Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cross country for cross-media (6)

The discussion about cross-media is fascinating. While we were discussing the term at CMID07 in Lapland (Sweden) and most of the particpants (see photograph of all the participants)were treating cross-media as a new phenomenon, it was during a X-Melina workshop in Tampere (Finland) in 2004 that there was a discussion whether the term cross-media was sustainable. So during the debate I made clear my stand (see photograph below).

During that workshop Mr Koopee Hiltunen of the Finnish cross-media company Haukion puts forwards the thesis that intuitively many people in the trade know what the term means. In fact, cross-media is hardly made explicit as a definition. Cross-media is part of the media universe; cross-media has become the default mode of making media. Users are so accustomed to cross-media, that they do not notice its presence; but they will notice its absence.

For professionals cross media will put some burden on their skills. They will need a wide understanding of the whole media universe. Project management skills will become highly valued. Ideas will be valued greatly. Digital story telling becomes prominent. Design (visual, structural, narrative, usability) will be one of the greatest challenges in cross-media productions. Looking at the industry, Koopee Hiltunen predicts that marketing communications and games and the combination thereof will be the driving forces behind cross-media.

Following Mr Kopee Hiltunen’s line of thinking, I believe that the term cross-media will not survive explicitly but implicitly. The term is not really sustainable. But Mr Kopee Hiltunen made some worthwhile observations. He stated that the term is part of the media universe, in fact the default mode of making media. In other words, cross-media is an operational term for creative production networks in companies and in the economic context.

In this light it is crazy to use the term to readers of the Dutch newspaper as Celebrating their first anniversary (will there be a next year?), the newspaper management stated that it wants to be a cross-media information brand. Presently the newspaper has an internet site and plans to have a television channel internet. Is this really cross-media or is it multiple media or are internet and the television channel just extensions? I would be impressed if they used day-parting in this so-called cross-media strategy.

Is cross-media a discipline. No. It is a way of thinking in media and communication. I personally believe that the term cross-media will survive as a professional term for media educators, for media makers (publishers, marketers, education) internally and for city or regional planning in order to describe the interaction between various creative disciplines.

Blog Posting Number: 707


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