Convergence: A case study of fan community

BuddyTV is an entertainment-based website founded by Andy Liu and David Niu in 2005, who realized that television is a “very passive or non-social experience”. It generates contents about popular TV episodes and sporting events. Users interact with each other and the official website through a series of articles, games, photos, videos, and user forums. The website is also designed for real-time commentary for sports, allowing former players and fans to broadcast their opinions on games.

Internet provides a great online platform for fans of all kinds of events to share their mania. Nowadays, websites like BuddyTV show the convergence culture of users’ media participation pattern. The boundary of media production and media consumption is no longer clear. Fans could summarize episodes, create original fan fiction, sample their favorite dialogue, make their own movies and distribute them worldwide through these interactive fan websites.  

BuddyTV.com allows users to sign up with for personal email notifications or through their Facebook accounts (I found this appealing because almost everyone has a Facebook page which provides convenient way to log on). Users also could follow their favorite episodes and sports events on Twitter and Facebook to get latest update news. There are five major sections on BuddyTV.com, TV shows, actors, news, photos, and games. Site users could upload recent news, photos, videos of a game or episode, initiate discussion and polls or only be receivers of those media patterns. What’s fascinating about this website is that it allows live broadcasting. Users could communicate with each other and load their comments with episodes and games synchronously. They could also browse each other’s Facebook page just by clicking each other’s avatar on BuddyTV.com. Also, you can grade another user’s video or comments or send gifts to other users.

Here is an article called “Community of Passionate Fans Leads to Redemption for ‘Firefly’” published on Washington Business Journal. A group of a popular “Firefly” TV show fans voluntarily gathered together through the power of social media and word of mouth to produce a fan-made film “Serenity”. This movie is just released on September 4, 2010. They have raised &500,000 for five charities related to the creator and cast of the original TB show. This fan event proved how powerful a fan community could be and how convergent  an online fan community culture is.

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September 10, 2010. Uncategorized.

5 Comments

  1. paulacunniffe replied:

    Buddy TV seems like a mixture of facebook, youtube and fan fiction. Users are engaging and participating with the TV shows on so many different levels. The example of fans producing and funding a movie does show the power of these fan communities. This seems like a good platform for consumers of TV to move away from being a passive audience, interact with others and produce their own content.

  2. morganyang replied:

    I like the idea that to link some of the online social networks. Like you mentioned that Buddy TV provides access toward facebook. Actually, this is one good example for the convergence. And,it is interesting to hear “fan fiction”. That is really the one fans(audience as well as consumer) can give feedback and inspiration to the producer. I have seen this culture “fan fiction” back in my country, Taiwan. Our culture deeply affected by Japanese culture. The fan fiction has been developed in the comic book industry long time ago.

  3. makeyourself270 replied:

    Buddy TV seems to be a prime example of how labeling different type of media and technology is becoming exceedingly difficult and maybe useless. I originally wanted to say that this is more an example of web 2.0, but it definitely also falls into the category of convergent media. The consumer/production interaction on not only original content, but also commercially produced content is an excellent idea. The features that allow people to link up through their favorite commercially produced media probably facilitates the formation and growth of communities that later take advantage of the features for original content production. I’m also a fan of anything that could potentially lead to a firefly revival. 🙂

  4. Mindy McAdams replied:

    BuddyTV is a good choice. However, the article you linked does not mention BuddyTV — not even once. Also, it’s not clear from what you have written whether you have read Deuze’s article.

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