Friday, December 14, 2012

A Covert Take on Convergence Culture

        I don't watch television much (in fact, I don't even own one), but there is one show that I catch on iTunes every season: Covert Affairs. Maybe it's because the show is set in D.C. or maybe I'm just a sucker for spy-on-spy action, but I'm quite a fan. I've even "liked" the show's official Facebook page and I'm guilty of visiting the Covert Affairs online homepage whenever I feel like procrastinating. This time, it actually yielded something more productive than a mindless scroll through pictures from the latest episode. I realized that the marketing campaign for Covert Affairs puts convergence culture on display to the max.
        In addition to providing cast member information, photos and episode summaries, the website features everything from interactive quizzes to contests to engage with interested visitors of the site. The social interaction element of the website and the show's promotion campaigns are particularly striking. The website features a separate "SOCIAL" tab, under which lies links to platforms for fan involvement such as the Mobile Fan Club, Message Board, Send Us Your Comments, Newsletter and links to the official Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. The show even encourages viewer involvement during the broadcast through games and contests that are launched live simultaneous to an episode's broadcast. In addition to the dozen games offered on the website, "Sights Unseen" is an "interactive prequel" to the show that apparently features a direct fan-involvement component. 
         The producers of Covert Affairs obviously highly value fan involvement in crafting new storylines and character developments for future episodes. The homepage of the Covert Affairs website features a prominent box featuring the headline, "We Want to Hear from You!" They've actually created a separate e-mail account for receiving and managing comments and feedback from viewers. Encouraging viewers to send in their comments, the website states, "This is you chance to make your voice heard! We can't respond to every comment, but we WILL read them! Promise!" Covert Affairs seems to be a case of a win-win-situation for both producers and consumers in a practical example of convergence culture in today's entertainment media. It also incorporates the manifestation of convergence culture that combines traditional forms of media with upcoming ones, such as the social media involvement that accompanies live television broadcasts. 

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