Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Media International Australia: Beyond Broadcasting Now Available

The newest issue of Media International Australia is now out (though available only with subscription, I'm afraid), and provides a collection of articles exploring the special issue theme "Beyond Broadcasting? TV for the Twenty-First Century". Edited by Graham Meikle and Sherman Young (and including a new article by yours truly), the theme articles deal with a variety of issues - policy, cultural, political - currently taking center stage, as television moves away from traditional models and into new practices, technologies and formats. A number of general articles are also included in the issue - of special interest to kids' media researchers is the article by Geoff Lealand and Ruth Zanker describing findings of a recent study of New Zealand children's "media worlds". My own contribution to the issue addresses the shift toward and use of MMOGs by children's television networks, the product of a preliminary study into kids' media convergence I conducted last spring, which I also presented at a couple of conferences in October (UDC and aoir 8.0). Here's the abstract (which might already be somewhat familiar to regular Gamine Expedition readers):
This paper traces the migration of North American children’s television into the realm of massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), and the issues this raises in terms of the commercialisation of children’s (digital) play. Through a content analysis of three television-themed MMOGs targeted to children, Nickelodeon’s Nicktropolis, Cartoon Network’s Big Fat Awesome House Party and Corus Entertainment’s GalaXseeds, I examine how this new development within children’s online culture operates in relation to existing industry practices of cross-media integration and promotion. Dominant trends identified in the content analysis are compared with emerging conventions within the MMOG genre, which is generally found to contain numerous opportunities for player creativity and collaboration. Within the cases examined, however, many of these opportunities have been omitted and ultimately replaced by promotional features. I conclude that all three case studies operate primarily as large-scale advergames, promoting transmedia intertextuality and third-party advertiser interests.


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