Thursday, July 28, 2011
Transmedia—Is It the Last Great Idea?
Now comes along a new one from the world of marketing and media. The new buzzword that is sweeping Hollywood and the entertainment industry is transmedia. Just like all other buzz words, sometimes its meaning gets lost in the translation. Some people within the entertainment industry, especially at the studio level, are calling transmedia the last great idea. It would seem that the industry is betting the future on this new and emerging concept.
Transmedia storytelling is about creating multiple platforms and formats. The goal is to use mass media to develop a media franchise. It’s more than just merchandise. That’s been around since the days of Star Wars. The goal is to create an open source where the fans actually take ownership and help create content. You become the artist, and you add content to the original story. Or you enhance the original story.
Transmedia storytelling involves the concept of creating multiple platforms such as video games, books, websites, and spinoffs. But it goes beyond that to include social apps, messaging, phone apps, media plug-ins, and social networks which help create a sense of community. These days, the average Hollywood film costs about $103 million to produce and market. For that kind of money, the industry expects big returns. Although there is a danger in promoting an open source concept, such as transmedia, Hollywood believes it’s a necessity in our current business environment. They are convinced they can create an overreaching narrative structure by implementing the principles of multimedia storytelling.
For better or for worse, transmedia storytelling is not only today’s reality but the future. The days of stand-alone movies without the prospects of a sequel or franchise may very well be a fading memory or a distant view in our rear view mirror.