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Taking a Look at Transmedia

Taking a Look at Transmedia

Chris Sullivan


By Chris Sullivan, Regional Vice President, Sales, Bunchball
Chris Sullivan, @Sully63

Have you been hearing the term Transmedia a lot lately? I certainly have from the Media clients that I work with. So I went to Wikipedia to check the definition.

“Transmedia storytelling (also known as multiplatform storytelling) is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies, not to be confused with traditional cross-platform media franchises, sequels or adaptations.

From a production standpoint, it involves creating content that engages an audience using various techniques to permeate their daily lives. In order to achieve this engagement, a transmedia production will develop stories across multiple forms of media in order to deliver unique pieces of content over multiple channels. Importantly, these pieces of content are not only linked together (overtly or subtly), but are in narrative synchronization with each other”.

It is still the early days in this genre but in its purest form this type of entertainment experience is very compelling for the audience and takes advantage of the multi-screen craze that has infiltrated living rooms everywhere. How many screens are going when your family is watching TV? In my house two teenagers and one soon-to-be teenager ensures that there is never a lull in the digital action.

Jesse Redniss, Sr. VP for Digital at USA Network is a true pioneer in this space. The recent Hashtag Killer gamification campaign was created to support their Psych program. At The Mike Johnson blog, you can view a video of Jesse Redniss at Social Media Week running down the program itself and some of the amazing results it drove:

  • 128 million total page views
  • 15 minutes per visit on the site
  • 60% of users returned more than five times
  • 15% of users returned every day

These types of transmedia experiences will become more and more prevalent as creative marketers learn to utilize all the tools at their disposal to drive sustainable engagement. The audience will continue to participate more fully when they can be an integral part of the story itself.

This past weekend I was in Baltimore and went to the building where they filmed one of my favorite shows from back in the day, Homicide Life on the Street. If you happen to be a fan of The Wire, Homicide was its predecessor. Now, nearly 20 years after the program debuted, I can still remember how riveted I was with the story and the characters that drove it. If today’s technology existed back then I am sure I would have happily participated in an ongoing digital loyalty program as a fan of the show and in the transmedia experiences that flow from it.

At Bunchball, we are proud to be a small part of the group of partners working with USA Network to break new ground!

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