An entire quarters worth of work has been summed up on my new website, Transmedia Evolution (http://transmediaevolution.wordpress.com/). You can find information on the past, present, and future of Transmedia. You can also download my presentation, paper, and annotated bibliography. If you have any questions let me know. Thanks for a good quarter everyone!
The following slide deck is for my presentation on Transmedia in Evolutions and Trends in Digital Media at the University of Washington. It may not make too much sense on it’s own. If you have any questions post them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. Thanks!
This week’s post will focus on The Media Monopoly, by Ben H. Bagdikian. Bagdikian’s thesis is that mass media will choose what is better for businesses over what is better for society. I agree with his thesis, and would like to expand on some of his ideas further.
My work experience has put me in an interesting position. I have worked in a government broadcasting station for about two years and have seen the direct benefit a taxpayer-funded station can have on the public. With unbelievably limited staff resources, we can produce programs that educate and inform the public. Bagdikian states that government funded stations
“live on the knife-edge of unstable political appropriations and conservative attacks. Most stay alive by endless efforts to raise their own money from subscribers, and are forced to run commercials that duplicate those on the commercial stations. As a result, a real spectrum of non-commercial radio and television in the United States has remained skeletal” (Bagdikian, 1997).
He couldn’t be more right.
Even though these public stations have remained “skeletal”, I believe they still have a chance to thrive. Because of the evolution of technology it has become much easier to produce content. What used to take weeks can now be done in hours with tools like Final Cut Pro. High Definition video can be recorded with a cell phone. We don’t even need to capture content from tapes because of SD cards with well over 100 gigabytes of storage. A relatively small staff can create content that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars ten years ago. Because of these changes, government funded stations can produce higher quality content for a fraction of the price.
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Which Course theories best explain what has happened / might happen to Transmedia?
One of the best examples of course theory that pertains to Transmedia can be seen through Seeing What’s Next. In the book the authors explain that Undershot Customers are “consumers who consume a product but are frustrated with its limitations; they display willingness to pay more for enhancements along dimensions most important to them” (Anthony, Christensen, & Roth, 2004). People who engage with Transmedia are frustrated that they can only get a small portion of a story through one medium. They want the world to be expanded upon, and are willing to pay for comic books, video games, and other media that do that for them.
I may be able to use the theories of network effects to explain if a media property would benefit financially from Transmedia. If a show does not have that large of an audience, it may not be economically viable to create a Transmedia campaign for it. Some properties have a cult following where people create comics, video games, and other media for it. I will argue that while it may not be economically viable to create a Transmedia community, it can create a dedicated and engaged community.
Another course theory that explains how Transmedia provides a more engaging user experience is Fidler’s idea of Mediamorphosis. Transmedia is taking advantage of both social and technological innovations that have come along with Mediamorphosis. Socially, people want to dive deeper into their media. Technologically, the Internet has made it easier for the distribution of Transmedia stories across multiple platforms. I will use both Fidler and Henry Jenkins to talk about convergence culture.
This anotated bibliography will help explain how the future of media will be much richer and engaging through Transmedia storytelling.
Brooker, W. (2009). All Our Variant Futures: The Many Narratives of Blade Runner: The Final Cut. Popular Communication, 7(2), 79-91. doi:10.1080/15405700802659056
The article focuses on Blade Runner, the cult science fiction movie. It goes into depth on how the franchise was able to reinvent itself multiple times through releasing alternate versions of the movie. It also compares Blade Runner to other Transmedia campaigns, including the Star Wars franchise.
The author, Will Booker, is a professor at Kingston University in Australia.
I will use this work to compare techniques in Transmedia storytelling. I will explore the way Blade Runner was able to change it’s narrative multiple times in comparison with Star Wars, where the story can never be changed.
Even though the term “Tipping Point” might be overrated, it is a perfect phrase to explain the current state of the Internet. We are moving away from an era where independent websites could compete against larger ones, to a time when the largest websites on the Internet take up the majority of users time online. In addition to taking up users time, the websites will also be owned by a minority of companies. The article I choose to focus on for this weeks post in Evolutions and Trends in Digital Media was: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, by Yochai Benkler. Benkler raised some interesting points, but one area stood out that needs further exploration. On the topic of the Internet, the author stated that “The Internet as a technology, and the networked information economy as an organizational and social model for information and cultural production, promise the emergence of a substantial alternative platform for the public sphere”, I believe he is right, but this idea needs much more examination.
The overarching theme from Evolutions and Trends in Digital Media (and the TV show Battlestar Galactica) is: This has happened before and it will happen again. It seems as if new technologies are likely to follow the pattern of those that came before it. In this case, I think that the Internet will provide an “alternative platform for the public sphere”, but it will follow the same pattern of media concentration that television, radio, and print did.
In the United States, streaming live video to a mobile device is a fairly new and cumbersome process. Verizon’s V-Cast has allowed users to stream live TV over 3G onto mobile devices. In 2005, Korea launched a service called Digital Media Broadcasting (DMB). DMB allows for the transmission of live TV and data to mobile devices, such as cell phones, car navigation systems, and laptops. It comes in two forms, terrestrial (free), and satellite ($14 a month). The Satellite-DMB provides more channels and has better reception compared to Terrestrial-DMB. In 2009, a study called “Motivators for the intention to use mobile TV: A comparison of South Korean males and females” was conducted to examine how different genders view DMB in Korea, and the possible implications for marketing the service.
The responses from the 256 undergraduate students surveyed in Korea came in the form of both quantitative and qualitative data. The authors of the study hypothesized that uses and gratification motivators for DMB users would include entertainment, social interaction, permanent access, pass time, and fashion and status. The survey results indicated that there were a few differences based on gender.
Men viewed a DMB device “like a toy, and perceive[d] the ownership of a mobile phone as a status symbol, [while] females were more concerned about the generic calling function of the device” (Choi, Kim, & McMillan, 2009). Women also gave much more weight to the social benefits that came with owning a DMB device. It was very important that DMB helped them stay in contact with friends and family. The authors recommended that the gender results should be used in DMB marketing.
While understanding the motivation for consumers to use DMB devices is important, there is a much larger question at stake: what is the future of streaming video content – live through DMB or through video on demand (VOD)? The study pointed out that DMB was an effective service because people would not have to return home at a specific time to watch TV; instead they could watch it anywhere. However, a major flaw with this is that TV consumption trends are changing. People will want to watch video on demand instead of being restricted to watch programming only when it is broadcast live.
Similar, yet significantly different than DMB, VOD provides an alternative to live television through mobile devices. Since 2009, VOD has become much more popular in the United States. Instead of watching TV when it is live, consumers in the United States are downloading and streaming shows through iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, and other services. Since people can start and stop a program at their convenience, VOD is a much more convenient way to consume content compared to DMB. If rights issues are resolved, this could become the case in Korea, and in many other places around the world. In order to stay viable long term, DMB must allow for video on demand services.
Questions for Discussion
Have you tried to live stream a video to your mobile device? If so, what was your experience?
Do you think streaming live TV has a future, or will everyone want his or her video on demand?
Do you use your mobile device as a fashion or status symbol?
Do you use your mobile device for the calling features or social functions?
Choi, Y. K., Kim, J., & McMillan, S. (2009). otivators for the intention to use mobile TV: A comparison of South Korean males and females. International Journal of Advertising (28), 147.