Introduction: Transmedia Practices: A Television Branding Revolution
The television world is changing, having been impacted by mutations of three different natures: technological, narrative and participatory. Productions now use technology to enhance their content as television series and movie franchises are, increasingly, basing their narratives on principles of narrative complexity since active audiences do not only consume, but also engage with the said texts. These efforts made by the industry to target involved audiences demonstrate how transmedia practices have impacted not only on storytelling processes, but the text – and brand – itself, the latter no longer being a mere programme with a limited duration, but a whole, composed of numerous elements spread across media. The goal of the different players involved is, nevertheless, quite different. While fans’ activities represent a way to empower themselves and engage with this universe, the teams behind institutional transmedia strategies seek to secure more (faithful) customers and, incidentally, a higher financial return.
Rather than reducing transmedia storytelling to the augmenting effect it had on the concept of narrative resulting from its ability to create an immersive environment, this issue seeks to discuss the wide range of economic perspectives available to film and television brands due to this very immersive environment. The transmedia phenomenon has, so far, mostly been approached from an either textual or participatory standpoint, but rarely so from a multidisciplinary perspective encompassing the marketing aspect. Providing insight on this topic – so far not discussed in Networking Knowledge – through contributions from researchers in media, communications, cultural studies and marketing, the issue seeks to enrich our collective understanding of transmedia practices, in the hope of offering a more holistic approach. In doing so, the various pieces presented in this edition clearly demonstrate that transmedia practices have revolutionised television branding.. and that it’s just getting started.