Children's conference: transmedia is essential
07.10.11 | Benedicte Page
Publishers must explore transmedia approaches to engage children whose lives revolve increasingly around gaming, online communities and social networking, The Bookseller's annual children's conference, sponsored by Huzutech and Dubit Research, heard last week (29th September).
Jeff Norton of Awesome Media & Entertainment urged delegates at the event, held at the British Library, to "think not about platforms, but audiences". Peter Robinson of cross-media research company Dubit Research said: "Kids expect a presence for a story across platforms. There are so many ways that kids can consume a story."
Egmont m.d. Cathy Poplak said BZRK—the company's first experiment with transmedia, which has seen a young adult thriller series launch as a cross-platform project, beginning with an alternate reality game and social networking—has had 87,000 visitors to website www.gobzrk.com since its September launch.
"In the industry we want to turn children on to the joy of reading. I still believe in the universal appeal of a good story, but have to accept that some children can't see the story for the book," Poplak said. However, she stressed the need to remain grounded in the storytelling basics publishers know best, with BZRK's plotline and characters created by "practised, professional" writer Michael Grant, working in a traditional relationship with his editor.
Andrew Piller of new media production company FMX Fremantle described the art of telling stories in the digital space as a "creative model which is the future of storytelling". Online teen dramas like "Freak" and the forthcoming "Threads" include a linear story told by online video content, boosted by non-linear backstory content such as blogs and webcam footage, plus interactivity allowing the audience to get involved by becoming extras in the TV filming or providing music for the soundtrack. Money is made through commercial partnerships with the likes of Tampax, with a "loyal audience ready to follow us to branded microsites", Piller said.
FMX Fremantle is also responsible for Sorted, the online "cooking community" set up across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and its own site, which offers the 15–30 demographic an "immersive entertainment experience" and now has 80,000 subscribers in the UK. It recently signed a book deal with Michael Joseph for 2012.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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