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In a World of Transmedia, Content is King

Posted By Andrew Mahlmann, Thursday, June 27, 2013
Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2013

At the center of the entertainment business is IP (intellectual property).  An idea, story, character, concept, something original that can hook audiences and build franchises. If you create a great story about a heroic ex-marine out for justice in his old neighborhood, that character can have his story told by Hollywood on the big screen, by interactive developers for computer, console, and mobile gaming, and even by marketers for viral campaigns across television, the internet, outdoor media, and more.  This proliferation of of IP through different "arms" or "channels" is often referred to as transmedia.

The video gaming industry has pushed the envelope of digital transmedia and dividends have been paid. In 2012, the video game industry was reported to bring in $67 billion.  Another part of gaming's success is its ability to tap into a vibrant and engaged audience that is bursting at the seems.

Right now it is conference season and that means that everywhere you turn there are events, expos, trade-shows, and any other kind of industry related showcase one can think of.  One of the biggest and readily recognizable is the Annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), held this year at the Los Angeles Convention Center June 11-13.  Since hitting the scene in 1996 with over 80,000 attendees, E3 has been a revered occasion representing the latest and greatest with anything having to do with video gaming hardware, software, accessories and game-related merchandise.  E3 is a magical place that surrounds individuals with the latest gaming related interactive technologies and tantalizes with dragons, wizards, soldiers, demons, super-heroes, puzzles, fantasy, mobsters, babes, racecars, wild animals, and just about anything else you can imagine.  

Yet for all of gaming's successes and achievements, motion pictures retain an eminence in entertainment's zeitgest.  According to Damian Lichtenstein (CEO, PAYDAY Productions) speaking at the Produced By Conference, the coveted demographic of male 16-24 year olds, which spends a predominant amount of their free time gaming and driving that 67 billion dollar number, actually lists "movies" as the number 3 thing that they are passionate about (falling behind "internet” and "music”).  Video games come in somewhat surprisingly at number 9. 

So what does this tell us about the creative process?  It all comes back to IP; it always has and it always will.  Original scripted entertainment has an indelible appeal to us that affords a deep appreciation for craft within storytelling.  As business people, however, producers must continue becoming increasingly savvy to engage audiences with transmedia.  You can thank the sharp and courageous minds of the PGA New Media Council for helping pave the way ;)


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Tags:  new media  transmedia 

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