在文檔中 Transmedia Storytelling for Television in Taiwan: Do Audiences Want to Engage? (頁 23-28)



立 政 治 大 學

N a

tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

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.

2.4 Transmedia Environment

Now that the basic components and theories behind transmedia storytelling have been discussed, and a few real life examples have been looked at, the topic of the

transmedia storytelling environment in Taiwan specifically will be discussed. By taking a brief look at the technological trends and some policy issues from government, the future viability of transmedia productions can be examined. This section deals with both the current state of the telecommunications sector as well as some of the regulatory issues at play in promoting or discouraging the growth of transmedia storytelling in Taiwan.

2.4.1 Environment for Transmedia Projects in Taiwan

The types of platforms that a transmedia production uses are widely available in Taiwan and used by many in Taiwan. Taiwan has a very broad and fully developed communications industry (Ferle, 2008). Internet availability to individuals has risen in the same way that that it did in the U.S. over its convergence period:

Figure 4 Percentage of individuals using the internet 2012 (Source International Telecommunication Union, 2012)

The stage of the economy and the prevalence of TV, motion pictures, internet connectivity and smartphone saturation shows potential for the crafting of stories told in the transmedia way. According to the National Communications Commission (NCC), 75% of all mobile phone accounts are connected to the internet through 3G or wireless broadband which could be used for creating the “connected audiences” described by Jenkins. (Institute for Information Industry) Taiwan smartphone owners ranked as the top users of internet globally in 2014 according to one survey by Yahoo Inc

(Taiwantoday.tw, 2015). If a transmedia producer can design content that is friendly to the mobile experience, they can take advantage of the seemingly very friendly mobile environment in Taiwan. Secondary and tertiary applications such as mobile games or social media applications could be developed to bring a true transmedia experience to this connected audience.

One concrete example of how these different technological platforms can be coordinated to deliver a transmedia story in Taiwan is the case of the Fun Travel trial


conducted by HwaCom New Media in 2012 (Hsu, 2013). This limited trial involved combining a video on demand, main screen component along with a mobile app and in-person visits of travel sites in Taiwan. It demonstrated how different firms can work together to mutual benefit via a transmedia production. There are other examples of 2nd screen applications as well, but do to a linguistic barrier, the author of this study was unable to explore their use. However currently these extensions are more geared toward marketing, promotion, and behind the scenes content. They are not adding the distinct and valuable content in a true transmedia storytelling way.

The government also actively promotes innovation in the arts and the

communication industry according to the TV and Radio Act as well as through Ministry of Culture. The creative environment is also very open and free in terms of content that can be produced (Ferle, 2008).

In addition to this freedom of expression, there are several policy-driven campaigns that government institutions are using to promote a more developed digital content ecosystem in Taiwan. The National Communications Commission (NCC) has outlined in its 2015 administrative plans the desire to:

"Design courses on program production and digital convergence and invite scholars and experts to provide their professional opinions to improve production quality and marketing potential of broadcasters" (NCC, 2015).

Furthermore, the Bureau of Industrial Development has launched the Digital Content Industry Development and Assistance Project (DCDA) with the goal to

"subsidize...the creative digital content industry" (MOE, 2015). These are examples of top-down policy and monetary incentives that would serve to make Taiwan a friendly place to try building transmedia extensions with the support of grants or subsidies from various agencies.

Now some possible barriers to the development of transmedia productions will be discussed.

2.4.2 Barriers to Transmedia Projects in Taiwan

Even though there are several contributing factors for transmedia storytelling to catch on in Taiwan, there are also some things that might hinder its development. This section will

立 政 治 大 學

N a

tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

address some of those factors. As discussed earlier, various types of corporate

sponsorship that can be used to help pay for a production. Direct advertising or product placement are ways to get this sponsorship, but traditionally the communications laws in Taiwan have been stricter than the U.S. equivalent when it comes to corporate

sponsorship. According to the Radio and Television Act, advertising must be limited to 15% of total viewing time and product placement has traditionally been banned for local productions (Article 31, NCC, 2016). However this was recently changed in the

Temporary Directions for the Sponsorship of Television Programs in December 2012 ("Mass Media", 2016). This new act seeks to encourage the growth of the media industry by allowing product placement in programs as long as it occurs in a “natural way” citing the successful partnerships made in other advanced countries’ communications sectors.

Another possible obstruction to the creation of transmedia productions in Taiwan is merely being the first to the scene. In his book The Art of Immersion (Rose, 2011) Frank Rose also discusses the early stages of transmedia components for TV and motion pictures in the Hollywood arena and how producers and collaborators needed to learn by trial and error just what worked and what didn’t sometimes by dumping money or time into projects that were unsuccessful. The example of Syfy’s Defiance television and game being incredibly expensive to produce could make a very “hard” type of production a high risk gamble.

2.5 Summary

This chapter has provided the historical and theoretical background to discuss transmedia storytelling in general and how it might be used in Taiwan in particular. The discussion of Jenkins’ work and other discussions of transmedia storytelling in section 2.1 helped track how digital convergence made this new type of storytelling possible. In section 2.2, Henry Long provided key terms to use when discussing a transmedia story’s various components as well as vocabulary to use when comparing two or more different transmedia productions. Completed examples of transmedia productions also discussed in section 2.3 to provide concrete examples of ways that a story might be crafted. A brief

立 政 治 大 學

N a

tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

introduction to transmedia opportunities and barriers in the Taiwanese market was covered in section 2.4.

These sections all work together to properly frame the purpose of this study, which is to gather empirical data that will more fully explain how transmedia storytelling might be used in Taiwan. The following chapter will expand on the methodology and hypotheses of this thesis.

2.5.1 Notes on evolving technology

The literature and productions discussed above demonstrate just a few examples of how the logic of transmedia storytelling has played out in past and contemporary productions with past and contemporary technology and media platforms. Going forward and looking at the survey methods and results from this thesis, it should be noted that technology and the platforms used to access entertaining content will continue to evolve.

With this ever changing landscape though a transmedia producer will only have more tools and avenues to tell their story with, so it lies in the planning and structuring of the story, how and when it will be released and on which current platform that become important. Sara Wachter-Boettcher makes this premise very clear in her book about the future of content production and how producers should plan for various platforms, and ways to ensure maximum engagement with intended audiences (Wachter-Boettcher, 2012). Although various technical devices and standards will change with time and producers need to be ready for these changes, the core part of planning which medium or platform best fits what your audience consume with sight, smell, sound, or through interaction should lie at the center of the “bible” of the transmedia production (Ciancia, 2013).

立 政 治 大 學

N a

tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

在文檔中 Transmedia Storytelling for Television in Taiwan: Do Audiences Want to Engage? (頁 23-28)