Transmedia is as important as original content
Transmedia can be defined as “the simultaneous promotion of a product via a number of media channels, at least one of which is interactive.” (Sokolva, 2012, p.1567) While transmedia is often used as a promotional tool and advertising content to generate interest in the original product, as media technologies have advanced, the value of transmedia has increased to the point where it is inherently tied for significance with the actual media content it was created for. New media is heavily participation based, formed by creative contributions by audience, where digital narratives form communities and online leaders emerge and in due course fan culture is often developed and in turn more transmedia is created. The building of these new communities in response to media is how we “construct and visualise stories – both from fact and fiction – to make sense of the world around us and that by analysing and deconstructing these narratives as researchers we review, challenge or change erroneous or simply dominant knowledge paradigms.” (Weedon, Knight 2015, p.405) I decided to make a collage surrounding the Star Wars franchise – one of the more prolific generators of transmedia content – and in which not all of the many individual artefacts are in the collage demonstrates the extent the franchise has grown to create media for it’s audience. The production of this content is not only important to us now as an audience of one of the most successful franchises ever created, but also to the history of the franchise and it’s longevity, in that the franchise would not have survived past the original trilogy if not for the success of the novel series that maintained the audience interest until the prequels were created. If not for this maintained interest, we would not have the success of the series, but the future content such as various games, graphic novels, table top games, and spin-off television programs and films. In such fan communities, the content produced is the appealing factor, and those invested in a franchise will seek out all of the authentic content they can, to the extent where “it is not as much the size of the collection as its unique and its inclusion of canon [content] that counts.” (Brown, 1997 p. 23) This seeking out of valuable content true to the source and the spirit of the story inspires fan content-creation, and in turn the creation of fan content that generates more interest and subsequently increases the audience. The transmedia generated by both official and fan sources is both mutually beneficial to the industry and to the audience, in that they both create the means to create more content through mutual support.
Sokolova, N., 2012, Co-opting Transmedia consumers: User content as Entertainment or ‘Free Labour’? The Cases of S.T.A.L.K.E.R and Metro 2033, Europe-Asia Studies
Knight, J, Weedon, A, 2015, Media Literacy and Transmedia Storytelling, The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies vol. 21, UK
Brown, J, 1997, Comic Book Fandom and Cultural Capital, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, USA