‘How I met your mother’ (HIMYM) ended after nine seasons. It ended and the internet almost exploded with outrage. The loyal viewers of the show felt betrayed after spending nine seasons following Ted’s looooong journey searching for the ‘one,’ just to witness him ending up where he started – *spoiler alert* With Robin.
The fans were outraged, and the producers were quick to announce that an alternative ending will be included in the show’s DVD set they will release. However, the ending apparently leaked online before the DVD set came out. This recent example illustrates two major downsides to term “convergence culture”. First the question of profits and second the question of ownership.
While “convergence culture” is a two-way street that both producers and consumer can gain from. it’s important to remember that other than a few, most consumers don’t generate profit from participating. The consumers might get satisfaction from participating, they might feel included and they might even take pride in their contribution. But the money and the control over the product and the market will remain with the producers. Deuze touches on that. In this case, some might even claim that the HIMYM producers disappointed the viewers on purpose, just so they could offer the “good” ending for a price.
The other side of the “convergence culture” coin is the question of ownership and rights. Some HIMYM loyal viewers might feel they share ownership on the alternative ending. They didn’t agree with the way the show ended and demanded an alternative. Some will say the whole idea was theirs. And why shouldn’t they feel ownership, after all they participated in viewing of the show, in discussing it online, in writing blogs about it and in sharing its content through social media. The ownership sentiment is so strong they don’t mind violating copyrights laws. This of course sabotages the producers’ plan and hurt them financially.
The idea of cooperation between creators and consumers in order to improve the product is wonderful and has many positive sides and examples. With that being said, “Convergence culture” has its downsides, especially when it comes down to profit and control, and as seen in the case of HIMYM, both sides might suffer in the end.