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Abstract

The term ‘convergence’ has often been used over the last decade to describe the processes through which technologies, such as computers, telephony and broadcasting, have come together to spark the so-called ‘communication revolution’. This revolution has been greatly hyperbolised by a number of influential commentators in industry, government and academia. It is the aim of this paper to bring a more grounded approach to the study of convergence, in respect to consumption studies. Convergence has more noticeably been associated with the production side of technology studies, particularly in the development and emergence of new technological systems, such as ICTs. Whilst most of the interest in this concept lies in this domain, I wish to extend the current conceptualisation of the notion to the often neglected field of technology consumption. With the convergence of media technologies, early research in the field suggests that the use and consumption of media technologies, both old and new, is being irrevocably transformed. New media networks need to be subjected to a reformulation, which involves a rethinking of the notion of the audience, and how the audience is to be studied and conceptualised in the new media environment. This paper reports on doctoral research which uses the notion of ‘consumption convergence’ to explain how media networks have come together, and how the consumption of media texts is taking place simultaneously and in close proximity to one another. It is concerned with how this transformation will influence current and future notions of the audience and uses empirical research into the domestication and use of internet technologies.

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