Transmedia Storytelling

Transmedia storytelling may sound like a modern-day concept, however, its origins date back to the early 1960’s to the Japanese strategy of media mix (Wikipedia, 2015).  Henry Jenkins (2007) defines Transmedia Storytelling (TS) as “a process where integral elements of fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story”. To put it simply, TS is telling a story acros multiple medial and preferably with a degree of audience participation, interaction or collaboration. Jenkins perfectly describe the media world we live in today where organisations, specifically franchises, employ various media platforms such as music, television, cinema, video games, and comics to promote and build their brand.

Transmedia Model

There are three types of transmedia storytelling according to Transmedia Storyteller, “the narrative spaces covered (location, characters, time), the number and relative timing of the platforms (sequential, parallel, simultaneous, non-linear), and the extent and type of audience involvement (passive, active, interactive, collaborative)” (2015).  According to Jenkins (2007) “Most often, transmedia stories are based not on individual characters or specific plots but rather complex fictional worlds which can sustain multiple interrelated characters and their stories. This process of world-building encourages an encyclopaedic impulse in both readers and writers”. This view is echoed by Scolari whom (2009) stresses, “TS is not just an adaption from one media to another. The story that the comics tell is not the same as that told on television or in cinema; the different media and languages participate and contribute to the construction of the transmedia narrative world” (p.587). Scolari (2009) believes that TS goes beyond the text and that it also greatly affects the transformations in the production and consumption processes. “Researchers and producers visualize new business opportunities for the media market as new generations of consumers develop the skills to deal with the flow of stories and become hunters of information from multiple sources” (Scolari, 2009, p.589).

Transmedia Storytelling & Marketing

Transmedia Storytelling has had a significant effect on today’s technology users, as people are now better able to access media information anytime and virtually anywhere. In order to stay relevant and engaging, the modern approach to marketing has definitely evolved to accommodate transmedia storytelling.The entertainment industry rely heavily on transmedia marketing, marketers can share their narrative world through a variety of channels such as Wed Sites, Apps, social media, cinema and so on. One of the latest multimedia franchises to date is The Hunger Games trilogy created by Suzanne Collins. The novels include, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, which have been developed into a series of films. Lionsgate and advertising agency Campfire have undertaken a transmedia marketing strategy for the franchise, whereby a variety of social media platforms, fan participation, and brand cooperation are being utilised.

Hunger-Games-Collage

The Hunger Games Facebook page enables users to listen to the films soundtrack, play a demo of The Hunger Games Adventure iOS game, and Fight Hunger by donating to charities in the United States. A Capitol official website (http://www.thecapitol.pn/ ) has also been created to bring a sense of realism to the fictional world. Their Facebook page also chooses a “fan of the week” that is interviewed and published on the website. The franchise utilises YouTube through creating a fictional TV channel called Capitol TV Productions where videos are released and have been officially authorized by the Capitol for the consumption of district citizens (YouTube, 2015). In order to influence viewers to participate in The Hunger Games ‘world’, the organisation created a District Citizen Reel where people can share fan-made videos. Player Controls

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Transmedia Marketing Campaign

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNaDjJ-lsKQ

The transmedia marketing strategy that the franchise has adopted has been beneficial to the brand in terms of promoting the films and building a strong relationship with its fans. The Lionsgate social media campaign for The Hunger Games has so far proved to be a major success in marketing all three films, and influencing viewers to become active participants on various platforms.

References:

  1.   Jenkins, H. (2007). Confessions of an ACA-Fan The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins. Retrieved October 17, 2012, from http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html
  2.   Pont, S. (2013). The Better Mousetrap: Brand Invention in a Media Democracy. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  3.    Scolari, C.A. (2009). Transmedia storytelling: Implicit consumers, narrative worlds, and branding in contemporary media production. International Journal of Communication, 3, 586-606.
  4.  Transmedia Storyteller. (2012). Our 7 Tenets of Future Storyworlds. Retrieved on April 1, 2015, from: http://www.tstoryteller.com/our-7-tenets-of-future-storyworlds
  5. YouTube. 2015. Capitol TV: Uniting Citizens Through Panem. The Hunger Games Movie.Retrieved on April 2, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/user/TheHungerGamesMovie/capitoltv
  6. Wikipedia. (2015). Transmedia storytelling. The Free Encyclopedia.Retrieved on April 1, 2015, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmedia_storytelling

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