Blogging for the Children’s Media Conference 2015. View original post here.
- You have to follow the users, not try push them to where you want them to go.
- Your starting point must be a good one, and don’t lose the soul of it as you expand.
- Understand where and how your market operate, be truly cross-platform to accommodate.
Through examples of brand development, content delivery and storytelling approached from three very different directions on a variety of platforms, Transmedia Journeys looks to shine a light on the ever-changing possibilities for expansion.
Paul Nunn, MD of Outfit7, talked about Talking Tom cat, the primary focus for his transmedia experience: the apps have had 2.9 billion downloads and 250 million unique monthly visitors. Before Outfit7 signed up to Youtube, user generated content of their apps had amassed over 1 billion views. And it all began with a cat that repeated what you said in a squeaky voice.
Outfit7’s early business model was simple: they didn’t have one. To begin with at least, they just wanted to make something fun, and by pinning a little advert at the top without interfering with experience, they managed to generate revenue from each session.
So what is transmedia mean to Paul? “It’s not a word, it’s an approach,” he says. It’s about following the users, going where consumers want to be; Outfit7 very quickly saw the success on YouTube and expanded there to make their own stories. “The biggest single mistake is to try push the users.”
“In a nutshell,” he concludes, “it’s thinking about your IP and the ecosystem they exist in.” Then, it’s not limiting yourself to one platform.
Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, Director and Founder of Bright Group International, handles a full spectrum of creative talent in her agency, including authors and illustrators. Their transmedia experience was organic and unplanned: “You branch from the book produced to complementary products, like activity books or animations – whatever works.”
“It’s approaching content by being conscious not to be limited by where it originated,” she says. Be mindful that the place it originates must be a good product first, and when you expand don’t lose the soul of it. It’s about discoverability, mutuality and taking things beyond in a mindful fashion. Within her agency, there’s no one route to do so: some people come in with a view to their project being on every platform available, others aren’t engaged with tablets at all. It’s a real case-by-case deal.
Many publishers fall into one of two camps: some are scared that other products like apps will detract from the book, where there’s a new energy that sees people moving forward in this with confidence. There are a number of publishers doing so: Harper Collins, Penguin, Egmont, to name but a few.
Llinos Williams, the series producer for Green Bay Media, showcases a very interesting and important product they’ve been working on, that offers children advice and information on topics that matter to them. They created a pilot for the TV show from a radio advice programme, approached CBBC, and they didn’t pick it up.
They realised they’d approached it in a traditional way, so instead spoke to young people to ask what they wanted it to say and how it should be said. You’ve got to think of it as cross-platform production, developing an app that complements the content.
They have a duty of care in giving advice, and the app combines videos, advice, tips – it’s engaging and easily accessible as can be, with links to Childline for those seeking help. They started on Facebook and Twitter, but have gravitated towards Instagram and Snapchat once they looked into which social media platforms their audience preferred. They also noted that children wanted to hear from other kids their age on their own experiences – not just adults telling them about it.
In being transmedia, you need to understand what you’re working with – tools, audience and content – to do it properly.
Three very different insights into the ever-changing world of transmedia, and how to adapt.