Convergence: more than meets the eye

The government has launched an investigation into convergence, but its focus is on the impact of the internet on the media industry. Why has it singled out one industry?

There’s no doubt that the internet is having a profound effect on the media landscape. It hit the newspapers first and with growing online viewing habits it will impact the TV industry too. That’s why, when the government issued the terms of reference for its Convergence Review yesterday, it said it was to “review the current policy framework for the production and delivery of media content and communications services”.

In other words, its real concern is how copyright, power and content regulations will shift with the increasing use of Internet Protocol delivery of content, particularly long form video content.

In my mind though, there’s more to convergence than what we watch. The internet is changing every industry in some form or other. The same questions about regulation and potential to exert power and control apply. More significantly, what if industries team up together to gather and share information they gather about our usage and behaviour? Powerful players across multiple industries could team together to exert even more market power.

It seems the government’s focus on the media is just a drop in the ocean considering the wholesale changes we can expect companies to behave in a post-NBN world. Convergence isn’t just between the media and the internet, it’s between the internet and all industries. Doesn’t the government get it?

In this week’s Twisted Wire you’ll hear a few excerpts from last week’s Broadband and Beyond 2011 conference, including:

  • Rachel Dixon, chief operating officer, Viocorp
  • Iarla Flynn, head of Policy & Government Affairs, Google
  • Malcolm Alder, partner, KPMG

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