Distorted Direction: A Critique of the Convergence Agenda in Media Policy Renewal


  • Rufus McEwan Auckland University of Technology




In August 2015, a New Zealand Government discussion paper entitled Exploring Digital Convergence was released with the stated aim of generating public debate regarding the implications of digital convergence and any prospective government response. At face value, this convergence discussion offered a vital opportunity for a review of New Zealand media and communications policy that follows international precedent. While it is readily accepted that established media structures are being confronted with growing uncertainty and the formation of new media practices invites a regulatory response, this paper is critical of the specific application of convergence in the reimagining of media policy. Despite popular currency, convergence remains a highly contentious subject in media scholarship, open to diverse interpretation. Using official government documents, public submissions and in-depth interviews with broadcast industry stakeholders, this article provides a critical examination of convergence discussion in New Zealand. Consequently, this paper argues that a convergence approach to media regulation is constrained by the assumptive logic and contested meaning of the concept and not conducive to establishing meaningful reform for New Zealand’s unique media landscape.