C ONTEMPORARY E XAMPLES OF T RANSMEDIA T ELEVISION E XTENSIONS

在文檔中 Transmedia Storytelling for Television in Taiwan: Do Audiences Want to Engage? (頁 20-23)

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.3 C ONTEMPORARY E XAMPLES OF T RANSMEDIA T ELEVISION E XTENSIONS

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2.2.6 Summary

Section 1.2 provided the key academic language to use when discussing

transmedia projects and the bits and pieces that make them work. It also provided terms that aid in discussing the depth of transmedia as well as successful ways to employ the components. These terms will be used later in the data collection and analysis sections.

The following section will outline a few ways that convergence has affected the business models available for a transmedia production.

2.3 Contemporary Examples of Transmedia Television Extensions

This section will provide short introductions of how four major U.S. television shows have employed various transmedia extensions in real life. It is hoped that these examples will highlight the four types of possible transmedia extensions explained in section 1.2.2 above. Part two of the survey that this thesis relies on will be aimed at gauging interest levels of television audiences in Taiwan to engage with these four types of transmedia productions.

2.3.1 Storyworld based Extension: The Walking Dead

AMC’s The Walking Dead is a show developed from a series of comics by Robert Kirkman of the same name (Gaston, 2014). It follows a group of survivors trying to stay alive after a zombie apocalypse. It actively employs Long’s concept of negative

capability concept about the origins of the zombie virus and the state of the rest of the world. This makes for larger doubt and mystery about the greater story world that the show takes place in. It will serve as an example of how a rich story world might propel audiences to engage in a transmedia extension like a video game.

Telltale Game’s video game The Walking Dead: The Game is for fans of The Walking Dead story world. The game revolves around a different group of survivors in a different location, but in the same dystopian universe as is shown in the show, but the two story lines don’t intersect. The game was named game of the year in 2013 and has been downloaded over 8 million times (Misc, 2013).

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A notable possibility of this larger story world approach to a transmedia extension is that the producers could choose to have the separate stories intersect at some future point. The creator, Kirkman hinted at this possibility in a recent interview “That door is always open for us, though whether or not we step through it remains a big question”

(Gaston, 2014). This type of extension should highlight the type of engagement that can come from well thought out world-building extensions.

2.3.2 Character based Extension: Heroes

NBC’s Heroes television show, which aired from 2006 to 2010, was a show that followed ordinary people with extraordinary powers on an adventure to save the world (Hibberd, 2007). The style of the show was like a superhero comic book and the

accompanying website showcased an interactive comic, and SMS-based interactive game that was updated in between episodes where fans were encouraged to dig deeper into the story and the character relationships in the story world (Dickerson, 2007). The example of Heroes as a transmedia production serves to highlight how producers can use

transmedia extensions to partner with advertisers and use product placement across different extensions thereby gaining extra financing for the story they are trying to tell while relying on consumers to engage with the different extensions and see more product advertising in the process.

Erin Gianini’s article sums up how NBC’s website worked to both further the plot of the show and promote products from partners:

“...the official NBC Heroes page, which provides an interactive comic book that fills in the gaps between episodes or provides additional character development. Yet, each of these online comic books features an ad for Nissan as its opening panel; the Nissan is in motion, as people stand to the side, astonished. Nissan thus becomes another superhero, a vehicular, evolutionary ‘9th Wonder’. Nissan is also integrated into the story. This

product and story integration is the way in which Heroes serves both as an advertisement for Nissan, itself, and the network and as transmedia storytelling” (Gianini, 2014).

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This example shows how television producers can partner with advertisers to develop more show-related content which explores characters and events in a deeper way which also adds to more product-related touch points.

2.3.3.1 Participation based Extensions: Defiance

Syfy’s original television show, Defiance (2013-Present) is one of the more ambitious transmedia projects in recent history. It is a science fiction drama that is set in the future after an alien war leaves the earth largely destroyed (IMDb.com, n.d.) It was developed from the start as a transmedia production and is paired with an online game that runs in parallel to events in the show.

The unique and challenging part of a production like this is that the story worlds affect one another and events happen in one that affect the other. For example, if it starts to rain in the show, it also rains in the game. (VAST MEDIA - Analysis and strategy for Second Screen and Social TV, 2013). Likewise, events that happen in-game can affect the show’s plot line and vice-versa. Players can be mentioned for their actions on the television show, and characters from the show make appearances in game. However, this type of production doesn’t come cheap. The Defiance franchise is currently the most expensive show ever developed by the network, due to the fact of developing a game and show at the same time.

This example shows a transmedia production at its most participatory nature, and also to use Long’s terminology a very “hard” type of transmedia production (Long, 2007). Now that a few contemporary examples of realized transmedia productions have been seen, attention will shift to a brief discussion of transmedia in Taiwan.

2.3.3.2 Participation based Extensions with Heavy User generated content:

The Spiral

The in this section serves to show how a participation-based story can involve the mix of professionally produced content and user generated content (UGC) to weave together a common story based on audience engagement, but directed by the producers.

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The Spiral was a Television show, interactive website, and live event that took place across European countries in 2012 involving the hunt for stolen art. (IMDb.com, n.d.) It led its audiences and fans on a mix of real and virtual treasure hunts as the story

unraveled over time:

“Searching for the paintings – both fictitiously inside the series and in real public – unfolds the interactive and transmedia dimension of the Scandinavian crime series. The audience can join in on several online games on thespiral.eu and on Facebook, having to pass creative tasks in order to score and eventually approach the paintings. Even

drawings are to be handed in, matching Beuys’ philosophy of every-man-is-an-artist.

The action culminated in front of the European Parliament in Brussels on 9/28; the online game ended with the return of the paintings and the collective artwork’s unveiling”

(Honig Studios, 2015).

What makes this production stand out differently from the others is that it relies on the audience not only to participate in online and live events but additionally to create content that is later crafted into the overall story. The producers have defined a general path for the show to follow, but the content created by the audiences and certain plot points are driven by audience participation. This production has shown the ability of producers to get audiences from different countries, to participate and compete across various platforms if they enjoy the story. The added benefit for some producers is free or cheap content submitted by fans and information gathered on the audience members along with their interactions.

在文檔中 Transmedia Storytelling for Television in Taiwan: Do Audiences Want to Engage? (頁 20-23)