. It manages and regulates media bodies, including party papers and marketised media, based on progressive guiding ideologies, and holds the initiative in public opinion to ensure these bodies serve the people and socialism [3]. President Xi stated: “The work of the party concerning news and public opinion shall uphold the party principles, the most fundamental of which is to persevere in the party’s leadership over new and public opinion.” He then added: “The party’s undertakings in news and public opinion shall be competently performed, as they concern the setting of a good model and future directions; the thorough execution

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of the party’s principles, directions and guiding principles; the smooth advancement of party and national causes; the cohesiveness and solidarity of the party, the national and the people; and the future of the party and the nation.” Nowadays, new media has gradually replaced certain features of conventional media, and the work of party-controlled media has become more complicated amid the new trend of media convergence. Nevertheless, the principles of party-controlled media remain the basic norms that guide media communication in China. On such premise, the extensive application of the principles of party-controlled media needs to be based on the overall development environment of China, that is, the time background, social structure and the changes in media forms. In the context of media convergence, gradually transform the initial monotonous management to increased focus on news planning during the actual process of the guidance of public opinion. Emphasis needs to be placed on public acceptance while respecting the development patterns of news. Meanwhile, the timeliness and initiative of information must also be stressed, and public opinion guided via the objective patterns of communication. Due attention needs to be paid to the relationships between reporters and governments while properly guiding and monitoring public opinion with the help of the media [4].

4.1.2 First Reform: Public Institutions and Management In 1978, according to the petition submitted by eight state newspapers and periodicals to China’s Ministry of Finance demanding the introduction of “business management of public institutions”, the media tentatively launched a two-dimensional management system. The self-management rights of the media were consequently granted, allowing different forms of operations. Meanwhile, human-resource and salary systems were flexibly adjusted to encourage extensive innovation and adaptation to the development of the market economy. Since then, China’s press media has begun industrialised operations, as newspaper industry embarked on the industrialised development of self-management and -development and being responsible for its own profits and losses over time. Eight media including People’s Daily piloted the new management means that year, and the Ministry of Finance reiterated in writing and promoted the “business management of public institutions” among press media the following April. Meanwhile, commercial advertising began to return. China’s press media has also begun breaking free from the marginal system and has introduced institutional reforms following the economic reform. The businessmanagement system of the media has shaken off the chronic issues dating back to the period of planned economy and begun searching for new development. The initial simple attributes of public institutions have begun to change, and the commercial attributes of the media were permitted. The reform was distinctly reflected in the returning advertising operations. Overall, the publicity elements of press media began to weaken while the journalism elements gained force. News was no longer a tool for political publicity and began focusing on discovering refreshing facts to reflect social changes. The


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information-communication features of press media such as newspapers and television were fully exploited, and people were obtaining key information from press media, as they adapted to the rapidly changing social reality following the Chinese economic reform. Guangzhou Daily Newspaper Group, China’s first newspaper group, was founded at the beginning of 1996. The National Press and Publication Administration stated in its official response to the foundation that “following the establishment of a socialist market economy, competition among newspapers has become increasingly fierce. Under such circumstances, the timely foundation of a socialist, modernised newspaper group that is guided by the party paper may propel the transition of the Chinese newspaper industry from being scale- and quantity-oriented towards high quality and efficiency. Furthermore, the change from being extensive to intensive will promote the prosperity and development of China’s newspaper industry, which is why it is of highly critical and realistic significance. The creation of a socialist, modernised newspaper group is a major leap in the development of China’s newspaper industry, and a trend-leading milestone in such reforms, as it enters the new century.” A year after its foundation, the group’s revenue was listed among the top ten state-owned assets of Guangzhou. By 1999, the group owned ten newspapers and one magazine. Today, its business scope has expanded from media to advertising, printing, chain operations, food and beverage, real estate and finance, thus achieving crossindustry and -media operations. “The development of a standard model of newspaper groups follows the requirements for modernised business systems, whereby capital [5] from businesses subordinate to newspaper agencies is allocated to the foundation of holding companies that are independent of the papers. They will become listed state-holding public companies that comprise mostly of state assets through the attraction of social capital.” On 9 June 1999, Wuxi Radio and Television Group became the first industrialised radio and television group, marking the prelude to China’s radio and television industrialisation reforms. In June 2003, China’s National Radio and Television Administration decided and reported to the Publicity Department of the Communist Party the selection of seven units with a sound reform foundation from the radio and television system as experiment units for cultural-system reforms. Among the seven selected units, the provincial-capital urban group model of Nanjing, the bureau-station model of Xiamen and the existing radio and television model of Shenzhen were representatives of local radio and television. Wuxi Radio and Television Group subsequently also become an experiment unit. It is thus evident that local radio and television occupied a key position in the industrialised reforms of the radio and television industries, in addition to playing a unique role. The two-dimensional operating model of news media on the one hand guaranteed the function of the media as a mouthpiece and the thorough execution of party principles, while on the other hand alleviated the country of the burden as it adapted to the development of the market economy, which killed two birds with one stone. The objective of the foundation of pubic institutions is for the media to perform public service, whereby it serves the public interests and provides public service along side governments.

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However, such government-led reform approach has brought many complications. The operating model of the business management of news media as public institutions lacked sufficient theoretical support, as the public-service and economic attributes clashed. Meanwhile, the underdeveloped property rights of state-owned media also posed challenges to the model.

4.1.3 Second Reform: Separation of Gathering and Editing and Operations The drawbacks that came with the business management of public institutions required urgent reform, and the unclear attributes of news workers have led to the growing phenomenon of corruption in the news industry. To prevent corruption while stepping up the business management of media groups and enhancing economic efficiency, the country promulgated laws and regulations demanding the separation of gathering and editing and operations. The Interim Measures for Paid Services and Business Operations of Newspaper Agencies promulgated by the National Press and Publication Administration and the State Administration for Industry & Commerce in 1988 clearly stipulated the maintenance of a proper relationship between duties (news and publishing) and business operations, whereby business departments should be responsible for business activities, while gathering and editing personnel should not take part in business activities. The Circular on Prohibiting Paid News to Strengthen the Professional Ethics of News Teams released by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party and the National Press and Publication Administration in 1993 stated: “News coverage and business operations shall be strictly separated. Reporters and editors may not participate in advertising business and benefit from it.” Article X of the Rules Prohibiting Paid News as promulgated by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party and four other departments in 1997 stated: “News coverage and business operations shall be strictly separated. Business activities such as advertising shall be performed by dedicated personnel at news units, and no tasks may be assigned to the gathering and editing departments to generate business revenue. Furthermore, reporters and editors may not engage in advertising and other business activities.” In October 1994, Jinhua Daily, an organ of the CPC Jinhua Municipal Committee of Zhejiang Province, took the lead in separating its gathering and editing department from business departments such as advertising and publication. It has achieved success with the new business mechanism, which consequently gave birth to other new forms of business mechanisms. In 2005, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party, National Radio and Television Administration and National Press and Publication Administration released the (Proposed) Rules for Managing Personnel Engaged in News Gathering and Editing, and reiterated the strict enforcement of the separation of news coverage


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and business activities. The rules stipulated that no personnel might solicit advertising as a reporter, editor, proofreader, producer, host or announcer or exchange news coverage for advertising. No advertising content might be disguised and aired as news, and no news coverage might be manipulated to generate profit. No expenses or remuneration might be solicited from the interviewees for the interviewers or their relatives, departments and units. Furthermore, no personal gain might be sought or advertising or sponsorship solicited by coercing the interviewees with negative exposure. The former National Press and Publication Administration also had departmental regulations stipulating the separation of the two departments. For example, Article XL of the Rules for the Management of Newspaper Publication stipulated that “news gathering and editing and business operations shall be strictly separated. News gathering and editing departments and their staff may not engage in business activities such as publication and advertising, while business departments and their stay may not intervene in news gathering and editing”. The Measures for the Management of Reporter Licences stipulated that news reporters might not engage in paid services or activities as an intermediary or work part-time or obtain remuneration, nor might they take advantage of news gathering and interviews to undertake business activities such as advertising, publication and sponsorship. They also might not start or hold shares in advertising companies. The Measures for the Management of NewspaperReporter Stations stipulated that newspaper-reporter stations might not participate in activities unrelated news gathering and interviews or publish news in the name of the stations. Furthermore, they might not engage in publication, advertising, the formation of economic entities and other business activities or use their administrative power to apportion publication. Following the introduction of the business management of public institutions, the gathering and editing and operations of Chinese media remained combined due to its social monopoly, thus allowing it to exploit the public rights for its own gain, among which the most widespread phenomenon was paid news. The boundary between news and advertising was purposely blurred, and news subjects were charged for news publication. Rent seeking was also commonplace in the news industry. New reforms were thus urgently needed to rectify the dishonest practice in the industry, as the separation of gathering and editing is a norm commonly adopted around the world. Following the introduction of the measure, the gathering and editing departments continue to function as public institutions that focus on the public interest, as they gather and edit news. The business departments, however, follow the business-management approach and engage in business activities to acquire economic benefits. The focus of the separation of gathering and editing and operations lies in the resolution and independence of the personnel from the two departments. No staff shall assume two positions, and advertising and news must be strictly separated. Firstly, this ensures that public interests are not encroached by capital, and prevents market forces and businesses from influencing news gathering and editing. The key functions of China’s news media are the promotion of the core value system of

4.1 The Evolution of China’s Media System


socialism and the correct guidance of public opinion. Its top priority is to protect social benefits, and then economic benefits. Secondly, the integrity of personnel involved in news gathering and editing is ensured, and the public rights protected. All news-media workers have been bestowed greater right to speak than ordinary individuals. If they intervene in the business activities of the media, they may use the coverage power they possess as leverage only, which will betray public interests. A classic example is the corruption case of twenty-first Century Group, in which the entire news group was involved in the business operations and damaged public interests for their own economic interests, with some even went from paid news to news extortion.

4.1.4 Third Reform: Separation of Business and Industry Regarding the strengthening of the administrative system, the report of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China formally proposed the vigorous promotion of the category reform of public institutions. Meanwhile, at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, a key task for propelling the institutional innovation of cultural systems was the principle of separating government functions from enterprise management and public institutions. The transition from a government-run culture to a government-managed culture should be strongly encouraged, while the relationship between government departments and the public cultural institutions to which they belong needed to be cleared up. The institutional reform of media systems aims to develop the industry, but must also take into consideration government, public and media interests. It is an extremely complex system and project, and must closely follow the reform assumption of separating public institutions from enterprises as proposed by the cultural-system reform, so as to drive the all-round reform of media public institutions. The goal of the cultural-system reform as promoted by the government was clear: to create cultural enterprises and business groups with distinct property rights, an independent status as main market bodies and stronger self-innovation and marketcompetition capacity through the separation of the two departments. This was reflected in many related documents released by the government. The cultural-system reform involved the core aspect of the property-rights system. “Changes to the content of property rights depends on the relationship between an ex ante estimate of the profits by a dominant group that changes to the current property-rights arrangements will generate and an ex ante or even ex post estimate of the costs that arise from changes to the supervision and enforcement of the rights structure” [6]. The transformation into enterprises was proposed against the general background of the cultural-system reform, and thoroughly follows the objective of the reform. It was hoped that through the reform, media such as the newspaper industry would achieve rapid industrialisation and go international, gaining the right to speak among international competition. During the second reform, China’s news media adopted the measure that separated gathering and editing from operations to prevent rent seeking,


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so one operated as a public institution while another as a business unit. Such mixture responded precisely to the realistic social demand of the time. However, following social changes and development, the approach is no longer compatible with modern business management. The property-rights issues of news media were thus exposed and became an obstacle in the reform of state-owned enterprises. Meanwhile, a sound corporate-governance structure could not be established to implement modern business management, leaving the reform clearly defective. Firstly, the rights to gather and edit and operate may not be completely separated. If a business department breaks away entirely from the gathering and editing department, then it is no different from other marketing companies in the market. Not only will it not be able to carry out targeted marketing for its business products and lacks core competitiveness, it will also weaken the impetus to innovate. Furthermore, it may easily obscure power and responsibility, resulting in the business and gathering and editing departments being totally unable to take charge of the progress of market operations. Secondly, the two-dimensional operations of the media in themselves lack the support of theoretical foundations. Public institutions and business units are essentially contradictory: one exists for public interests while another for economic returns and cannot in essence be unified. The conflict and the inability to coordinate are inevitable results that require the introduction of new reforms. The collectivisation of China’s media industry underwent two peaks: the formation of predominantly newspaper groups from 1998 to 1999, and the expedited formation of radio and television groups and the end of the creation of newspaper groups from 2001 to 2002. Previously, capital operations took place under the system of the business management of public institutions. Given such relationship pattern, “businessbased” simply meant management and operations in accordance with the related aspects of businesses, and no modern business systems were established. Under such circumstances, capital operations did not unleash the vigour in the development of the newspaper industry, but actually imposed many restrictions. The transformation into enterprises did not only require media to change their original nature as public institutions, but also the development of modern business systems to solve key issues related to the development of the newspaper industry. The new and complete transformation model proved effective and established the true and dominant market position of media enterprises. It solved the problem of the “two systems” from an institutional perspective and clearly set itself apart from “partial separation”. From a national perspective, the confirmation of the dominant status of corporations would effectively promote the convergence of media and other related industries, encouraging cross-media, -region and -industry operations. The national categorisation and hierarchical management of the media would also benefit from the optimised allocation of quality resources and the active creation of media groups based on market selection, along with the achievement of the prosperous development of a greater media structure [7].

4.1 The Evolution of China’s Media System


4.1.5 Fourth Reform: Media Convergence Following decades of media reforms, China has now developed an all-round communication structure that is built upon conventional media and comprises emerging media. The advent of networks shattered the monotonous communication model of conventional media and removed the boundaries among media, which began to mingle, while information-production forms, means and equipment all began to change and media convergence also emerged. Global media was undergoing dramatic changes, and a media-extinction event was widely discussed. Such drastic changes will continue. In 1993, China kept abreast of the global trend of informatisation. In April 1997, the State Council convened a National Informatisation Work Meeting in Shenzhen, at which the “General National Informatisation Plan” was carried. The plan proposed the basic structure for China’s information infrastructure was “one platform, three networks”, that is, one interconnected platform and telecommunications, radio and television and computer networks. It was the first time that China proposed the concept of three networks. The same year, in his article in China Computerworld, professor Zhou Qiren from the China Center for Economic Research of Peking University systematically explained the concept of “welcoming a new age in which computer, television and telephone converge”. This was the earliest exposition of “triple play” in China as well as an embryonic form of China’s media convergence. China has always been very clear about its development direction of triple play. In March 2001, the Fourth Session of the 9th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China ratified the Outline of the People’s Republic of China for the 10th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development. The outline put forward the development strategies of propelling industrialisation via informatisation, achieving transcendental development in social productivity by giving full play to the latecomer advantage and promoting the combination of the information industry with related cultural industries. Furthermore, it demanded the vigorous development of high-speed broadband information networks, with the focused construction of broadband-access networks, in order to encourage the convergence of telecommunications, radio and television and computer networks. In 2006, the 11th Five-Year Plan further suggested the building of information infrastructure, such as “strengthening broadband-communication networks, digital-television networks and nextgeneration Internet and promoting triple play”. In 2008, Document No. 1 of the General Office of the State Council stipulated that telecommunications and radio and television might partially participate in one another’s business, and encouraged radio and television bodies to take advantage of information networks such as the national public communications network and radio and television networks to provide digital-television and value-added telecommunications services. It also supported state-owned capital such as state-owned telecommunications enterprises to take part in the development of access networks for digital television and the digital renovation of television receivers, provided the applicable national financing policies were satisfied.


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Media convergence has profoundly changed the ecological environment of mass media, which is specifically manifested in the following aspects: firstly, the emergence of converged terminals has changed user habits that were formed while accessing conventional media and how conventional media generated profit. Secondly, multimedia information products have changed how news is produced. Production models such as UGC and “converged news” continuously challenge people’s common perception. Guided by the market, media convergence has prompted conventional media to recreate the internal organisational processes and restructure its organisation. Although the issue concerning profit division still exists, the participation of radio and television, telecommunications and the Internet in one another’s core business has become a prevailing trend. The boundaries among the three major industries are disappearing and gradually showing a trend of integration. Mobile phones have become the most-used mobile terminals, and media convergence has become a major trend worldwide, as the world experiments through the development of different media forms and content for different terminals. From media policies to the improved media industries and business, media convergence is a key direction of development in the new situation. On the one hand, conventional media is converging and creating new means of information production, while on the other hand emerging media is changing how people receive information. Driven by both technology and market, media convergence in radio and television fields will manifest in different aspects, prompting the transition of conventional radio and television media towards omnimedia. The central-kitchen model coverage of China’s two sessions in recent years has struck a deep chord in the hearts of the people. Previously, as conventional media, newspapers, radio and television were unable to separate the information they transmitted from the carriers themselves. Their media formats featured the carriers and the channels. However, as media convergence progresses, new network media emerges and is able to separate information from the media and create distinctive content. Such media form weakens the existence of conventional media and put an end to the situation in which each was doing its own things, as the interactivity and efficiency of the Internet were introduced to the media field. During such development trend, omnimedia is a key direction of media convergence.

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence Media convergence is an inevitable transition that conventional media must undergo in the new development trend. Conventional media continues to experiment and explore in areas such as ideologies, as it hopes to find a truly suitable path of development with the help of the features of new media such as low threshold and strong interactivity, so as to make up for its deficiencies. Previous research showed the transition of China’s conventional media was primarily reflected in the extensive

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


integration in areas such as ideologies, content, platform, operations and management. That is why the strategic analysis of how China’s conventional media may transform against the background of media convergence will be based on these five aspects.

4.2.1 Change of Ideologies: Openness and Interaction Some backward ideas and biased perception still exist regarding media convergence in the actual operations of conventional media. Due to the higher social status it previously enjoyed, conventional media has little enthusiasm in the changes brought about by media convergence and may even resist it. On the other hand, the management of conventional media still possess some backward ideas and biased perception of media convergence. As a result, against the background of media convergence, to promote the transition and development of conventional media requires an understanding of the reality and shaking off ideological shackles, in order to form media ideologies that are adapted to the times [8]. That is why the promotion of the transition and development of conventional media against the background of media convergence first requires ideological changes, so new ideas that are adapted to the combination of new and conventional media may be formed. In the age of media convergence, the means of the production and communication of social information have undergone tremendous changes due to media convergence, and the interactivity between the audience and the media has also increased significantly. Furthermore, earlier ideologies and operating models will be put under stringent tests. That is why conventional mainstream media bodies must quickly transform their ideologies and development approaches and increase their use of emerging media, so as to adapt to the new media forms sooner and better exploit media convergence for own development. The ideological changes of conventional media may primarily take place in the following two ways: I. Boost ideological openness and explore diverse means of media convergence During the media convergence of conventional mainstream media, a more open stance should be adopted to carry out the different activities of media convergence. A correct understanding of the content of convergence should be acquired instead of resisting it because of the fierce competition that new media brings with it. Conventional media may make up for its deficiencies by learning from the strong points of new media, so it may better adapt to social development and changes. Media convergence will dramatically change the ecology of conventional mainstream media. On the one hand, the existing connection among the production, broadcasting and transmission industries will be restructured, while on the other hand telecommunications and the Internet will actively interfere with every link of the industry chain of conventional mainstream media. Monotonous media convergence can no longer satisfy the diverse audience demands and means of information communication, which is why the thorough convergence of ideologies is a critical step in media convergence. The


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conventional and new media are currently going through a transitional period in their relationship, as they move from coopetition to convergence. Sectionalist thinking dominates instead of that of “returning to the basics” among workers of conventional media, which to a certain extent has led to their passiveness towards technological and market changes at work and in terms of management [9]. As early as 2003, professor Robert Gordon of Northwestern University in the U.S. categorised the five media-convergence activities in the U.S. at the time, which may be combined with cases to help clarify the advantages of different types of convergence: First is the convergence of ownership. Major media companies own different types of media, such as television, radio, newspapers and networks, and have the capacity to encourage mutual information promotion, optimised content allocation and resource sharing among different media. The key links therefore become connected in the pursuit of a common victory and prevent each from doing its own things. Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation owns a radio- and television-news centre, television-media centre and new-media business department. During the production of its television programme Tales from Modern China, the corporation selected outstanding editors and camera crew from its media bodies to take part in filming and production. It also took advantage of its platforms such as Jiangsu Satellite Television, Jiangsu Network Television and Jiangsu News Client to promote and broadcast the programme. The media maximally achieved resource sharing and integration under a unified goal and every platform collaborated to produce the result of 1 + 1 > 2. The previously isolated “point-based” operations are transformed to the structured operations of a large-scale group, so internal resources of conventional mainstream media may be optimised and enjoy the edge provided by the scale. Second is the convergence of strategies, which refers to the sharing of content among media with different ownership. Such as the collaboration between newspaper agencies and television stations belonging to different media groups, including promoting mutual content and sharing news resources, in order to achieve resource upgrade and integration and build a common resource database. Tampa News Center is a classic example widely recognised in the U.S. news circle for its successful experiment in media convergence. This media tower in Tampa is home to different forms of media bodies, including Tampa Tribune, television station WFLA-TV and the website Tampa Bay Online, all of which have independent gathering and editing staff, office areas and business-management mechanisms. However, they share resources for certain information content and regularly exchange clues and news information. They also collaborate in certain coverage areas, such as investigative and in-depth reports. For example, when unexpected news events take place, the unexpected-news command desk in the tower would promptly send the news to all the media, which would jointly devise a coverage plan and have dedicated personnel to command and coordinate the coverage. This greatly reduces the pressure related to the timeliness and extensiveness of the coverage of major news events. Third is the convergence of structures. Media convergence is not about placing all the departments in one office, but rather requires every department to play its corresponding role during the process of the sending and receiving, production and

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


broadcasting of contention information. Full participation to strengthen the coupling mechanism should be the direction towards which that television media bodies strive [10]. Structural convergence that involves reinforced internal and external collaboration and coupling is another viable path. Such convergence approach depends on the means of content gathering and distribution of media bodies. For example, I am a Speaker, a major new original reality show involving language competition, is coproduced by Beijing TV and NengLiang Media. Due to its lack of experience in the research and development, production and distribution of reality shows, Beijing TV decided to engage Beijing NengLiang Media Co., Ltd., a provider offering primarily network-video content services, to produce the programme. Such structural convergence takes advantage of professional teams of other media forms outside the organisation, which provide professional technological services such as creative-content planning and filming and production, and customise video programmes and related services for clients. With the help of the highly popular and influential broadcasting platforms of conventional media, clients’ cultural information and brand content and demands may be more accurately and professionally communicated, thus producing more effective popularisation results and services. Fourth is the convergence of information gathering, which primarily means the gathering of news information for news coverage should also adopt the news skills of converged media, so the ideologies and capacity of conventional media may be taken to the next level. The transition of reporters of monotonous media forms to omnimedia reporters is both necessary and the demand of the digital-news era—not to mention the advantages it entails. First it allows the timeous coverage of unexpected news, and second it provides the coverage with a greater sense of presence, making it more dynamic. It should be realised that the different media forms have placed professional requirements of higher standards for those involved in the industry, but they also offer a greater space for information communication and self-expression. As for the information, omnimedia reporters may “collect once and use many times”, which greatly enhances the efficiency of information use and the diversity of information products. Fifth is the convergence of the means of news expression, which is directed at news workers. The age of media convergence requires omnimedia reporters, who may take advantage of different media to comprehensively and effectively report news. While planning news coverage, workers may fully exploit cross-media such as text, pictures, videos, music and 3D animations to cover the stories based on divergent thinking. They will eventually determine which content would best suit which media based on the narrative model, target audience and media attributes. In addition, in the context of media convergence, interactive and mutual forms of news expression are necessary means for the content communication of conventional media. If conventional media wants to expand its media influence via the Internet, it must fully reflect the feature of interactive participation. However, given the current public-opinion environment and news-and-publicity management systems, conventional media is inevitably full of misgivings and restrained. Some news websites run by conventional media even turn off the comment feature or close the interactive community. Nevertheless, future media transition must further adapt to the circumstances and return to the basics


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with its thinking instead of relying on previous experience. It must also overhaul its stereotypical perception of media features. Many Chinese scholars have expounded and proved the different levels and stages of media convergence. Some argued the different levels of media convergence were reflected in the convergence of business formats focusing primarily on being multimedia-based; the convergence of markets featuring mainly personalisation and diversity with mutual product embedding; and the convergence of carriers featuring the collectiveness of the Internet as the main distribution channel and the separation of different receiving terminals. Other scholars divided media convergence into levels and referred to them as interactive, integration and major-convergence levels. They explained that media convergence at the major-convergence level was the gathering of different media forms on a digital multimedia platform [11]. II. Improve interactive thinking and focus on audience experience Currently, when conventional media executes the strategy of media convergence, it still fails to recognise the prevailing trend of media convergence. It continues to hold onto the erroneous ideas of “waiting, depending and demanding”, “the Internet is just a tool” and “content is more important than channels”. This requires the rethinking of the immense significance that the Internet has on media convergence, and which thinking to adopt when examining the current media environment. In August 2014, President Xi proposed the use of Internet thinking to propel the convergence of conventional and emerging media. In March 2015, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang put forward the use of “Internet +” to encourage the optimisation and upgrade of the traditional industry and mass entrepreneurship and innovation. Professor Hu insists that media convergence is not simply the addition of media, but the formation of a systematic and organic media-ecological system. The process of propelling media convergence and building omnimedia requires a whole-new way of thinking, which is precisely “the Internet thinking” that President Xi has repeatedly emphasised [12]. So how do conventional radio and television media use the Internet thinking to achieve media convergence? Professor Yu summed it up with two keywords: connect and open up. He maintained: “Today’s Internet has become the basic infrastructure of the communication field. It is like the operating system of a computer that stipulates how you operate, determines your value and plans your operating space” [13]. Above all else, “connect” most importantly means connecting the diverse audiences of the Internet, the key of which is to conform to users’ reading habits and truly prioritise user experience with the help of Internet thinking. In other words: focus on improving user experience as guided by user demands. For conventional media, this requires discarding the old ideas of “being aloof, wilful and have no regards for the audience”, while developing the Internet-based ideas of “being user-oriented, showing what is popular and creating interactive participation”. That is how conventional media may truly become one with the users and produce news products that are popular among them, and the function of guiding public opinion may consequently be subtly achieved [14].

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


Meanwhile, “open up” means conventional radio and television media need to let go of the monotonous way of thinking as a result of the original “one-to-all” communication model. The ideas of sharing, equality and openness need to be fostered in the Internet context, in which the relationship between the communicators and the communicatees tends towards equality and the communication model becomes separated and diverse. Internet thinking also emphasises refining user experience and highlighting user friendliness to form a decentralised ideological model.

4.2.2 Confirm Core Competence: Technology, Team and Resources “Core competence” was proposed in The Core Competence of the Corporation by C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel in Harvard Business Review in 1990, which was defined as a set of unique skills and technology that might help companies bring their clients special benefits. In other words, core competence must be the inimitable competitive edge and the core competency that differentiates companies from their competitors, so as to ensure the sustainability of the edge provided by core competence. Among all the elements of competency, core competency is the most fundamental and ensures the entire media body maintains a long and stable competitive advantage and generates steady income. It is generally believed that core competency sets high barriers to entry for competitors, and the more dominant the “intelligentisation” component in the core-competency structure, the more distinct the competitive edge [15]. Previously, without challenges from emerging media, conventional media was rather complacent and felt little urgency towards the transformation of self-development, which resulted in a widespread phenomenon of homogenisation among media. Homogenisation refers to the similarity in the selection criteria for media products: from sources, conception, design to packaging. Homogenised competition will put media innovation in a standstill, and the aesthetic fatigue of the audience will lead to an even severer fall in advertising and loss of talent and audience. The media will no longer be able to perform its due functions and role, while its influence and authority will disappear, eventually leading to a vicious circle. Furthermore, the media will not be able to distinguish itself among the audiences or foreground its core competency in the new environment of media convergence. How to re-establish core competency against the background of media convergence has therefore become a prerequisite for conventional media. Core competency is a combination of certain key resources or abilities essentially based on knowledge and innovation. It is a dynamic balance system that allows conventional mainstream media to maintain a realistic or potential competitive advantage within a certain period. For contemporary media bodies, core competency exists in aspects such as technology, team building, resource integration, brand positioning and media products.


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In terms of technology, conventional radio and television media must fully exploit the new technology in media convergence, such as big data, VR and AR, to provide technological platforms for the reification of programme content. Technological development has also provided brand-new news forms of converged media, and allround, personalised and multi-platform converged news has become a foreseeable trend. Mobile Internet based on cloud computing, mobile Internet and portable terminals has freed news gathering and editing and reception from temporal and spatial restrictions. The advent of GPS, AR and VR not only reflects a trend of converging virtual space and reality, but also makes novel news forms such as on-the-scene news a reality. Meanwhile, 5G technology will provide a historic opportunity for the indepth development of media convergence, thanks to its high speed, low latency and large capacity. The refreshing technologies require the media industry to grasp them fully, and the extensive use of new-media technology will become the breakthrough points for the convergence and innovation of mainstream media. The application of emerging media technology to the production and communication of quality content along with the combination of channel expansion and content advantages will be the key directions for the enhancement of the media’s core competency. Conventional radio and television media should extensively exploit new-media technology to create diverse business means. For example, the development strategy of 5G + 4K + AI proposed by China Media Group following its foundation sets sight on forward-looking technologies such as the 5G technology, 4K/8K resolution and the application of AI. It rapidly builds smart audiovisual platforms that are adapted to future technological development, where the business of conventional and new media is also extensively converged, as they seize mobile-terminal broadcasting positions. Furthermore, they provide powerful platform support for the building of a national converged-media centre, especially with the proposal of the focused development of the short-video industry, which will become a breakthrough point for mainstream media to move into the Internet space [16]. In terms of team building, take the army behind Hunan Television, whose creativity is its core competency and the internal drive for the production of a steady stream of high audience-rating programmes with good reputation. The dream team behind Hunan Television continues to innovate programme content and truly prioritise content on the premise of having defined its own brand positioning. Currently, in terms of personnel-management model, Hunan Television is introducing teamfocused and project-based management while reducing the administrative hierarchy. As the persons in charge of the projects, team product managers are fully responsible for programme planning, recording, promotion and the development of derivative intellectual-property products. Within the parallel structure, 26 entertainment teams and five news teams have been formed, among which are teams with fixed tasks. For instance, Lu Xin’s team for the programme Happy Camp and Shen Xin’s team for Tian Tian Xiang Shang have formed their own programme models and team styles after tens of hundreds of episodes. Being organised and efficient with a consistent style are their advantages, which help shape the brands. The existence of project-based teams with no fixed production goals is a rather distinctive character of programme production of Hunan Television. Take for example the annual New

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


Year’s Eve galas, the galas on the night before the lunar New Year’s Eve and the Lantern Festival celebrations, which all adopt the approach of being “led by a team and supported by personnel from other teams for a temporary project team”. This allows better optimisation of human resources and achieves the best communication results, as each team completes the production tasks assigned based on its respective strengths. It is like a military tactical unit that is highly mobilised. In terms of resource integration, take WarnerMedia for example, when the Internet first emerged at the end of the twentieth century, the conglomerate had the foresight and seized the enormous potential of a large number of Internet-based digital media with sizeable investment in the Internet Industry. However, following its failure in the building of a Pathfinder network centre and its collaboration with AOL, WarnerMedia eventually abandoned the strategic deployment of general expansion and focused its resources on the conventional business with a core advantage that is video content. It also discovered the accurate positioning for its development: a world-leading video-content company. With its industry-leading scale and quality brand as the core competency and the innovation of scientific technology and business models, the company managed to add value to its content and boosted business growth. Resource integration does not simply mean the organic connection, allocation and deployment of resources, but also the in-depth excavation and re-use within the resources, such as fully tapping into the internal value of media-platform, -content and -audience resources. As for platform resources, with the support of the core competency, conventional media should integrate more media resources through the convergence of media such as new media and mobile clients, so as to form a scale advantage in resources. Hunan Television and Phoenix Television have launched different forms of converged products, including Mango TV, who? now! and Building up the dual advantages of the Internet and the existing extensive audience base of their conventional media, Hunan Broadcasting System and Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings Limited are actively working on connecting the content communication on station and network platforms. Meanwhile, the effective management of own content resources is also quite important. To adapt to the age of a fragmented reading habit and viral communication on social media, many of Phoenix Television’s information programmes have been compressed to 3- to 5minute clips on, and are immensely popular among the audience aged between 20 and 40. The website also actively integrates audience resources and includes them in the content-production system, so as to diversify producers and content resources. Furthermore, the audience has become the real content producer, and a large amount of the content they uploaded onto has also been adopted by Phoenix Television. Such incisive and high-quality content not only makes sure the content is communicated via different media, but is also turning the targeted young and forward-thinking audience into a loyal mainstream audience as they receive highquality content that better suits them. Lastly, with conventional media with strong marketisation and professional capacities as the main body, it may also be viable to vigorously integrate similar media resources from different categories and industries. New media groups with a larger scale and greater strength may thus be formed [14] and the media-resource system revitalised to achieve the effective use of resources.


4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television …

Professor Yu of Renmin University of China defined the “New Barrel Theory” in the development of media bodies against the background of media convergence as: “Media bodies should combine their strengths with those of others for added collaborative strength during convergence—and core business is their strength. Only by finding their core competency and consolidating their core business during the early stage of development may they further collaborate with others for co-development in new fields.” The consolidation and maintenance of the core competency of conventional mainstream media not only help secure its market position in the conventional fields, but also expand its influence and business scope, thus adding value to the capital. The value, scarcity, irreplaceability and inimitability of core competency will help mainstream media escape the development predicaments against the general background of media convergence.

4.2.3 Focus on Content Production: Differentiated Innovation Media convergence is an inevitable development trend for conventional mainstream media, and during this process it is important to know that content is the major competency of conventional mainstream media. The core competency of conventional media may only be effectively strengthened through the continuous improvement of programme content and the emphasis on programme quality. After media convergence, broadcasting platforms will be hugely expanded, and demand for content products will grow dramatically, putting a spotlight on the content industry. The production operations of television drama, animations and television programmes in particular will develop by leaps and bounds. As the industry matures, the value of the content must become visible. That is why conventional radio and television media need to satisfy the increasingly diversifying and multi-layered and -facet needs of the media market through the provision of rich and colourful programme content. Although the ability of conventional media, whose core competency comprises news and content, to generate profit is weakening drastically against the background of media convergence, the comparatively stronger credibility it has as the mainstream media is still able to support and empower information. The building of an omnimedia centre should first ensure the gathering and editing and production of high-quality and valuable news content. The timeous and effective communication of the latest information and news may be achieved through new technologies and applications such as AI, big data and VR, in order to create a media cluster with an outstanding communication capacity, credibility and influence. In terms of the expansion of content diversity, priority should continue be given to the content to create more refined content products. Content ecology should be developed to produce valuable programmes and content that may exert relatively significant influence on the audience. A positive, interactive relationship between media-content development and

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


media profit models should be promoted to encourage the sustainable development of the media. The concept of “content is the king” first emerged in 1990, when Summer Redstone, the then chairman of Viacom in the U.S., positioned the company as the most important content provider globally and remarked that regardless of the broadcasters, only the best content would be shown. The foundation of the media industry must be and might only be content, which was everything. In his article Accelerating the Converged Development of Conventional and Emerging Media, Liu Qibao, head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, stated that content would always be the root of news media and the key that determined its survival and development. The media economy is the economy of influence as well as the attention economy, and content is precisely the key to attracting the attention resources [17]. Following the advent of different new media forms, the age of information-source monopoly by the media has become a thing of the past. Advantages such as channels and technology are now dominated by new media, and if conventional media wants to join the downstream industry chain and engage in direct and fierce competition with new media, it is likely to end up losing it all. From a macro and long-term perspective, conventional media should continue to hold its ground and uphold the concept of “content is the king”. It needs to further expand the breadth and depth of its information with the help of the professional media learning of its personnel with sound credibility, which is established among the public over an extensive period of time, so as to attract the audience through high quality and credibility content. The continuous content innovation is how the vitality of conventional media may be sustained. A look at media powers such as Europe, the U.S. and Japan reveals that the creation of any excellent in-depth coverage or television programmes must have undergone extensive reflection, stringent research and repeated verification. In contrast, the hurried and impetuous greater social environment of China that is the result of the soaring economy has left China’s media workers with no time to ponder and reflect. The blind imitation and reproduction have led to a serious phenomenon of homogenisation in terms of the production of conventional content in China. Furthermore, the media experience such as real-time and participatory multimedia interaction in the omnimedia age has begun to threaten the monopoly of conventional media, and once again drawn away the audience of conventional media. One cannot help but begin to wonder whether the hard-squeezed conventional media still has the innovation space and needs to turn the tables in content production. The greater background of media convergence may have posed serious challenges to the concept of “content is the king”, but it has also presented conventional media with opportunities. Firstly, the limited gathering and editing rights that new media has over news coverage make it highly dependent on conventional media for content. Secondly, the development of new media has prompted the continuous expansion of information-communication channels, leading to a situation in which the demand for content will exceed supply. To date, China’s National Radio and Television Administration has approved 598 Internet-based audiovisual programme-service bodies, which means the demand for content will also grow. That is why conventional media


4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television …

should seize the opportunities and actively search for breakthrough points to develop, integrate and communicate quality content resources. In the environment of media convergence, the audience has more choices of media content and the demands for products have also become more diverse. Differentiated and precise content production is thus a critical step in winning a place in the media market. For example, the core competency of Phoenix Television lies in its confidence to adopt an innovative differentiated positioning and its long-term commitment to provide programme content that others do not have or pay little attention to [18], such as the exclusive content offered by Watch Phoenix for Major Events, the packaging of “famous programme + famous host”, the style of Eastern programmes with Western forms of expression and the audience positioning of “three highs and one low” (high intellectual level, high consumption power, high professional position and low age level). Phoenix Television has accurately grasped its market positioning to provide differentiated media products and audience services, which have consequently helped it winning a place in the competition. In addition, in the age of media convergence, radio and television media must foreground their own and associated advantages and strengthen the credibility of their information content as they converge with new media. Currently, the information available is innumerable and complicated, and it is difficult to distinguish the genuine from the fake. Radio and television must develop sharp acumen and discard what is false and keep what is genuine, as they collect, organise, interpret and analyse information, so they may tell it as it is. They need to stand on a moral high point and have a distinct social stance and ideological viewpoints, as they uncover the social reality behind the news, promote the central theme and consciously resist the tendency to entertain or being risqué. They should also give full play to the social functions of conventional media, so as to enhance the credibility and influence of media content [19]. Xiong Chengyu, the director of the Center for New Media Communication Studies at Tsinghua University, maintained: “Regardless of how media changes its form, if users are willingly paying for cultural products, it must be because the content is worth it and satisfies three conditions: originality, differentiation and irreplaceability.” With new media continues to encroach the market of conventional media, some well-established conventional-media groups such as Hunan Television and Phoenix Television dare not slow down in their occupation and development of the new-media market. Liu Shuang, the vice president of Phoenix Television and chief executive officer of Phoenix New Media, revealed in an interview the coping strategies for conventional media against the background of media convergence: “Driven by commercial interests, nowadays media products stress more and more about technology and features, but the nature and character of media are weakening and lack individuality” [20]. Only by maintaining its own style and individuality in the differentiated competition with its exclusive core competency can the media possess adequate market adhesiveness and attract young, Internet-loving audiences. Regarding this aspect, the media-convergence strategies of Hunan Television are examples that may be followed. They connected the content resources of the television and network platforms and thoroughly uncovered the uniqueness of the content, which turn into the young and dynamic brand characteristics over time. Firstly,

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


supported by the powerful intellectual-property content edge of Hunan Television, the Internet content platform Mango TV monopolised the resources of the most popular variety shows and those for the exclusive airing of trending weekly shows in China, which allows it to quickly gain a foothold among online video platforms. In 2015, all of Hunan Television’s independently produced programmes were exclusively aired on Mango TV, including long-running programmes such as Happy Camp and Tian Tian Xiang Shang, quarterly programmes such as Run for Time and I am a Singer, innovative programmes such as Come Sing with Me and Laugh out Loud, Golden Eagle exclusive shows such as Les Interprètes and Chinese Hero Zhao Zilong and Diamond exclusive shows Chinese Paladin 5 and Ice Fantasy. Meanwhile, Mango TV wanted more than simply being an online video platform, so it developed a multiscreen industry comprising mobile clients, streaming television and Hunan IPTV. It is working on connecting users on different platforms, so as to truly achieve the cross-screen convergence of stations and networks. Mango TV will gradually transform from being a broadcaster to being a producer, and all the independent content of Hunan Television will be co-produced by Hunan Television and Mango TV to secure the cross-screen convergence of stations and networks. In addition, thoroughly uncover content value and timeously adjust the innovation strategies of the content are the strong points of Hunan Television in content production. After going through a sluggish period after the Super Girl show, Hunan Television snatched back its position as a leading provincial television after a series of adjustment of its content-innovation strategies in 2013. The announcement to cap the number of entertainment programmes naturally has significantly impacted Hunan Television, which has its roots in entertainment programmes. In the search to strike a balance between adapting to the market and abiding by the policy, Tian Tian Xiang Shang is a successful case of the combination of entertainment elements with social education. The communication of knowledge and etiquette by the programme satisfies the demand of the audience for cultural inheritance, while the presence of celebrities meets the need of social referencing. The humorous hosts Everyday Brothers also add to the fun and appeal of the programmes. The consistently high audience rating of the programme confirms that not only does the addition of other needs-based positioning, such as public welfare and culture, expand the audience group, but the dual functions of variety shows also has market potential and may be the breakthrough point for the expansion of content-innovation space. Currently, Tian Tian Xiang Shang may provide the audience with content products that are authoritative, professional and diverse with depth, but self-produced network programmes have innate defects due to manpower, material and financial shortages, and are unable to catch up to the leading position of conventional media. In May 2014, HBS announced that self-produced programmes of Hunan Television with absolute intellectual property would be aired exclusively on Mango TV, and the copyrights for the Internet versions would no longer be retailed to other online video platforms. With the help of “remarketing” on Mango TV, Tian Tian Xiang Shang has successfully attracted young audiences. As its number of views and influence soar, advertising and sponsorship come thick and fast, brining it liberal income.


4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television …

Although conventional media should develop Internet thinking in the age of media convergence, such as raising the awareness of interaction and being audience oriented, the basic business approach of “content is the king” of conventional media is equally appropriate in this period. The greatest advantages of conventional mainstream media are its authority and rigour related to the depth, width and height of the content, so content is the starting point and destination of media communication.

4.2.4 Respond to the Audience Demand for Diversity: Expand the Long-Tail Market The swift development of new-generation technologies such as AI, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) has blurred the boundaries among the media and between “media” and “non-media”, and the age of pan-mediatisation is arriving, in which everyone and everything may be the media. In a pan-mediatisation environment, the right to communication has shifted downwards, turning everyone into a communicator. The previous communication structure has undergone a drastic change of direction, as the audience demands for the content products and communication channels of the media become more diverse. As media content and communication channels expand along with growing competition, the positioning of different media products must be clearer and the understanding of audience demands more thorough. Kevin Kelly, an American futurist, formulated the 1,000 True Fans concept, which is an extension of the longtail theory, and asserted: Creators, such as artists, musicians, actors, animators and writers—in other words anyone who creates artworks—only need 1,000 true fans to make a living. This signifies that even the least popular media content has audience demand, and a subdivided, niche and personalised long-tail market also has enormous development value. Meanwhile, due to media convergence, the formation of a differentiated media market provides just the conditions for the development of a long-tail market in the media fields. Product differentiation refers to the media developing peculiarities that distinguish itself from other media, so the audience may tell it apart from other media and it may in turn seize a favourable position amid the media competition. In his book Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, Michael Porter, the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School, put forward the three strategies commonly adopted by businesses in competition, namely cost leadership, differentiation and focus, with differentiation being the most frequently adopted competitive strategy. For the media, the competitive strategy of differentiation may be executed in many ways, including the differentiated marketing of the content, differentiated positioning of the channel image, differentiated packaging of the brand image and differentiated marketing means, which may all become its peculiarities. When media resources were scarce, media products were public objects and the audience accepted unconditionally and uncritically all the content

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


provided by the media. As society develops and science and technology advance, the publicness of media products weakens as the private attributes become more distinct, and the birth of digital television and personal channels will further intensify the competition among personalised content. The extent of product differentiation provided by the media will immediately determine whether it is able to gain a place in the market. Products with greater differentiation will enjoy absolute monopoly over the competitors and products and set up barriers for other media entering the field, thus winning the media the competitive edge. The law of diminishing marginal utility in economics refers to, given that other conditions remain unchanged, if a certain input factor continuously increases in increments, once it reaches a certain output value, then the increment of the provided products will drop. Simply speaking, the input is directly proportional to the output at the beginning: the greater the input, the greater the returns. However, when a certain peak value is reached, the returns will longer increase with the input and might even decrease. The consumption of media products by the audience also follows the law of diminishing marginal utility. For instance, when parent-child reality shows were first introduced to the audience, they offered a whole-new experience and generated greater satisfaction. Nevertheless, as homogenised programmes are reproduced in a viral manner and the audience is more frequently exposed to them, the law of diminishing marginal utility will kick in and satisfaction will drop. The demand for diverse media products will emerge as a consequence, and the provision of differentiated content will become the new subject of the media field. Speaking of media groups that have introduced the differentiation strategy and achieved significant results, Tencent is certainly one of them. Its competitive strategy of differentiation is reflected in the positioning of the business ideology, products, brand, services, business model and talent management. Nevertheless, differentiation should not be created simply for the sake of being different. Before devising the competitive strategy of differentiation, a comprehensive and thorough analysis needs to be conducted on the company’s internal resources, industrial structure, the status quo of industrial competition, target market and audience and competitors. Compared to some conventional portals, Tencent’s pioneered desktop portals, and was the first to take advantage of instant-messaging software QQ and WeChat to send instant news to user desktops. On Tencent’s mini home page, users may access content that interests them and visit from there. In comparison to some famous search engines, focuses more on satisfying the users, particularly the demand of young netizens for fast and easy sharing, which is an early expression of the media for the differentiation strategy. In addition to having all the resources that other search engines may provide, including web pages, images, music, blogs, news and videos,’s unique competency lies in its integration and innovation of Tencent products and services. The audience may communicate with other users and share the resources found on, Tencent Video, QQ Music and Qzone using the instant-messaging software. As a result, the community brings the users together and the content satisfies the users, who in turn make up the community. This is most importantly what sets Tencent apart: the development of the concept of a “one-stop online community life”. As they enjoy the media content, the audience may share


4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television …

information with personalised tags, which allows other individuals in the community to interact with them and reinforce the formation of personalised identities. Abraham Maslow, an American social psychologist, divided the complex human needs into five levels, and different needs would lead to different actions and reactions. Similarly, television audience have different demands for television programmes based on different psychological needs. Although television stations, channels and online video platforms are constantly developing and the existing programme resources are becoming ever more abundant, the audience also has more critical standards and diverse tastes. Against such background, it becomes increasingly evident that the audience has become selective and fickle. The three major broadcasters in South Korea regularly introduce new programmes each April and September, and the programmes of the television market are highly heterogeneous. In terms of content production, the producers create programmes based on the production concept of attracting the audience in an all-round manner, in order to satisfy the differentiated needs of different audiences. tvN, a South Korean cable television channel, produced Grandpas Over Flowers in 2013, in which four veteran actors with an average age of over 70 went on tours. Their age and experience have successfully turned senior audience into potential audience, while the addition of young porters has prevented the loss of young audience. Another example is Invincible Youth by KBS2, a South Korean public-television channel, in 2012, in which seven popular female idols were regulars and visited rural villages in South Korea doing farm work to experience rural living. The theme naturally and successfully captured the attention of rural audiences, who were previously not the mainstream audience. The widespread popularity of South Korean variety shows is precisely due to the mixture of programme types and the diverse programme elements. Audiences with different viewing preferences or senior or rural audiences from all walks of life may find what caters for their tastes among the colourful and diverse programmes, which prevents audience loss due to monotonous elements. Whether in content or forms, South Korean variety shows do not necessarily target mainly young urbanites with a certain cultural foundation, but attempts to cater for the viewing needs of different audiences, so as to truly achieve “being audience-centred” and “leave neither television nor the audiences out”. Today, the barriers among different media forms have been removed, and new technologies such as machine algorithms and AI have made smart, personalised and customised supply of media information a reality. In the future, the media is faced with personalised user interfaces, which abandon the traditional search form that is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Users will subscribe to information that interests them directly from the content classification on their self-defined home pages. Naturally, in the environment of media convergence, contemporary media must learn from historic cases. As it takes advantage of the rapid technological development and satisfies the growing audience demand for differentiated content, it must maintain its initial objective to serve the audience and society, so as to strike a balance between business interests and media responsibility.

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


Take the current television programmes of China’s conventional media for example, when a model is recognised or popular, as long as it is not a complete duplicate, it may achieve commercial success. Furthermore, most television programmes focus on the presentation of a single media feature: entertainment, which leads to a restricted innovation space for television programmes, and the general innovation in forms can hardly satisfy the audience. In addition, the misunderstanding and misuse of entertainment have led to the popularisation of parodies in the television industry in China, the intrusion of private spheres and the disregard for social morals. It has also triggered public concerns over “amusing ourselves to death”. On top of that, the arrival of an omnimedia age, along with multimedia interactions and real-time and participatory media experiments, is threatening the dominant position of television, whose audience is once again diverted. In fact, whether it is Harold Lasswell’s three functions of mass media or Wilbur Schramm’s summary of the social functions of mass media, they all indicate the highly critical social functions that mass media fulfil in modern society. Furthermore, the needs of real audiences are not monotonous: in addition to seeking spiritual consolation in a virtual world, they need to be able to monitor the environment, in order to adapt to the constantly changing external reality, and contact and coordinate with other social members in a social community. The diverse functions of television media will be the breakthrough points for television variety shows to further their differentiated innovation. Finally, the acceptance of the audience demand for differentiation requires the development of smart information matching based on big data and mobile-Internet technology, that is, smart-matching the information with the personalised and customised information of users through data mining and user-need analysis. The media needs to transform from focusing exclusively on the content whereby the “content is the king” to focusing on smart information matching with “information service being the king” [14].

4.2.5 Build Platforms: Convergence, Interaction, Social Contact and Cross-Screen In the environment of media convergence, the expedited development of converged platforms that provide mutual help is paramount to the transformation of conventional media. The White Paper on the Building of Converged-Media Platforms for Television Stations and the Technical White Paper on the Building of ConvergedMedia Platforms for Radio and Television Stations published by the State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China in 2016 clearly stated the critical role that platform building played in the convergence of radio and television. Provincial radio and television groups such as Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, HBS and Hubei Radio and Television Information Network Co., Ltd. even regarded the development of platforms as one of their convergence strategies [21].


4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television …

For conventional mainstream media, the promotion of media convergence requires the proper development of two platforms: first is the enhanced interactivity of convergence platforms for new and old media, and second is the expedited building of socialised new-media platforms. The building of media-convergence platforms creates a communication model in which the “many-to-many”, “one-to-many” and “one-to-one” approaches coexist, and allows mass and individual media to gradually converge in an organic manner. As media convergence becomes more extensive, an omnimedia age is slowly emerging. In an omnimedia age, media products are no longer made up of monotonous elements but rather different elements, including text, sound, images and animations. They are communicated via different terminals, such as radio, television, computers and mobile phones, through different media forms, including radio, television, websites, Weibo and WeChat. That is why the promotion of media convergence needs to focus on the building of digital omnimedia platforms to integrate news resources. Judging from the current development, a centralised brand will be more beneficial for the creation of new media brands for radio and television. Media convergence is not the simplistic break-up of vertical industry chains or the horizontal integration of industry links, but rather the continuous organisation and gathering of resources centring on the information platforms, which will eventually become a dynamic development process during which platforms at all levels are embedded in one another [21]. In an age of information explosion, the audience demand for information is that anyone may obtain any information anytime and anywhere using any terminal. Limited by the communication scope, transmission time and timeliness, conventional media has a relatively low coverage rate. In contrast, due to their medium and equipment of communication, Internet-based and mobile-Internet media has reached about 90% of the world population in a short period of time. Meanwhile, the timeliness of the information of conventional media is seriously jeopardised due to its production cycles and review systems. Thanks to its interaction with the audience, new media allows any network terminal around the world to be an information publisher, and is thus able to obtain and publish first-hand material widely and promptly. It is precisely the interactivity of new media that fully mobilises the active participation and creativity of the audience, which changes the identity of the audience from a passive receiver of information to an active participant in media products. Such are advantages that new media has over conventional media. However, everything has its advantages and disadvantages. In its relentless pursuit of the timeliness of information communication and the diversity of publishing means, new media lacks a certain professionalism and meticulousness. By contrast, conventional media enjoys great credibility and authority over the information products it provides, thanks to its authoritative and official information sources and the rigorous review system. Having official information sources and reviewers thus afford conventional media with greater credibility. On the new-media platforms, however, everyone may freely voice his/her opinions as equals. Such hotchpotch of information content is compounded by the varying media learning of China’s netizens, which cannot guarantee the normal operations of the information market. Conventional and new media

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


must converge their advantages and define the means and goals of the convergence and interaction, so they may provide the audience with high-quality content products that combine their respective advantages, and achieve the best publicity for the convergence and interaction between new and old media in the end. In terms of the convergence of platforms and mutual help, conventional media communicates information by taking advantage of the strength of social media, which is also a way to converge media resources. Previously the information content of conventional media was communicated in a vertical means to bring news information to the audience. Such unilateral communication means had poor audience interaction and could not receive effective feedback. With the advent of social media such as Weibo and WeChat, the development of new media has been accelerated, which gradually changed the relatively fixed temporal and spatial structures of conventional media, and people are able to obtain news information anytime, anywhere through the Internet. On social media, users may generate information on mobile platforms and receive feedback within the shortest amount time, which greatly enhances information access. Meanwhile, the advancement and popularisation of communication technology provide the audience with platforms and channels to participate in news publication. The accessibility of communication tools such as smartphones, digital cameras and video cameras provides audiences with the material support needed to publish news, while Weibo, WeChat and podcasts offer the support in forms. The greatest producers in the age of media convergence are the consumers, who have the rights to access, use and communicate through new media. Everyone may produce content anytime, anywhere, and freely enjoy the boundless information and the convenience brought about by new media. The keywords in the age of Web 3.0 are sharing and large-scale collaboration. In addition to being able to freely share information resources on a platform that transcends time and space, audiences may take part in the Internet economy as described in Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything without being bound by the service models of media bodies. Audiences may provide services to media-production departments using emerging elements of new media and their own wisdom, thus earning returns that correspond to their service. This also provides citizen journalism with unprecedented development conditions. The power of non-professional news communicators may not be overlooked. A large number of exclusive news and news published for the first time all come from news leads on individual interfaces, whose social influence is growing with each passing day. Conventional media consequently feels more strongly the need to provide audiences with platforms on which they may have their voices, so that audience initiative, participation and collaboration may be boosted. The ways conventional individual reporters conduct interview and write news are limited by personal knowledge and background, causing the thinking to be rather monotonous and the view narrow, which lacks advantages such as timeliness and extensiveness when compared to new media. In the age of Web 3.0, however, a large amount of media work allow more ordinary individuals to take part in the production of media content. Every network user may have a voice and a different viewpoint and stance, which greatly expand the perspective of news interviews and writing. The extensive collaboration allows the public to share their news, and articles bearing


4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television …

the names of audiences do not only attract audiences and users and increase their participation and enthusiasm, but also enhance their recognition of and sense of belonging towards the media [22]. In February 2014, version 2.0 of the QR code of CCTV-3 went live, showing that conventional media has begun to pay attention to the idea of bilateral interaction as well as highlighting the development trend of socialisation. Currently, interactions with QR codes on television primarily happen through the use of electronic products, including smartphones, iPads and laptops, which the audience use to scan the codes to access related platforms and engage in live interactions with the programmes. While offering television viewers interactive experiences, QR codes connect big and small screens, users and television and online and offline interactions. The novelty of the interaction greatly attracts audience attention and interests and boosts audience loyalty and rating stickiness. Take CCTV’s variety show Auspicious Start for example, its interactive platform has over 5.7 million users, and television audiences who have watched the show would on average watch it for a total of 26 min. Audiences who take part in the QR code interaction would watch the show up to a total of 55 min, which is two times the average. Based on these figures, with every additional three million viewers who scan the QR code to interact, the rating would increase by 0.1% [23]. Furthermore, active convergence with new media may strengthen the interactivity of conventional media and innovate expression forms. The content of conventional media may effectively increase its communication and interaction with audiences through forms such as Weibo comments, bulletin-board system forums and text messages. In the event of contingencies or emergencies, conventional media may provide audiences with timely and accurate live information through live streaming or live reports via platforms such as the Internet and mobile terminals. Since the convergence of different channels brings audiences high-quality media products, conventional media should continue to step up its convergence with new media, so as to give full play to the latter’s distinct advantage in interactivity and offer audiences timely feedback; it should enhance its content quality by maximally mobilising audience participation. As fixed- and mobile-network software and hardware advance, the number of social-media users also grows drastically worldwide. A growing number of audiences are watching television while commenting on the programmes, sharing their feeling and engaging in interactions through smart mobile terminals such as smartphones and tablets. Social media may distract people as they watch television, but it also plays a positive role in encouraging audience participation in television programmes. Meanwhile, the content advantages of conventional-media platforms are organically integrated with the communication advantages of social-media platforms, thus achieving the effects of mutual help and convergence. Nowadays, more and more online video platforms are working on developing their social features. Their experience may inspire conventional media in successfully interacting with its audiences, but will also provide the quality content of conventional media with better communication results through social media. For instance,

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


the emergence and adoption of bullet screens have inspired the development of the television application who? now!. Bullet-screen platforms are a branch of the online video platforms. Unlike the online video platforms, viewers on bullet-screen platforms may submit their comments while watching the videos, and the comments will appear over the videos. Bullet screens give an illusion of real-time interaction. Audiences may make bulletscreen comments at different time points and in different spaces, but comments that are submitted at the same time basically share a common subject, and give an illusion of commenting simultaneously as other audiences. As conventional platforms for interaction and communication are independent of the media players and allow only e-mails or posts, the non-timeliness and unilateral communication are unable to generate topics of discussion or offer the sense of real-time interaction. Nowadays, the Internet and mobile Internet have become a key part of the life of China’s youth, and the emergence of a large number of homebodies has encouraged the spiral of silence in actual society, making the lively scene of people sitting together and watching television a rarity. Nevertheless, human beings are social animals, and need an outlet to express their opinions and feelings. The advent of bullet screens allows audiences to feel a sense of resonance with others as they watch videos, making communication among homebodies who share common interests a reality. That is why more and more people think “if I am watching a video, it might as well have bullet screens, so online animation platforms with bullet screens would be the best choice”. Some also remark: “Having tried such form of communication, it is hard give it up.” Who? now!, an interactive television-social app developed by HBS, is precisely inspired by bullet screens, and requires only an e-mail address to register. By scanning a QR code, the boundaries between users and television as well as online and offline are removed. HBS launched the app with the intention of complementing its platform content. It hopes to connect the family television screens with individual mobilephone screens, so friends and family have another channel to gather in front of the television while enjoying the time offline in the megatrend of online interaction. The process makes the interaction between television and networks, content and audiences and “big screens” and “small screens” a reality. In addition to the bullet screen, which is the most-used feature, the app provides information on HBS’s latest programmes, and users may add contacts, create a contact list and start chats or group chats. The app also has a gaming feature to enhance user stickiness. Every user may have a who? now! character that may grow and receive awards by completing in the interactive missions of television programmes. The missions are usually announced on the television programmes, so players would have to wait in front of the television for the missions. The incentivising gaming mechanism has successfully ensured that users watch HBS’s programmes. Social media also plays a critical role in promoting television programmes, and may boost their levels of recognition and participation. A U.S. survey from September 2012 revealed that over half of those interviewed responded: If they liked a certain video, they would usually share it with three or more friends. Currently, the development of social media by China’s conventional media primarily focuses on the building


4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television …

of public social platforms on Weibo and WeChat to stay in touch with users. Social media such as Weibo and WeChat may act as free network-marketing platforms for conventional television media, so as to make up for its lack of network influence. The official Weibo account of CCTV-3 is a key portal for the promotion of the channel. It is connected to the programmes of the channel and interacts with them in real time. Meanwhile, it also focuses on central social issues, and works on becoming “a platform for the general release of popular information that focuses on variety shows and entertainment”. To date, it has published over 8,000 feeds on Weibo and has over four million followers. The number of shares and comments on its content is in general above average, while the feeds related to feature programmes and special live events have had over 10,000 shares and comments on many occasions. In addition, topics related to its programmes frequently make it into the top-topic list of Weibo. Unlike the high-end style of its television channel, CCTV-3’s official Weibo account creates an image that caters to the tastes of young audiences while maintaining its role as a channel spokesperson with positive social energy. It adopts a refreshing and witty “online language” and covers trendy events and figures with online popularity, in addition to the use of short and concise feeds and diverse forms such as different pictures, videos, sound and text. Following the rise and popularisation of public WeChat accounts, CCTV-3 also sped up the development of its official WeChat account, which focuses on promoting its feature programmes and consists of three major areas: Entertainment collection, I love entertainment and I want to register. The menu of Entertainment collection shows the official Weibo and WeChat accounts of all the programmes of the channel, and users may simply click on the programmes to receive the latest information. I love entertainment is similar to a portal, where major events of the channel, trailers and entertainment information are promptly sent to users. I want to register is a reward for loyal fans and a platform that connects with users both online and offline. Using the link provided, users may win the chance of watching the show live. Combined with the introduction of the QR code mentioned earlier, the new-media communication structure of CCTV-3 that combines Weibo, WeChat and QR Code in one has basically taken shape.

4.2.6 Improve Media Image and Develop Brand Characteristics During the current process of media convergence, China’s conventional media is plagued by unclear brand positioning, lack of brand cultural content and high brand homogenisation. Some scholars argued that “new media relies on conventional media, and usually draws attention through the repackaging of content and brands”. In terms of brand effect, some new media attract followers with the longestablished brand infence of conventional media, while many conventional-media brands disappear amid names such as “Sina headlines”, “NetEase headlines” and “Toutiao” (today’s headlines). Due to its insufficient influence, short development

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


time and uncertainty and instability, new media has a tough time winning extensive audience recognition and gain brand faith that are necessary to gaining strong brand loyalty. Conventional media should seize this opportunity to fully expand its own product brand value, instead of being used, overshadowed and eliminated by new media. Within the current fiercely competitive media market, it is particularly important for HBS to choose a brand-development path that suits its image. In his keynote speech “The Internet + operation of Mango TV” at the 3rd China Internet Audio & Video Convention in 2015, Lu Huanbin, the director of HBS, used HBS as an example and remarked that “regardless of how difficult it is for conventional-media workers to set foot in new media, they must dive head in, just like learning to swim”. Once the decision was made, between the choice of creating an own platform and relying on the Internet and narrow the positioning to a content provider, HBS chose the latter. It created a new-media brand Mango TV to compete directly with Internet enterprises. In terms of its self-production strategies, Mango TV insists on being young, refined and Internet-based. Firstly, it made it clear that its main audience is the youth, so the focus is on satisfying the personalised needs of the young consumers. Secondly, as the production of the programme content targets precisely the youth, Mango TV is firm about the key themes and actively produces refined original programmes that spread mainstream values, and emphasises the approachability of the content to the Internet generation. Supported by popular and refined content that is well suited for the Internet, the quality original programme content with distinctive characteristics greatly magnifies the brand effect of Mango TV. Many conventional media lack adequate brand recognition. Their programmes types are identical and have little competitive edge against the background of media convergence. Focusing on shaping the brands of conventional media therefore means strengthening the stickiness of existing audiences while attracting more new audiences, so as to create a positive cycle. A mature brand has three features, namely recognition, reputation and loyalty. Once a brand image is established, it needs to constantly enhance the three features to strengthen and consolidate its position. The author will introduce below the media convergence of Dragon Television in the exploration of the brand-building strategies for conventional radio and television media product. I. Clear programme positioning Understand the target audience, including the ages, areas and professional backgrounds, and their demands. To stand out amid the many competitors in a fiercely competitive media market requires understanding own product positioning, and during this process audience characteristics and demands play a highly critical role that is also key to the subsequent work. Meanwhile, the programme positioning should keep pace with the times and adjust and explore constantly according to the current situation, so as to ensure it remains up to date while maintaining the brand influence. Dragon Television was cautious when considering the positioning of its brand image. To avoid a standoff with CCTV and other local channels, and after fully


4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television …

analysing the brand positioning of other channels, it has blazed a trail. Based on the status of Shanghai as a national financial centre, it has given full play to the city’s unique geographical resources and came up with the positioning of being “news based, supported by film and television and complemented by entertainment with sports characteristics”. The name of the station in Chinese, Eastern Television, is an ingenious touch to its branding. Eastern here has two meanings: firstly, it is the direction where the sun rises and also symbolises light and hope. Secondly, China is located in the east of the world and befits the title “the giant of the East”. In addition, Shanghai is situated on the east cost of China, so the ingenious combination of the concepts of east also foretold the success of the station. Meanwhile, the logo of the station also shares the same ingenuity. The choice of a fresh orange as its logo symbolises freshness, vitality and richness, envisaging the freshest information, the most diverse content and the most fashionable and lively topics the station will bring its audiences. All of these become the intangible brand assets and constitute the perception of the audiences of the media image. II. Create brand “spokespersons” Famous brand hosts, critics and popular segments can help media programmes attract viewers and boost ratings, which in turn increase audience stickiness, inspire loyalty and are key factors that enhance the brand influence of media products. Conventional media has in recent years created a large group of popular “stars”, including Ouyang Xiadan, Bai Yansong and Lang Yongchun of CCTV and star critic Cao Lin of China Youth Daily. Their shows and news review have a large following due to their influence, which greatly boosts the audience ratings and readership of the programmes and the newspaper. The all-round personalisation of the language, body language and image of these influential “spokespersons” may create user and audience resonance and promote the recognition and audience ratings of the media products. III. Take advantage of central social issues and unexpected incidents to consolidate the brand effect of programmes For example, the catastrophic torrential rains in Beijing in July 2012 caught many off guard, but the official Weibo account of CCTV-13 took the lead to promptly update and report the number of casualties and the relief efforts. It also inspired people and actively mobilised netizens to join the relief efforts. Meanwhile,, People’s Daily and CCTV-13 collaborated to promptly report the latest information and casualties. During the unexpected catastrophic event, CCTV-13 immediately turned to its official Weibo account, where it provided the public with the latest updates and information related to the relief efforts and casualties. The move set an example for television in the event of contingencies in the new-media age and received the high opinion and recognition of users and audiences. Similarly, at Expo 2010, when the world focused its attention on Shanghai, Dragon Television promptly seized the opportunity. Prior to the opening of the expo, Dragon Television ingeniously snatched a promotional idea: an intense publicity drive for the countdown to the expo, whereby efficient and focused promotion was launched. For instance, it aired the Special Programme for Expo 2010—100 Pavilions on the last 100th Day, which covered the construction of Shanghai Expo Park, the collaboration

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


with sectors and industries in Shanghai and the review of past expos. In addition to popularising expo knowledge, the programme promoted Dragon Television across the country. On 30 April 2010, the opening day of the expo, Dragon Television began its live coverage at 9 in the morning and ended it at 8:10 in the eventing. The programme was divided into: Expo Park Overview, Expo Park is Ready, Shanghai is Ready, China is Ready, Expo Guide and Opening Ceremony Preparations. Dozens of reporters covered the expo in an all-round and high-efficiency and -speed manner. During the live coverage in the next three days, Dragon Television adopted a 24-hour rotating broadcast. Meanwhile, its all-day audience rating topped other stations at one point during the expo. Furthermore, Dragon Television collaborated with new media such as and Oriental Dragon, giving full play to the advantages of newmedia platforms while interacting with audiences via networks and mobile phones. By the afternoon of the closing of the expo, 3.5 million interacted on Tencent’s QQ, while the interactive text platform of Oriental Dragon received over 110,000 text messages. IV. Uphold the cultural content and foster the awareness to communicate the national culture Regardless of how media environments change, party-controlled media is still the fundamental principle in guiding the news and public opinion in the age of converged media. Based on the progressive guiding principles, it will manage and regulate all kinds of media bodies and have in hand the initiative to sway public opinion, so as to ensure the media is guided by the fundamental objective of serving the people and socialism. Media convergence concerns the major topic of modernisation of the national-governance system and capability. In the age of omnimedia, the media is not only responsible for information production and communication, but also plays a critical role in national governance. It may enhance and optimise governance efficiency through the communication of social conditions, public opinions and mainstream views and the unification of party thoughts and public opinions. Radio and television are mass media as well as China’s windows to foreign communication. Unlike general business production, their products are eventually presented to the general public and therefore bear a certain social responsibility. Progressive radio and television programmes reflect “the true, the good and the beautiful” of human social practice and the value and meaning of work, which are top elements and a vantage positioning in the development of the brand culture of radio and television. However, certain television workers in China have lost faith in the national culture and blindly worship superficial content such as foreign cultures and sensory stimuli. They lack both the responsibility and awareness to communicate the national culture, and can only produce seemingly beautiful cultural products that are devoid of Chinese characteristics or the brand awareness of being produced in China. An influential television-programme brand of a country usually has a strong national characteristics and qualities. Take A Bite of China for example, while scoring high audience ratings and gaining good reputation in China, it created an appreciation for China abroad that is diverse and multidimensional. The programme


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ingeniously adopted delicacies that no one can resist as an entry point, from where it vividly showcased China’s culture, customs, living conditions and values by telling the stories behind them, and has successfully spread them across the world. The core value of the programme Where Are We Going, Dad? is the opportunity for fathers and children to grow and develop together in nature. The children usually started off being dependent on their parents before learning to work in teams, understanding tolerance and humility and training their communication skills, which are all objectives of all-round education. Unlike China’s previous examination-oriented education, the fun life education shown on the programme is more consistent with the value judgement of education of developed countries; it is also the first step of cross-cultural communication removing ideological barriers. It is thus evident that excellent programme brands are built by upholding cultural content and introducing positive values. V. Integrate unique brand elements In addition to enhancing the recognition of media content among audiences, unique brand elements attract similar audiences and enhance audience stickiness, which are rather beneficial for the testing of the target positioning of the programmes. The brands of television programmes in South Korea are relatively mature, and each programme has its own brand symbols, including programme name, host and even subtitle font. Good brand symbols are the secret weapons to strengthening audience stickiness. Despite the similarities among their competing programmes, the three mainstream television stations of South Korea each has a highly recognisable brand positioning. For example, despite all being major outdoor reality shows, 2 Days and 1 Night of KBS focuses on primitive open country, Running Man of SBS stresses urban sport while the brand value of Infinite Challenge of MBC is to “exceed the limits”. As a result, although the programmes are similar, the different brand personalities and positioning have allowed the programmes to successfully divide the viewers and maintain their target audiences. The creation of brand assets is also important. Different brand symbols such as programme slogan, logo and theme song may see like independent elements but are actually closely connected. They reinforce the personalities of the programme brands during each ritualised broadcast, making the personality positioning of the programmes more vivid and visualised. In contrast, the contemporary media industry of China is generally dominated by the idea of quick returns and instant benefits, and has little reflection on brand development. Take conventional mainstream television station for example, channel and segment development of these stations lack overall planning, while segments and channels have no effective connection. The craze to reproduce short-term sensations that are only suitable for the current trend shows that it may generate a certain amount of advertising revenue and short-lived interest, but brings nothing but harm to the development of brand personalities. Actually, during the process of convergence of conventional radio and television media, an abundance of brand resources may be excavated. For instance, representative Chinese elements, such as cheongsam, cooking and ceramics, may be added to programmes through challenges to produce Chinese delicacies, silk and traditional Chinese knots. Traditional Chinese culture

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


may be shown to audiences around the globe through variety shows without having to resort to rigid and contrived propaganda, thus maximising communication effects. Meanwhile, such informal system may serve as a tool to protect Chinese culture and extend the vitality of China’s traditional culture. As one of the four major ancient civilisations, China possesses time-honoured and splendid cultural property and an abundance of material property, which provide extensive material for the content of television programmes. In terms of audience demand, countries around the world have a profound interest in China’s traditional culture, so television workers should have a strong sense of responsibility to communicate the national culture, as they give priority to the traditional culture. It is their responsibility to integrate the outstanding national culture into programmes, from planning to the actual production. “The harmonious coexistence of cultures” means integrating local culture with outstanding world cultures and innovating to create progressive brand programmes with national characteristics and the spirit of the times.

4.2.7 Integrate Marketing Strategies and Expand Communication Strategies During future media convergence, marketing will reflect three major trends: firstly, integrated marketing will become consistent with the development of social history and thus more popular among advertisers. When advertising, different advertisers will choose different channels based on their marketing ideas and product positioning. For example, advertising that combines conventional outdoor advertising, offline advertising and Internet-based advertising and mobile-Internet advertising will, to a greater extent, be able to reach all user groups. Overall speaking, if future advertisers wish to achieve integrated, multi-channel coverage, integrated marketing will be the best means. Secondly, new marketing means and innovative marketing will appear in succession. Driven by new technologies, IOBS, QR codes and facial recognition will be more creative than push marketing, and users will no longer be bed up with or resist advertisement. On the contrary, the novel marketing means will become an experiential or entertainment means that will be enjoyed by the audiences. Lastly, the media market has a high demand for targeted advertising, and the subdivision of users will improve marketing results, which are precisely the challenges and opportunities of integrated marketing. Firstly, spatial marketing. Spatial marketing is a sub-concept of marketing and refers to an omnimedia marketing channel that integrates online and offline mobile terminals. Nowadays, simple advertising can no longer achieve optimal marketing results, and as advertising costs rise steadily along with advertising risks, so is the demand for targeted spatial marketing; the large marketing budget will consequently be transferred to targeted advertising. Spatial marketing also means multi-platform and -level marketing. Above all else, multi-platform marketing refers to the collaborated marketing between conventional-


4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television …

and new-media platforms, which share the communication of content. In the age of converged media, the competition of ratings and sales volume has become more concentrated among the media, and has even led to the Matthew effect and the barrel effect. Online video platforms and social media have enormous potential for development, and will sway the development of conventional television channels. As a result, in addition to paying attention to ratings and circulation, conventional media should pay particular attention to feedback from social media and online video platforms when making decisions. Take television variety shows for example, after the initial broadcast, programmes should immediately be uploaded onto major online video platforms, where they will be divided into short videos and re-broadcast. Meanwhile, multi-level marketing refers to the re-integration and -processing of content to carry out targeted marketing based on the communication features of different platforms. Focusing on the content, the re-processing of the content of conventional media on new-media platforms is also a means to capture audience attention. For instance, if official websites have comment sections for news reports, special-topic forums or audiences, they may directly select the most discussed topics from the comment sections and market them on new media. By doing so, the topics that are among the top of the online search results will once again become social foci that will generate ratings. The same marketing strategy applies to official social-media accounts. Programmes should set up official accounts for spatial marketing on Twitter, Facebook, Weibo and WeChat, and provide online videos, blogs, related games and e-commerce. The intensive multimedia publicisation will expand the audience groups, while also achieving the effects of regular multi-platform promotion. Secondly, reputation marketing. Reputation marketing is a promotional means that takes advantage of the power of public opinion. As mobile Internet develops and social media such as Weibo and WeChat emerge, reputation marketing plays a decisive role in marketing. When blogs gained popularity among the youth, some quick-thinking advertisers seized the business opportunity and freely offered their products to bloggers, taking advantage of their influence for marketing means, and this may be the embryonic form of reputation marketing. Nowadays, reputation marketing is widely accepted by netizens. Take cosmetics consumption for example, reputation marketing is often the most powerful marketing strategy. In a related survey, 31% of those interviewed trusted the products recommended by their friends. Reputation marketing may facilitate the viral communication of content, which affects more youth and is closely connected to networks. It may be understood as such that “reputation marketing = youth reputation = network reputation”. The development of networks has given rise to the virtual interpersonal communication, and new media and social media have accelerated the communication speed of network reputation. “Celebrity reputation”, “youth reputation” and “network reputation” in reputation marketing have become increasingly critical in the success of marketing. Programmes such as I am a Singer and Where Are We Going, Dad? almost all started off with the reputation of having “zero negative review”, from there they become wildly popular among the audiences. Compared to the previous forceful and rigid promotional campaign, reputation marketing is more likely to attract more audiences.

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


A growing number of youth no longer wait punctually by the television to watch television programmes, instead they based their viewing decisions on the reputation of conventional media on new media. Under the Dome, an investigative video on smog by Chai Jing from March 2015, spread quickly on the Internet and has over 100 million clicks in merely one day. It quickly captured the attention of youth through promotion on major social media such as WeChat’s Moments and Weibo; online video portals such as,, Tencent and Youku; and celebrities such as Wang Leehom, Shu Qi, Yao Chen and Huang Xiaoming. Whether it is the style or the platform, the video seems to be targeting the youth, while the hashtag ChaiJingSmogInvestigation was clicked on over 200 million times on Weibo in a short period of time, for which the youth deserved all the credit. The distinguishing feature of reputation marketing is leveraging, as it takes advantage of powerful potential energy, and requires picking the right promotional moment to achieve the effect of viral communication. It places greater emphasis on the interaction and communication with audiences, and fully mobilises consumer participation through collaboration with popular social media. Furthermore, it attracts audience attention through the creation of innovative, novel event and communication content with interactive media. Accurate audience positioning, viral communication and trend-based marketing are the prerequisites for successful reputation marketing, which help the reputation and images of media products gain growing popularity among consumers. Thirdly, cross-industry marketing. Cross-industry marketing, from a literal sense may be understood as thinking outside the conventional marketing box and searching for collaborators in other fields instead of going at it single-handedly. After going through different fields and being interpreted from different perspectives, the previously unrelated elements may infiltrate and integrate with one another to bring consumer dynamic products with depth, thus offering users a complementary experience. This coincides with Web 2.0’s content-development idea of “being usercentred”. However, collaborators do not come from completely unrelated fields; cross-industry marketing requires that they at least have similar consumer groups. The added collaborative strength will create products that are closer to the consumption habits of consumers and positively encourage consumption. I am a Singer of HBS adopted an unusual strategy in 2013. Driven by the megatrend of the convergence of conventional and new media, it innovatively and experimentally collaborated with movie theatres, whereby the final was shown live at Wanda Cinema in 11 major cities across China. Shui Pi, the chief editor of China Times, considered it “the ultimate collision between television and film channels, which created a new integrated model of entertainment marketing for television and film”. Meanwhile, the songs and signature songs of competitors on the show have become smash hits at major karaoke boxes. The offline cross-industry marketing has once again won the show attention and popularity. Such approach may be more boldly experimented at entertainment events, such as live streaming concerts, talent shows and sporting events at cinemas. The highstandard audiovisual hardware and the lively atmosphere of cinemas will liven up


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the presentation of television programmes. As for cross-media collaboration, conventional media needs not worry about being eliminated, but will see growing opportunities as a result of continuous industrial convergence, and expand a diverse space for development and creativity. Finally, fan marketing. Fan marketing refers to attracting consumers as fans through product or business popularity, and achieving the business idea of marketing by taking advantage of mutual communication among fans. In the age of the Internet, fans are no longer exclusively limited to celebrities, any business, media product and individual may have fans as long as they have features that appeal. Fan marketing is distinctly different during different stages: the initial stage is that of onlookers, during which period fans are the “spiritual supporter” of products or stars. They will offer the products or stars non-financial support on social media. During the second stage, fans will begin to organise events with clear division of labour as supported by the powerful fan clubs. Their support begins to transfer from online to offline and from spiritual to financial. The most powerful fan marketing takes place during the third stage, when influence on the audiences grows from bottom up. The best fan marketing is not carried out by businesses such as Xiaomi or Nike but rather the stars, particularly those from South Korea. They never guide their fans, but many of their fans will voluntarily promote the stars. After the South Korean television drama My Love from the Star became a hit, Kim Soo-hyun’s fans bought an entire page in newspapers and ads in underground stations in the month of his birthday to celebrate it. Fan economy belongs to the fast-consumption economy, which has a high replacement rate and unstable fan traits. Fan marketing is also a circle economy, which only works on a specific group of people. It is a marketing means that removes the intermediaries, as fans take part in all promotional acts on their own initiative with little external intervention or advertising; it is a marketing means whereby the fans are completely in charge. Speaking of big data and the fan economy, the business value that Lu Han’s fan marketing brings must be mentioned. Lu, a popular Chinese idol born in 1990, holds the Guinness World Record for having over 100 million comments on a single Weibo feed and has sold over one million digital copies of music in five days. The collective rise of Lu and other stars born after the 90 s is a result of social movements. They have successfully gathered fans on social media through channels such as Baidu Tieba, a Chinese communication platform,, WeChat’s Moments and Weibo’s celebrity chart. Once sizeable fan groups have been formed, they turn and take on mass media. In April 2016, Weibo launched the hashtag LuHanBirthdayFest, which was more like a commercial brand celebration than a simple fan event. Brands such as Lenovo Xiaoxin Notebook, Kentucky, Volkswagen Beetle, Daling app and Crest all jumped on the celebration bandwagon. As a result of fan marketing, the official Weibo accounts of these brands showed exponential growth. Zhang Chaoyang, the board chairman and chief executive officer of Sohu, set the keynote of “active attacks” for Sohu at the beginning of this year. Sohu News’s client took the lead and, in addition to updating its technological hardware, it engaged celebrities with great business value to endorse Sohu, including Lu Han, Li Yifeng, Wang Kai and Zhao Liying,

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


and gained a tremendous fan following. Fan marketing has transformed the role of stars in communication: it turned “conventional communication that evolves around brands” to “focusing on the stars to enhance brand influence”. In other words, events are planned around the stars to provide communication platforms for brands. Tencent is also actively launching business operations based on big data to capitalise on the fan economy. Cai Shao, the chief director of Tencent Network Media Planning Centre, remarked: “A meet-and-greet event for an idol and the fans on Tencent Video may engage 400,000 fans in paid interactions in an hour through paid interactive features such as screen licking, hugging, kissing and flower sending. The first bullet-screen interaction of the popular Chinese boy band TFBoys resulted in 23.2 million online interactions in one hour. The astonishing figures are powerful evidence that celebrity marketing integrated with the Internet is no longer just celebrity endorsement, but a new communication channel that connects brands and consumers by taking advantage of the appeal of celebrities and novel Internet tools.” Other marketing means include hunger marketing and buzz marketing, but regardless of how media improves the techniques of its marketing strategies, content remains its top priority.

4.2.8 Improve Management and Introduce the Power of Social Management The changes that accompany media convergence, including technological, content and platform convergences, call for the innovation and convergence of management approaches from a higher level, in order to adapt to the development. The reforms of conventional mainstream media over the last three decades were mostly business related, while the accelerated changes in the media ecological environment as a result of media convergence have now extended to the macro-management system, and simple business reforms are no longer suitable for the healthy development of conventional mainstream media in the new trend. Transformation strategies must be applied from top to bottom, starting with accepting the transformation of management. From a macro-management aspect, creating a unified major media-management body and innovating human-resource management are keys to the future development of conventional mainstream media, as well as the new missions and challenges. Apart from improving the existing media-management system, countries should continue to relax their policies concerning social-production bodies, as marketisation continues and social influence in the content production of conventional media grows. For contemporary conventional mainstream media, the production of a large amount of content, such as news and information, by private businesses is officially prohibited. To avoid such policy risks, private businesses have to give up stock ownership to enter the system, which is a result that private businesses most unwilling to see. China may learn from foreign management experience, whereby the social production power with new media as the carrier is strengthened and the extensive


4 Communication Strategies of Radio and Television …

collaboration with conventional media stepped up. Instead of solely suppressing their development, they should be given the social power to enter the system. Extensive social participation is needed to bring fresh blood to and invigorate conventional media. Meanwhile, the continuing professionalisation of private or individual content productive forces will play an increasingly critical role in China’s development of cultural products, industries and ecology. In addition to innovating the supervision and management of conventional media, social-welfare organisations may be introduced, whether it is the provision of programmes or the intervention in social supervision. Organised, private and autonomous voluntary sector does not belong to the public department or focus on the generation of profit, and based on its constitution and operations, its social strength may maintain a certain balance. A third-party monitoring mechanism is a pivotal and effective means of supervision and management, and China’s supervision and management of the media industry have always fallen short. The development of a supervisory and management system for media operations that is scientific, rational and precise and the re-establishment of media credibility are urgently needed for the development of the industry. The introduction of a third-party monitoring mechanism will be beneficial for supervising and supporting industry management. However, if it is not properly applied, it will become a mere formality that receives no attention or requires no evaluation. That is why the correct introduction of a third-party monitoring mechanism requires continuous exploration, summary, improvement and enhancement.

4.2.9 Innovate Human-Resource Management and Focus on Coordinated Development When transitioning to the new-media fields, in addition to focusing on talent cultivation, radio and television must develop a rational talent-appointment and management mechanism, in order to optimise the human-resource advantages and avoid the risks that come with talent flow. When developing new-media business, conventional television media should devise a rational organisational structure, crossmedia application platform and extensive talent-evaluation mechanism. The outworn custom of emphasising hierarchy should be overturned, and the employment mechanism needs to be boldly innovated. Media workers should be provided with opportunities to attain their ideals through a rational system that ensures the stability of talent resources, along with effective incentive mechanisms that tap into the potential of the talent. Meanwhile, when developing new media, radio and television should adopt the following talent strategies: attract talent with professional development, gather talent with the strength of the media and keep talent with a salary standard that matches their value.

4.2 Coping Strategies for Conventional Mainstream Media Regarding Media Convergence


Specifically speaking, a flattened talent-management system is becoming an increasingly popular choice of radio and television during media convergence. It emphasises the reduction of administrative levels and ranks, the distribution of management power and the blurred organisational boundaries while encouraging the self-actualisation of employees. Due to the political demands for party-controlled media, the introduction of a flattened management structure in radio and television groups must be based on the premise of obeying the party leadership. As a result, how to properly manage the relationship between accomplishing political missions and participating in competition, while developing a corresponding talent-management system based on own characteristics, will be critical factors that influence the positive development of radio and television groups in provinces and municipalities. New media began from scratch and has slowly grown in strength. Having to start from nothing also means a large amount of talent investment. The rapid development of new media and its advantages have triggered the talent war between conventional and new media. Media competition is in essence also talent competition. To keep its current core competency in content production, conventional radio and television must focus on issues related to talent management, reinforce the building of core teams and strengthen team collaboration. Above all else, conventional radio and television need to consolidate the stability of their employees and reduce the loss of quality talent. In recent years, impacted by new media and the overall media environment, the influence of conventional radio and television media has weakened, along with falling advertising revenue and reduced income for media workers. The drastic drop in income will likely to see job changes among media workers peak yet again. Furthermore, the rigid system of conventional media makes it hard for many young workers to be promoted quickly, leading to a lost of faith in the industry. The development of rational promotion and incentive mechanisms are therefore absolutely necessary. Wang Changtian, the president of Enlight Media, once mentioned during an interview that to motivate his employees, elaborate efforts were put into the design of the work area: the unique colour-room creativity, user-friendly bar, venting room and a dorm for employees working overtime, all of which aimed to keep the team stable. The human-focused management has boosted the execution of the company policy. A look at Phoenix Satellite Television shows that it places great emphasis on talent recruitment, cultivation and expression. Its “three-star strategy” is a classic summary of its cultivation of core talent: as they create star-like hosts, critics and reporters and turn the audiences into their fans, they also make the audiences accept the television station they represent [24]. Liu Changle, the chairman of Phoenix Satellite Television, confessed: “High salaries are a critical means of how Phoenix attracts famous hosts.” The company shares held by its famous hosts such as Dou Wentao and Xu Gehui are only second to the five vice chairpersons, so they also benefit directly from the company shares. Salaries are the most direct reflection of the talent value in the market economy, and high salaries are also an important approach to talent management. In addition to financial incentives, the internalisation of culture is equally important: allowing every


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employee to immerse in the media corporate culture and strengthening internal cohesiveness through unique positive values, so talent may truly take part in the management decisions is a necessary move in achieving higher-level talent management in the age of media convergence. In the age of media convergence, innovation in the management of talent of conventional media should first focus on the harmony and development among people, between people and departments and among departments. Only through a thorough understanding of the ever-changing people, including employees, users and clients, may truly innovative talent management that keeps pace with the times be achieved.

References 1. Xia, Q. (2005). Party-controlled media and improving news-management systems—Policies and official discourse analysis. Journalism & Communication Review (5). 2. Ye, M. (2015). A bria convergence in Chef analysis of party-controlled media and respecting the unification of communication pattern. Jin Tian (3). 3. Duan, P. (2017). Exploration and analysis of issues concerning party-controlled media in the new-media environment. Modern Communication, 5, 26–31. 4. Duan, P. (2018). Basis and paths for the transition from party-controlled media to law-abiding official networks. Journal of Nanchang University (Humanities and Social Sciences), 2, 42–48. 5. Lu, D. (1995). The creation and management of China’s newspaper groups. The Press (4). 6. Furubotn, E. G., & Pejovich, S. (1994). Property rights and institutional changes. Shanghai: Readway, 206. 7. Huang, Y. & Zhang, J. (2006). From partial separation to complete transformation—A tentative exploration of the current institutional reforms of China’s media industry. Journalism Bimonthly (3). 8. Duan, P. (2018). A study of the development strategies of radio and television in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province against the background of media convergence. China Television, 1, 72–77. 9. Yin, L. (2019). Report on media convergence in China 2018. China Radio & Television Academic Journal, 2, 13–17. 10. Duan, P., & Liang, Y. (2019). Strategic media-convergence thinking for China’s television— An example based on the performance of television under the Belt-and-Road initiative. China Television, 3, 64–67. 11. Kou, J. (2010). Survival strategies of China’s television in a new-media environment. New West (3). 12. Hu, Z., & Zhang, Y. (2019). Reflection on and outlook of China’s media convergence. Chinese Editors Journal, 6, 8–14. 13. Yu, G. (2014). Keys and ways to the transformation and upgrade of conventional media based on the internet logic. News and Writing (7). 14. Guo, Q. (2015). Media convergence: Status quo, issues and strategies. Journalism Review, 3, 28–35. 15. Huang, J. (2000). Core competency: the foundation of future business competition. Business Management Journal (8). 16. Yan, D. (2018). Smart radio, converged development—How innovation products of converged media may seize the opportunity and make swift progress. Media, 20, 17–18. 17. Gao, G., & Liu, J. (2015). The content is still the king: How media may develop against the background of media convergence. TV Research (4).



18. Li, Y., & Hu, R. (2002). A brief analysis of the overall creation and expansion of the brand that is Phoenix Television. Modern Communication (4). 19. Sang, L. (2018). The multidimensional construction of radio and television media’s transformation from a media-convergence perspective. View on Publishing, 23, 66–68. 20. Wang, Y. (2009). An analysis of the differentiated business strategies of Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings Limited. Contemporary Communications (1). 21. Zhu, R. (2018). Media-convergence strategies of radio and television groups and the building of new-media platforms. Youth Journalist, 7, 65–66. 22. Cai, W. (2006). The development of media convergence and news resources. Journal of Northwest University for Nationalities (7). 23. Ha, W. (2014). An analysis of the strategies to strengthen conventional- and new-media convergence—A case study of the interactive QR-Code Platform of CCTV-3. Modern Communication (7). 24. Jiang, L. (2010). Developing the core competency of the media—An analysis of the business strategies of Phoenix Satellite Television. Today’s Massmedia (Academic Edition) (1).

Chapter 5

Prospects for Media Convergence

Today, the superior position of conventional media in the relationship between communicators and communicatees has been overturned, and the all-round convergence of conventional and emerging media has become the trend of development, making media transition a matter of great urgency. Meanwhile, new communication forms such as “one man, one media” and “all-space and -time communication” are slowly taking shape. Convergence, development and innovation have become the synonyms of media convergence. Against such media background, how to encourage the prompt transformation of the conventional media industry has become a common problem facing media workers. China’s media convergence has achieved some latest results following continuous exploration, but pitfalls that demand urgent changes also abound. Conforming to the trend of the times and improving the convergence strategies are issues that require reflection. Media convergence faces tough work ahead and still has a long way to go.

5.1 Status Quo and Achievements of Media Convergence 5.1.1 Develop New Thinking: Focus on Taking Advantage of Online Thinking For the media industry, technological development has removed the barriers that previous existed between different media. Nowadays, the once-generated content may be repeatedly transmitted on different platforms, which is decentralisation in the conventional sense. The Internet is a medium itself but is not just simply a medium: it is also a carrier. It carries the new development opportunities for conventional media such as digital radio, newspapers and television, but also carries the expansive space for the prosperous development of new media such as Weibo, WeChat and blogs. It is growing into a key force that restructures the information environment and the world © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd 2020 P. Duan, Media Convergence and the Development Strategies of Radio and Television in China,



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structure over time. Technological development has brought users more possibilities to satisfy their needs, along with unknown possibilities for media development. For media workers, in a the new communication environment of the Internet, the focus should be on fostering and exploiting Internet thinking to execute the strategies of media convergence, so as to face the unknown challenges. The concept of Internet thinking was not first put forward by academia but by Li Yanhong, the founder of Baidu, a Chinese Internet company. Internet thinking refers to a way of thinking that re-examines markets, users, products, industry chains and the entire business ecology against the background of ever-changing technologies, such as mobile Internet, big data and cloud computing. It essentially is a way of thinking that demands people to re-examine holistic ecology and emphasises reticular thinking, that is, a decentralised thought model that is about seeking the truth, collaborating, sharing and being open and equal. Against the background of thriving Internet technology and the high-profile Internet thinking, President Xi proposed the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Converged Development of Conventional and Emerging Media at the 4th Meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms in Beijing on 18 August 2014. He also addressed the meeting and stated: “While promoting the converged development of conventional and emerging media, the patterns of news communication and those of emerging media must be followed and Internet thinking reinforced. The complementary strengths and the unified development of conventional and emerging media must also be nurtured. Supported by advanced technology and building upon content development, the extensive convergence of the content, channels, platforms, operations and management of conventional and emerging media shall be encouraged. Efforts shall be made to create a group of competitive new mainstream media with diverse forms and advanced skills, and new media groups with enormous strength, communication capacity, credibility and influence shall also be formed, so as to build a multi-level modern communication system that is diverse and converged. Focus must be placed on both convergence and management to ensure the convergence progresses towards the right direction.” It is evident through the document and the speech, which naturally contained more than the above example, that the Chinese government attaches great importance to media convergence. The fact that the term Internet thinking was used in the speech shows the importance and power it has towards the institutional reform of media systems in an environment with swift scientific and technological development. Professor Hu Zhengrong maintained that media convergence was not simply the addition of media, but the formation of a complete and organic media ecological system. The process of promoting media convergence and developing omnimedia requires a novel way of thinking, which is precisely the Internet thinking that President Xi has repeatedly emphasised. The establishment and operations of Hebei Huatang Media Co., Ltd. fully reflects the role that Internet thinking plays in modern media convergence and industrial reforms. The company was established following the restructuring of Food Weekly, and is a professional media company with a distinct focus. It also takes advantage of its strengths and characteristics to follow the demands of its regular users, namely

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the food, cigarette and alcohol industries. While reforming, the company attached great importance to the execution and reinforcement of the business-to-business operating model and concept (the business-to-business operating model here refers to the exchange of products, services and information among companies via the Internet). Meanwhile, it also focuses heavily on the building of dynamic databases for the food, cigarette and alcohol industries in China. Based on these databases, it has launched new media such as a project platform known as, mobile-terminal media and a business-investment network for China’s food industry. Furthermore, Huatang Media creates and stages events such as China Food and Drinks Dealer Development Forum and National Food and Drinks Marketing Forum, through which it also reduces the platform costs for trade and communication within the industry. Driven by the series of measures, the company initially generated only 4.9 million yuan in 2010, but the figure skyrocketed to over 15 million yuan the following year and rose to 24 million yuan in 2012. By 2013, its overall business income and profit exceeded 100 million and 30 million yuan. Internet thinking does not merely mean understanding business models and communication behaviour based on the general concept of the Internet, but also means understanding the gigantic Internet with an equal, sharing and interconnected perspective. Nowadays the main bodies of the Internet ecological system are users, also known as the audiences in conventional media. These main bodies now possess communication power and have changed the conventional relationship between communicators and communicatees. They are also the key forces that drive media convergence. That is why another major focus of Internet thinking is the users—in other words, the so-called principle of “users above all else”. As media convergence develops in depth and the fields of media operations become more expansive, competition will also become fiercer. How to attract, keep and look after users have become the key tasks of media operations. Users equal to flow and flow equals to value. Media operations will involve the active maintenance of relationships with users against the background of in-depth media convergence. User stickiness will be effectively reinforced with interactive experience as the point of penetration along with the provision of personalised quality services that are the results of convergence. This point alone does not seem special to commercial businesses that adopt user-focused strategies, because pure commercial businesses always pay close attention to user needs and experience to generate profit. However, the media industry has dual attributes, which means in addition to focusing on its business attribute, it possess an indispensible cultural attribute. What lies behind the cultural attribute is the reflection of the social responsibility of the media and its role as a mouthpiece. Internet thinking demands the media to pay more attention to users, and mainstream media in particular needs to evolve from being controlled by governments to being supervised by governments, as well as turning the conventional “propaganda thinking” to “dialogue thinking” and “service thinking”. Internet thinking may have received media attention and recognition and have achieved a certain results, but its actual application and understanding are diverse. Regardless of the means adopted, the real application of Internet thinking means to overturn the conventional business logic, and the media needs to truly focus on


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user needs with the help of means such as big data. Furthermore, the media needs to re-integrate its strength with the goal of satisfying user needs and overhauling old business models.

5.1.2 Build New Platforms: Gradually Develop a New Communication System The most distinctive feature of media convergence in the age of mobile Internet is platform expansion driven by technological development. In response to new features such as the diverse communication bodies, simultaneous release of content and foregrounded social demand of the network space, the media can no longer adapt to new communication environments relying simply on conventional radio and television; it needs to produce differentiated content for different groups and users to achieve accurate delivery. The adoption of fragmented expressions in the news language in response to the fragmented reading habit and the achievement of simultaneous content release in response to information timeliness are goals that require the media to carry out institutional reforms. A new communication system that is adapted to the new information environment must be formed, and the building of omnimedia communication platforms has slowly become a key step in the formation such system. New-media platforms refer to media platforms that differ from conventional platforms. Currently, they refer to a group of emerging information-communication platforms in the Internet age. Conventional media includes radio, television, films, newspapers and magazines, whereas new-media platforms include but is not limited to digital newspapers, digital radio, mobile television, digital television, digital films, desktop windows and touch media. In the new industrial structure, the building of new-media platforms of radio and television relates to the success or failure of the overall industry convergence. The State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China published the White Paper on the Building of Converged-Media Platforms for Television Stations and the Technical White Paper on the Building of Converged-Media Platforms for Radio and Television Stations in 2016, which clearly defined the critical role that platform building played in the convergence of radio and television. Provincial radio and television groups such as Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, HBS and Hubei Radio and Television Information Network Co., Ltd. even regarded the development of platforms as one of their convergence strategies [1]. In recent years, Weibo, WeChat and news clients have become the standard configuration for conventional and new media. Take People’s Daily for example, it has in recent years launched a digital edition and set up a Weibo account before launching an official WeChat account and mobile client. Its official foreign WeChat accounts “Xiakedao” and “Study Group” have quickly captured a strategic height in the publicopinion field thanks to their unique perspectives and condemnation of social ills and

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demand that they be dealt with. “New media groups with enormous strength, communication capacity, credibility and influence” as represented by People’s Daily, China Media Group and Xinhua News Agency are growing rapidly. Meanwhile, lessons may be drawn from their experience in platform building. For example, new media such as the public platform for national party-media information of People’s Daily is beneficial for the new-media communication matrix of municipal and provincial media; and the Live Cloud platform, whose research and development were led by Xinhua News Agency, is both a livestream platform for news and a mobile gathering, editing and release system that allows “online news production, review and release”. The platform now has over 2,900 media and party and government-department users [2]. The building of new-media platforms for radio and television groups has become a key step in their media-convergence strategies. Currently, HBS has adopted the strategic principles of being “platform-, engine- and capital-based” for the building of its platforms. It has created platform structures that centre around a cloud centre, Mango TV (streaming television, mobile platform and OTT) and IPTV. Meanwhile, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation has set the development goals of “cloud platforms, group formation and multi-terminals” and built general communication platforms such as Lizhi Cloud (cloud platform), (streaming television), Changjiang Mobile-Phone Station (mobile-phone television), Lexiang Television (social-media television), Lizhi News/Communities (mobile platform) and the complementary IPTV. SMG has adopted the slogan of “one body, two wings; coupling development” and built new-media platforms such as a cloud platform, Kankanews (news-video website and mobile platform), BesTV (IPTV and OTT) and Ajmide (mobile music platform). Hubei Radio and Television Information Network Co., Ltd. achieves its goal of building converged platforms that “converge media and are platform-, capital- and maker-based” primarily through Changjiangyun (cloud and mobile platform), weshaketv (interactive-service platform) and the complementary IPTV [1]. Platforms come in a great variety, and in terms of technical application they may be divided into those of conventional and new media according to the preceding text. Other differentiation standards include that of scale, such as big and small platforms, or structure, such as vertical and general platforms. The building of new-media platforms is a pre-requisite and foundation for the delivery of omnimedia content at a later stage. All the media are actively exploring and developing new communication platforms at the moment, and the enthusiasm deserves encouragement and recognition, but the building of platforms should not be indiscriminate. Today, official WeChat and Weibo accounts have mushroomed, actually making it difficult to achieve the expected communication results. While running new-media platforms, focus should firstly be placed on content readability. Surveys revealed that audiences of new media are only willing to spend 30 s to 5 min of fragmented time to read news, which therefore has to be concise and eye-catching without becoming clickbait. At the beginning of 2017, UC platform’s news always deliberately misled readers with “shocking” content or abstracts taken out of context to grab attention. “UC Shock Department” became a catchphrase on the Internet, which is detrimental to the establishment of


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the media brand image. Secondly, information resources need to be integrated, so users may obtain all or most of the information they want after choosing a platform from a particular category, and this requires database support. Building upon this basis, platforms also need to create content or segments with individual features to encourage user stickiness and loyalty. Thirdly, communication should be adapted to the communication features of different platforms. Audio content has its own charm while visual content has its own edge, and only by selecting the correct communication means can the best communication results be achieved without generating unnecessary costs. Lastly, with the help of platforms, the media needs to gradually foster an interactive relationship with its users, so in addition to developing a positive business-user relationship, it may receive prompt feedback, which is beneficial to the launch of audience surveys and the building of user databases.

5.1.3 Adopt New Technologies: Make New Paths for Media Communication “The key to convergence is integration”. Following the convening of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Xi Jinping Administration has attached great importance to the converged development of conventional and emerging media, and President Xi has repeatedly stressed the use of new technologies and applications to innovate media communication at different occasions. At the 12th collective study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, President Xi emphasised once again that “the promotion of media convergence and the building of omnimedia have become urgent tasks, and in-depth media convergence needs to be furthered with the application of the results of information revolution.” More comprehensive and quality services need to be provided to the general public through the upgrade of media communication and the continuous development of smart technology. It is thus evident that media convergence has become increasingly dependent on technology. The global media ecological overhaul brought about by digital technology has just kicked off, and technological intervention is quickly becoming an indispensible part of media convergence. AI and VR will lead the media industry into a whole-new age of “immersive media”. Conventional media takes advantage of VR technology to enrich its content, while Internet companies and social-media groups collaborate to further enhance the experience of recipients of digital news information. The New York Times has introduced VR to allow its readers to “experience” news, known as the immersive news experience. Nevertheless, frontier technology remains in the grasp of Internet companies, as the news industry becomes ever more reliant on them. The possibilities of VR technology changing the structure of future communication and reshaping media ecology continue to grow. In their experiments, radio and television have found a new path, along which they fully exploit technology to enhance the interaction between the communicators and the communicatees. As

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digital media rises, so does the revenue of digital advertising. With the audiences shifting towards mobile terminals and social platforms, bringing Internet companies more opportunities, the five major Internet companies including Google and Facebook seized the opportunity and carved up the news market, occupying over 65% of the digital-media advertising. Technological development is the fundamental motive for media convergence. It may be said that it is precisely due to the development of digital technology and the popularisation of mobile networks, the acquisition and communication means of daily information have undergone tremendous change, which in turn changed how users access and use media. Meanwhile, to satisfy the changed needs and expectation of its users, the media must find a new development path, and media convergence is a major direction for future media development. Conversely, to promote media convergence, whether the technological standard can match up is a highly critical and influential factor. Big-data technology has become a popular topic in recent years. As early as in December 2010, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee of the U.S. submitted a strategic report known as Designing a Digital Future: Federally Funded Research and Development in Networking and Information Technology to the then President Obama and Congress, in which the big-data mobile phones and their use have been elevated to a national strategic level. In March 2012, Obama signed and announced the Big Data Research and Development Initiative, with which USD200 million were invested to kick off the research and development of big-data technology, thus showing the importance attached to big data. China started off later but has progressed rapidly in the research and application of big data. The scale of China’s big-data market was 76.7 billion yuan in 2014, but reached 110.5 billion yuan the following year, a like-for-like increase of 44.15%. Meanwhile, the State Council issued the Action Plan for Promoting the Development of Big Data on 31 August the same year, which guides the top-level planning and general design of big-data development in China. The term big data continues to gain popularity in recent years, and generates widespread attention in every sector and industry. The Annual Report on Development of Big Data in China 2017 recently released by the State Information Center showed the average index of big-data development in China is only 47.15 at the moment, placing the country at the beginning of the development, but also means there is a great room for development. Big data helps the media better understand market needs and profile the audiences. It also helps media save and analyse content, so it may understand its shortcomings, and the data-based analysis provides feedback or even feedforward. Data-driven journalism highlights the upsurge in big data and the reform of the news industry, and has to a certain extent changed the conventional production process of news. As the term suggests, data-driven journalism is a news-broadcasting model that is based on data and realised through visualisation. Looking at the form alone, the presentation of visualised data already has an appeal that differs from text and pictures. For example, Language in the World created by Density Design combines the visual presentation of a map with data. The use of a world map showing


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the language families allows users to see which languages are most widely used and find out where they are used around the world. The previously dry and abstract concepts are thus turned into an attractive visual narration with depth. The appeal of data visualisation may also be applied to the news broadcasting. For instance, Xinhua News Agency has done remarkably well in data-driven journalism in recent years. Its topics cover household policies and governments, including “The key to becoming well-off depends on fellow villagers—decades of poverty alleviation in China”, “Focusing on the suppliers – this is how agriculture should develop in 2017” and “How to reduce the population in megalopoleis?” They also cover information related to daily life, including “Is your personal information safe in the big-data age?”, “Old and useless mobile phones piling up at home? Recycle them for gold!”, “How much do firecrackers impact the air quality? Let data tell you” and “Avoid delayed flights. Find help in the civil-aviation big data”. Data-driven journalism gives fully play to visual narration when interpreting dry and hard-to-understand policies and delivering life information. It increases content readability and makes it more fun to attract the scarce user attention. To date, countless international media provide lessons in news production with the help of big data, including The Guardian and The New York Times. The exploration in data-driven journalism has achieved certain results, but there is still a great room for improvement. As the Annual Report on Development of Big Data in China 2017 revealed: Most big-data projects in China currently focused on fields related to public life, including public security, ecology and environment, transport and medical treatment, and their visualised presentation has improved public satisfaction. However, fields that generally receive extensive attention, including finance, medical treatment and education, must still be improved. The improvement of user experience is the fundamental impetus for as well as the purpose of media convergence. For a long time, many industries have placed great emphasis on user experience. Take the media industry for instance, moves such as the arrangement of programme content, the confirmation of the airing time and the setting up of hotlines are to improve user experience, satisfy audience needs and increase user stickiness, so existing audiences remain stable while potential audiences are turned into loyal audiences. Today, the rapid technological development is obvious to all. On the one hand, the advent and development of new technologies promote the optimisation, upgrade and regeneration of the media industry, while on the other hand the new visualisation-control and -perception technology will doubtlessly offer users better experiences. As new technologies such as AR and VR develop and their daily application becomes a reality, human perception is once again expanded. New devices will pique the curiosity of users, while the immersive sensory experience will maximally satisfy the demand for entertainment. Jake Silverstein, the editor of the New York Times Magazine, argued that the power of VR lay in its ability to create a unique transference relationship between audiences and characters and events. The New York Times was also one of the first media bodies to combine VR and news report. It launched the NYT VR appin 2015, which allows users to use Google Cardboard, an immersive VR experience for real-life content. Furthermore, to fully exploit the edge of the new technology, The New York Times has shot a series of VR videos on key global topics in a news-documentary form. This is definitely

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worth noting, as media convergence is not simply about adopting new technology or converging and connecting technologies, it requires the production of content suitable for different technologies. The production of high-quality VR videos and the matching VR equipment are costly. Furthermore, immersive experience is usually only suitable for news events with a strong sense of presence or are hard to replicate or experience personally. Examples for the former would be live and major sports events, whereas the latter would be simulations of historical battles and popularscience education such as astronomy and marine science. The model of “VR + news”, created by The New York Times, whereby panoramic videos are made to present news events is gaining popularity as technology develops. For their coverage of China’s two sessions in 2016, CCTV, Xinhua News Agency and network media such as Sina also experimented with the coverage method of “VR + news”, which transmitted the content of the sessions in a more direct and sharper manner. However, such coverage method was dropped in 2017, which inevitably reveals the reflection of China’s media industry on new technology and the cooling down of the VR industry. Undeniably, the combination of VR and news empowers each user to experience the story or the scene at first hand. It is a brand-new means of news production, but the technology itself and its use and monetisation require continuous exploration, so they may become maturer. The experience that China’s media has accumulated will become the launch vehicle for its future development, and “VR + media” remains robust. In addition, the application of live-streaming technology has become increasingly extensive in media convergence. China’s Victory Day Parade on 3 September 2015 may be regarded as a national memory. When planning the coverage of this major event, in addition to the conventional live television broadcast, CCTV creatively collaborated with Meipai, a new video live-streaming platform. An event with the hashtag MyVictoryDayParade was launched, calling for users to shoot short videos of the parade from their perspectives. Users only needed to add the hashtag to their videos when uploading, and their videos might be chosen and aired. The collaboration between the television station and the online platform fully aroused the enthusiasm of users to participate. Meanwhile, Meipai showed the parade via interactive live streaming throughout the day with push notifications and pop-ups, covering 170 million users of mobile terminals. The user-uploaded videos received near 100 million views in a day in the Meipai community and over three million netizens took part in the interaction, setting the record for the number of people participating in a video live-streaming event at the time. The event fully illustrates the infinite possibilities of combining live streaming with news events in the future. The application of AI to the news-media industry is profoundly impacting the information-production and -communication models of news media. The convergence of emerging and conventional media and the application of AI are inevitable in the age of converged media, and news media must keep abreast of the times. The success of Toutiao demonstrates how AI may promote the development of the news-media industry. The core of AI is data mining, and the integration and use of data resources are key in the age of smart-media convergence. With related data statistics and research and helped by AI, issues that arise during the production of


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news of converged media may be discovered, allowing targeted changes to be made promptly. With the help of AI and big data, the analysis of media audiences will become more accurate, while the gathering and distribution of content smarter and more precise, targeted and personalised. In addition, AI allows news organisations to provide users with smart recommendations and personalised news. The application of AI has recently become increasingly extensive in the megatrend of media convergence. On 26 December 2017, Xinhua News Agency unveiled “Media Brain”, the first media AI platform of China, which boosts eight features, namely a smart media-production platform, news distribution, Caimi (a speech-to-text tool), copyright monitoring, facial verification, user profiling, smart conversations and speech synthesis, which cover the entire news link, including leads, planning, interviews, production, distribution and feedback. This illustrates that Xinhua News Agency has taken a critical step in its exploration of smart media. As AI slowly matures and the computational and learning capacities of robots continue to expand, conventional news-production means will be overturned over time. After relying on the previous manual model of PGC by professional reporters, the trend has shifted to the Web 2.0 model of PGC + UGC and will be moving towards the new phase of Web 3.0, when algorithm-generated content, PGC and UGC are the three mainstays. In the application of the media industry, the converged development of information such as text, images, sound and videos has turned cross-media interactions, smart searches and personalised recommendations into new media forms. Robots simulate human hearing and visual perception and become smarter in terms of design and creation, thus driving media convergence further. As technologies such as computer vision, natural-language processing, knowledge graph and smart recommendation innovate, media convergence is becoming smarter and more portable and personalised while continuously reshaping the overall media structure. It is worth noting that the birth of the current 5G technology will breathe new life into the practice of media convergence of conventional media. 5G, the fifthgeneration technology standard for cellular networks, boasts the features of being faster with a greater capacity and shorter latency compared to 4G networks. If the previous four generations of mobile-communication technologies connected the people, then 5G will connect people, people and objects and objects. With 5G networks, the communication of information anytime, anywhere will become a reality [3]. Han maintains that 5G technology will achieve the “multi-level convergence” of media, which does not only include the convergence of new and old media, but also that of media and the IoT and that of media, communications and computing. Inside the media industry, changes will also take place: first is the convergence of media forms, which will blur and remove the boundaries among the media; second is the convergence of media business, which also means the expansion of media experience at different levels; third is the convergence of media technologies, that is, the integration of computing and communications; and fourth is the convergence of media platforms, which will make the media scenarios of “everything may be the media” and “the co-existence between man and machines” a reality [4]. It is thus evident that conventional radio and television need to take preventive measures when putting media convergence into practice. They need to consider how to take

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advantage of the 5G technology to promote their transformation and turn the latest technology into productive forces for the media. As technology further advances, if network live streaming may be combined with new technologies such as VR in the future, it will offer audiences whole-new sensory experiences. Prompt communication as such with immersive sensory effects may become a popular trend and development direction. That is why both conventional and new media need to fully exploit existing technologies and platforms to quickly adapt to audience needs and update and improve existing communication means. Media convergence is not done for the sake of converging media and platforms or the simplistic pursuit of combining conventional and modern communication means; its objective is to satisfy audience needs and provide them with better experiences. It is evident that the current media development is indeed able to combine popular and new means of communication and achieve a certain results; it is therefore desirable to continue the thorough reform of media formats and further the breadth and depth of media convergence.

5.2 Outlook and Suggestions for Formats of Media Convergence 5.2.1 Form New Formats: Innovate Media Services Today, the media has entered a smart and converged age. Smart media converges the business of radio and television, the Internet and mobile networks, and, with the support of smart big data, converges business and services that are spread across different media. Media forms are consequently innovated and resource flow, content compatibility, publicity fusion and benefit sharing achieved, which in turn brings more innovations in business and service models. With the view of serving individuals, families, institutions and governments, the focus on and the exploration of the innovation of business and service models of converged media are combined with its innovation technological conditions. Areas such as news and information, leisure and entertainment, shopping and value-added services are explored, along with the consequent expansion and innovation of business models. Firstly, the subjects of the services of converged media are diverse. The expansion from a monotonous media with a monotonous service to individuals, families, institutions and governments also means a broader scope of services with greater intensity. Meanwhile, the value of the media will also increase further. How to better serve different subjects is the basic starting point in the study of the business and service innovation of converged media. Secondly, the business and service innovation of converged media is not independent of the support of technological innovation, and being technologically driven has already become a distinctive feature of the development of converged media. Given the current circumstances, the business and service innovation of converged media


5 Prospects for Media Convergence

must correspond to the characteristics of being mobile. Mobile Internet should be used as the breakthrough point for convergence while prioritising the application of mobile technology. The convergence of different media needs to be achieved for cross-screen collaboration and the simultaneous coverage and distribution on different channels and media. Furthermore, the support of big data and AI is required to provide smart content planning, gathering and editing and distribution, as well as smart business operations. How to apply the latest technology to business and service innovation and even prompt technological innovation through business are key factors that this study must consider. Thirdly, the business- and service-innovation system of converged media may be described through the exploration of the diverse business- and service-model innovation of converged media and the new changes and trends of business types, service and profit models and operating mechanisms. Research may be done via the following four major categories: I. Innovation of news-and-information service models News and information are the basic business category of the media. News and information of converged media need to break down the barrier of existing media forms and converge content such as videos, sound, pictures and text, in order to achieve the simultaneous information coverage and distribution on different media platforms with a single click. The pending question for conventional radio and television is how to achieve the simultaneous transmission of news and information on different platforms and media, as well as achieving targeted smart distribution with the help of big data. II. Innovation of leisure-and-entertainment service models Leisure and entertainment services such as videos, audio files, music and gaming are also the basic business categories of the media. The entertainment features of the media will expand tremendously in the age of converged media. How conventional radio and television achieve smarter collaboration between big and small screens, and how to enhance the entertainment-service experience of converged media by giving full play to the respective advantages of household big screens, mobile-phone screens and computer screens are some of the points worth considering for the media. III. Innovation of shopping-service models As e-commerce develops, online shopping has become a very important way of shopping and has introduced new business models for the media. In the age of converged media, radio and television shopping needs to break free from computer and mobile-phone screens. It needs to expand to big screens at home to achieve omnimedia shopping and construct an all-round, integrated shopping scenario, so as to innovate the business model of the media. IV. Innovation of value-added service models Converged media has greatly expanded the development space of the media and allowed its provision of myriads of services, including a general information-service centre; education, medical and life services (utility, domestic-service, food, hotel and bus enquiries); administrative services (household registration, housing security,

5.2 Outlook and Suggestions …


employment, family planning, social security, medical treatment and party building); telecommunications (video calls); and smart home. Conventional radio and television should therefore explore the viability of different value-added services and study the demand, operating mechanisms and development models, in order to further the breadth and width of the services of converged media while experimenting with a more diverse profit model. Fourthly, due to the innovation of the different business and service models mentioned above, conventional radio and television will continue to expand their scope of operations. Their operating models will also expand from the current focus on advertising to a diverse revenue model of “advertising + ratings + e-commerce + services”, thus further enlarging and improving the socioeconomic benefits of converged media. The effective expansion of new operating models will facilitate the all-round enhancement of socioeconomic benefits of converged media, so it may better satisfy the cultural-consumption demands of the public. Furthermore, while expanding their business strength, capital is also a critical force that boosts the communication power of conventional radio and television. Communication power is closely linked to user number, brand influence and technologicaldevelopment capacity, while user maintenance, brand promotion and technologicalproduct development are dependent on capital support. This is the typical means of how Internet platforms expand and grow, as well as what sets the development of new-media groups apart from that of conventional mainstream media. The accumulation of capital through capital operations helps converged-media platforms popularise their brands among users. They will also consequently be able to reform and innovate the institutional systems and expand and grow rapidly, which will bolster their communication power and enhance the overall strength of the converged-media platforms. In the age of conventional media, external collaboration primarily took place through media industry chains, such as the business means of secondary sales. However, in the age of media convergence, such external collaboration can no longer satisfy the demands of media development and audience consumption. As a result, conventional radio and television need to use mobile new media as a means of access and combine information communication and social services. They may expand their business through cross-industry convergence, in order to form a business structure that may be sustainably developed. For example, the Chinese city Qingdao controls and forms a matrix with products such as Smart Qingdao and Handy Qingdao. And using technological means, such as cloud computing, big data and mobile Internet, it integrates local information resources to create a central smart-application portal for different platforms, including media, government, businesses, public and communities. It has built a nationally leading smart-city system of “applications + information + interaction” that provides users with an integrated platform for life, work and services, which corresponds to basic user needs, allowing it to extensively foster user habits and reinforce user stickiness [5]. In the context of media convergence, conventional radio and television should solve key issues related to smart converged media, including the consumption behaviour, psychology, ideas and scenarios of media-content consumers, using


5 Prospects for Media Convergence

media-content service products through the interactions that arise from converged platforms, including demand growth, user-data accumulation and the integration of content-resource allocation and distribution channels. By doing so, it is hoped that they may break through the current ecological forms of radio and television and converged media and create more new business models in the future. The author hereby puts forward the following plans: 1. Radio and television + live streaming: Live streaming is directly combined with radio and television networks in the future. Taking advantage of the token accumulation of radio and television networks, viewers may reward the anchors they admire, which cuts off the intermediate links and reduces such costs. In addition to improving the interactions between viewers and anchors, token accumulation may be used to vote for competitors on talent shows, allowing viewers to cast their vote as they please while ensuring the authenticity of the data. 2. Radio and television + value networks: Value networks such as radio and television and the IoT may be easily connected through the use of cross-chain technology and token transactions of blockchains. Viewers may turn the mining tokens of their fitness trackers to the tokens for radio and television networks to pay for their favourite programmes, or convert the radio and television tokens received from viewing length to mobile-network tokens to top up their mobile phones. Information, data and value deserts will disappear in the future, as blockchains achieve true information, data and value exchanges. Furthermore, business innovation requires more than simply innovative ideas, but also the corresponding production relationships. The outdated institutional systems of conventional media are no longer suitable for the development of new media, and have become one of the key factors holding back media convergence. Against the background of media convergence, radio and television development needs compatible institutional systems, which is why the reform and innovation of the institutional systems of mainstream media are imminent. A model based on the rule of law that is institutionalised, regulated and scientific should be adopted as soon as possible for new mainstream media [6]. Meanwhile, in terms of internal organisation, administrative barriers exist among departments that are engaged in independent production work, leaving little contact and communication between them and making resource sharing and coordination difficult. In addition to the disconnected conventional departments, the relationship between new and conventional media is lukewarm, allowing no unified coordination. New-media departments are either entirely separated from conventional departments and unable to use the advantageous resources of conventional media, forcing them to produce content independently, or are placed completely under conventional managing departments, which manage the new-media departments with conventional approaches, thus choking the development of new media. Efficiency may only be optimised and resources saved by breaking down the administrative barriers and building omnimedia centres while devising a uniform means of staff allocation for different departments.

5.2 Outlook and Suggestions …


Finally, new media formats should be formed and all-round convergence achieved through the organic combination with new technology industries, so as to continuously breathe new life into format convergence, such as robot reporters as supported by AI. Robot reporters are currently in its initial stage and primarily write dataintensive factual reports such as financial reports, stock information, weather reports and sports events. The future model of robot reporters needs to be explored based on further understanding of the potential of AI, so the efficiency of news writing may be enhanced during media convergence. The upgrade of the creators’ niche will also be encouraged while the enthusiasm and creativity of industry workers aroused, which will lead to the development of new media formats with more distinctive features and the achievement of the eventual goal of convergence.

5.2.2 Foster New Talents: Build Up Professional Omnimedia Reserves The arrival of the age of converged media will inevitably impose stringent requirements for news talents, and the existing talent-cultivation model will be inadequate. How to foster complex and all-round talent that conforms to the omnimedia trend has become a key in the development of the media industry. Reporters and content teams in their conventional sense can no longer adapt to the growing audience demand for diversity and personalisation against the background of omnimedia. The expedited formation of talent teams that correspond to the technological development and public demands is of great urgency. Liu is of the opinion that the current cultivation of innovative talent for media convergence should correspond to the four new omnimedia expositions proposed by President Xi at the collective study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, namely “all-process media”, “all-information media”, “all-personnel media” and “all-effect media”. Currently, capacities in the following four aspects are the primary goals for the cultivation of new talent by conventional media, namely product-production capacity, new-technology application capacity, public-opinion swaying capacity and pan-media capacity [7]. Moreover, the age of media convergence strongly calls for complex news media workers who are adapted to new media and work-process changes, while news gathering and editing personnel need to be capable of the general use of multimedia forms and techniques, such as the capacity to handle and integrate news resources, the in-depth and complex knowledge structure and the capacity to integrate communication thinking [8]. As converged-media bodies set up new news posts, the fostering of new news talent is of great urgency. Song Yi introduced ten new news posts in modern U.S. and illustrated how they exploit new technologies:


5 Prospects for Media Convergence

I. Audience analysts Since network media gained popularity in the mid-90s, the need for news media to understand the news consumption of its audience also grew with each passing day. The emergence of audience analysts is to help newsrooms better understand their audiences. USA Today’s news website The Journal News has set up the post, whose responsibilities specifically include two aspects: first is the mining, recording and analysis of quantitative data and information, and second is the provision of information for analysis and planning. II. Engagement editors Engagement editors are the contact persons between news-editing teams and the audiences, and their responsibilities include making sure the news stories can evoke audience sympathy and discovering the best communication strategies to deliver them to different media platforms. CNN has set up such position. III. Creative leads of applied technologies Creative leads of applied technologies are primarily responsible for the design of VR projects. They create conceptual art based on an assumption, make news storyboards and build prototypes before testing them out with VR headsets. Afterwards, they work with the design and editing teams to develop an immersive news-experience project for the audience. Currently, USA Today has set up such position. IV. Social-media and community editors Social-media and community editors wear different hats and need to publish the latest articles, images and videos on social media around the clock, in order to satisfy audience demands on social media, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Reddit, Flickr, VK, Vine Instagram and Snapchat. has set up such post. V. Directors of social discovery Certain media, such as BuzzFeed and CNN, offer social-media platforms for the audiences to upload their own pictures, videos and news information. Directors of social discovery and their teams will assess the material, find witnesses, select the best UGC and turn them into popular news stories. In the event of unexpected incidents, they promptly gather and edit and comment on the news. BuzzFeed and CNN have set up such post. VI. Mobile-project managers The responsibilities of mobile-project managers include coordinating and improving the daily collaboration between software and application developers and editing teams. The Wall Street Journal has set up such post. In general, mobile-project managers need to constantly consider how to strengthen the features of application programmes and develop new editing strategies, such as repairing front-end loopholes, improving back-end work process, perfecting the techniques of media advertising and providing solutions to user complaints. Mobile-project managers maximise the work efficiency of programme developers by weighing the tasks.

5.2 Outlook and Suggestions …


VII. Consumer-experience directors The job of consumer-experience directors is to help the media understand the interests of the audiences with the help of analysis software. They also need to prioritise the needs and experience of news-information consumers when creating and launching news products. The Desert Sun has set up such post. VIII. Live editors Live editors are responsible for providing social media with video-editing and release services and attracting audiences to the live streaming. The Washington Post is among the media and platforms to have set up such post. IX. Heads of innovation labs Heads of innovation labs lead the teams to come up with and improve solutions for the interaction between news media and the audience, such as launching a mobile online application programme or providing interactive videos—for example Facebook Messenger. Heads of innovation labs are members of news-editing teams and devise new plans through exchanging ideas with news reporters and editors. They also adopt or develop new technologies for news coverage. Meanwhile, they communicate with partners and technological providers, and assess and execute assumptions based on business effects and technological innovation to ensure the smooth launch of collaborative projects. NBC News’s Today Digital has set up such post. Each innovation project is regarded as an experiment, and from a technological perspective, the experiments may be divided into three categories: on-site, non-on site and the IoT. X. VR editors and stitchers VR editors and stitchers use VR technology to introduce audiences to VR news and documentaries. They create short news videos for social media and ensure the VR news coverage is seamlessly connected to actual scenarios. HuffPost’s RYOT has set up such post. The above ten emerging media posts offer a basic understanding of the makings of the talent required for contemporary and even future media convergence, as well as provide specific directions towards which contemporary talent cultivators may work. The essential qualities for future media talent include an understanding and the use of new technologies, a comprehensive knowledge system, a converged macro-perspective, exceptional media learning and proficiency in emerging media technology. In terms of talent cultivation, main educational bodies, particularly tertiary institutes, and main industrial bodies, particularly the media, need to give full play to their respective advantages and combine industries, universities and research institutes. In addition to fostering talent, they need to introduce the talent to media convergence, so as to allow them to display their abilities. For main educational bodies that are fostering the talent, focusing sharply on the continuous innovative development of media convergence and the changing industry needs, they need to devise a dynamic academic-based adjustment mechanism and vigorously promote the convergence of technology and education and the combination of industries and universities. The core status of talent cultivation needs to


5 Prospects for Media Convergence

be foregrounded, and efforts need to be made in the fostering of innovative talent with a sense of historic calling and social responsibility. Building upon the feature of having a profound foundation with extensive expertise, talent-cultivation plans need to be optimised and the mechanisms innovated. Cultivation models that are personalised and products of domestic and foreign collaboration need to be vigorously promoted, so as to comprehensively improve the overall qualities, scientific learning and creativity of students. Guided by major and pressing national strategic demands, key scientific issues and innovation fields as well as the realistic current and future demands of the industry, a dynamic curriculum-development mechanism needs to be devised and professional-structure optimised. Meanwhile, educational features need to be foregrounded and educational models continuously innovated. In addition, an interdisciplinary talent-cultivation model should be created, which should be intermeshed and supported internally, the ever extending and expanding indepth external collaboration, overlapping and integrated and innovation-oriented. In terms of concrete measures, building upon the existing academic fields and specific academic directions, the fostering of high-grade, targeted and sophisticated talent will further perfect the academic system for the cultivation of master’s and Ph.D. graduates in key innovation fields of smart converged media. An evaluation model based chiefly on professional skills should be be launched, an innovation foundation for converged media established and exhaustive scientific evaluation-index and quality-control systems created to ensure the cultivation quality. For main industry bodies that are fostering the talent, not only do radio and television businesses need to focus on talent cultivation when transitioning to the newmedia field, they must also establish rational talent-introduction and -management mechanisms. They need to give full play to the talent resources and avoid the risks that come with the flow of talent resources. When developing new-media business, conventional television media should build a rational organisational structure and cross-media application forms and perfect the talent-evaluation system, in order to overturn the outworn custom of hierarchy and boldly innovate employment mechanism. Media workers should be provided with opportunities to attain their ideals through a rational system that ensures the stability of talent resources, along with effective incentive mechanisms that tap into the potential of the talent. Meanwhile, when developing new media, radio and television should adopt the following talent strategies: attract talent with professional development, gather talent with the strength of the media and keep talent with a salary standard that matches their value. In terms of cultivation, HBS and Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation all have unique experience. For instance, Mango TV has recruited a great number of outstanding programmeproducing talent, including many top Chinese directors and playwrights, who provide the talent support for the refined content production. The platform has also held frequent training for media convergence, covering the national and international media-convergence trends and related technical skills. To adapt to the new demands for omnimedia talent, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation also adjusted its recruitment approach and increased the number of operational and technical talent. It has also relaxed the requirements, as it continued to increase the number of recruited newmedia talent. Take the creation of and its new clients for example,

5.2 Outlook and Suggestions …


to make up the shortfall in new-media talent, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation recruited over 20 people at once. Meanwhile, to encourage the creative teams of its online programmes to give full play to their creativity, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation enthusiastically support teams that create original content, which to a certain extent plays an active role in fostering innovative talent. For media workers in the age of media convergence, the evolution from paper media to Weibo and WeChat and then videos, mobile web pages and VR panorama means omnimedia reporters have become the demand of the times. Communicators of the smart age should produce more news products that correspond to user needs with greater innovation enthusiasm, as they undergo the test of media convergence. Smart-media thinking needs to de developed and smart-media practice perfected to form a powerful smart-communication fresh force. Media workers in the smart age need to strive to become omnimedia professionals who lead the megatrends of media convergence and smart-media development. “Adapt to the development of the times with self-reform, strengthen the mainstream structure with convergence and empower the voice of the times with content innovation”.

5.2.3 Ensure Security: Step Up Management and Monitoring of Converged Media To conform to the healthy development of converged media, it is especially important to strengthen its macro-management and supervision. Media security is not just about the sustainable development of the media, but also about social stability and national security. In the age of major media convergence, the audience number of converged media is growing, turning it into an official mainstream media platform. Since conventional media is not based on the Internet, the many security issues related to the Internet have relatively little impact on it. Converged media, in contrast, is new and based on the Internet, and converged-media bodies have little experience when it comes to dealing with cyber attacks. Unfortunately, convergedmedia bodies will become the main subjects of hostility. Once loopholes are found and latently controlled, there will be significant risks of hostile forces interfering with public opinion at critical points and during critical periods. And as the influence of converged-media bodies expands with the growing number of audiences, the consequences will be disastrous. In addition to considering security issues before the building of basic infrastructure, different links of converged media, such as content production and consumption, must be kept safe. This may be achieved, for example, by providing the content of converged media with trusted certification and verification for its copyright, with homology analysis and tamper detection and with compliance audit. Issues related to the operational security of converged-media platforms and the smart supervision and management of converged-media content therefore require research and solutions, and the author is of the opinion that the development


5 Prospects for Media Convergence

and protection of “new security” must take place in the following aspects in the context of new media: I. The operational security of media-convergence platforms Potential security issues need to be systematically researched focusing on the features of the software, hardware and application of converged media during the process of media convergence. Not only does this require taking into full consideration the different security issues at the beginning of the process, but also the designing of a security-defence system to avoid risks and reduce security incidents. Meanwhile, security must be maintained during operations, security loopholes promptly fixed and contingency response and restoration properly managed to minimise the impacts of security incidents. Furthermore, contingency-response plans for the cyber security of converged media need to be formulated, and the potential consequences of security incidents analysed to devise different contingency-response plans accordingly. Preparations should also be in place in areas such as personnel, systems and response process, so the impacts may be eliminated as soon as possible. More specifically, security protection at this level also includes the following: The first concerns issues such as cyber, system and software security of media convergence. To address these issues, key technologies need to be vigorously developed for the identification and blocking of security issues during media operations, such as information theft, data sabotage, backdoor access and account theft. Efforts should also be put into the development of dedicated honeypot technology and systems that simulate the software and hardware features of the media. Furthermore, experts should be called on to deliberate on the development of a security-data collection, analysis and evaluation system for converged media, and study the means of data collection, storage, analysis and presentation focusing on the security operations and maintenance of converged media. Key security-operation and -maintenance technologies and utility systems based on data analysis need to be researched and developed for security-incident detection and blocking and security-system control. Meanwhile, a coordinated defence mechanism needs to be analysed and evaluated for the security of the border between the system and conventional networks, so a platform with a comprehensive converged-media security infrastructure may be created. The second is the development of a security and defence range system for media convergence. The range is a key platform for defence and attack drills and defencepersonnel training, as well as a platform for the verification of attacks and defensive measures. The key to strengthening the overall defence capacity is to create a range system focusing on the software, hardware and application features of the convergedmedia centres. The third is the research for solutions to the slow-release mechanisms for the secure operations of the converged-media centres. Effective management measures need to be developed, including plans for regular security maintenance and test and appraisal, security-test plans for software and hardware updates and the reporting, fixing and announcement procedures for security loopholes.

5.2 Outlook and Suggestions …


II. Research on smart supervision and management of the content of media convergence The security protection of the content of media convergence is that of a full life cycle and includes stages such as content production, review, release, communication and use. Throughout the whole life cycle, the content must be kept secure and protected. The key content of future development includes: The first is the smart detection of and emergency response to the content security of media convergence. Media content may, during the process communication, face security issues such as bad and false information, online rumours, intellectualproperty theft, malicious tampering, illegal sharing and impersonation and forgery. Smart means should be adopted to automatically detect, discover and analyse these unexpected and abnormal circumstances, and key technologies introduced to distinguish and confirm them, including copyright protection, evidence gathering for tampering and content review. In addition, in response to abnormal circumstances, an emergency-response system needs to be created, including response plans and procedure and active-response mechanisms, so as to devise a security and protection system with smart monitoring, auto detection and prompt response. The second is the protection of content copyrights of media convergence based on blockchains. Digital copyright-protection technology needs to be researched, in particular for the copyright-protection demands that arise from media-content production, release, communication and use, including the rights of content creators, copyright disputes, illegal copying and piracy. Existing copyright-protection means mostly are based on the authorisation and verification of digital content by third-party facilities, such as the Copyright Protection Center of China. The decentralised, hardto-tamper, trackable, open and transparent features of blockchains may be combined with blockchain-based research on key technologies such as copyright registration, record-keeping, circulation records, tracking and source tracking, so as to create a set of copyright registration and management system for the digital content of media bodies, while supporting and ensuring the registration, use, popularisation and protection of the intellectual property of the content of media converge. To sum up, security technology should be introduced to protect the security and the supervision and management of the operating platforms and content communication of media convergence, so the converged-media platforms and the media content remain secure and trustworthy. A cleaner network space for the operations of converged media will consequently be created, and the following goals may also be achieved: application monitoring and access regulation, news and public-sentiment tracking and automatic immunisation to keep the platforms safe.


5 Prospects for Media Convergence

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