Saturday, February 11, 2012

Digital Kids & Connected Digital Play

What is digital play? Are Moms and Dads looking for a more meaningful form of connected play to share with their kids?
Who is connecting analog and digital play using transmedia storytelling methods?
Talking Katsuma Moshi Monster
"More than half of children own a toy based on a virtual world." -Dubit Research

Kids registering to play in virtual worlds has increased from 179m in 2009 to 320m in Q2 2011. Virtual worlds engage kids in connected play through connected toys and community building which in turn fuels purchases of virtual goods and connected toys. That's quite a profitable transmedia loop.

KZero calls this the golden triangle.

“Today’s kids are platform agnostic and don’t care where their favourite stories and characters come from. It used to be the case that books or TV shows launched characters and toys, but now online entertainment is proving just as important.” 
-Peter Robinson, head of Dubit research

The Golden Triangle

Do publishers have a transmedia strategy for connecting their merchandise to paper & digital books?
You don't have to be Stardoll, Moshi Monsters or Legos to enhance the user experience & increase immersion through great connected storytelling.

Some companies are creating connected play through apps or what is known as "AppCessories."

Mattel will broaden "the appeal of its classic brands such as Fisher-Price and Barbie as well as Monster High through its APPTIVITY line."
You can read "Toymakers Gear Up For A Year Of The Appcessory" by Dhanya Skariachan/Reuters here.

So tell me again, why are publishers disillusioned with apps?
Have you read "The Book App Is Dead. Again." by Sam Missingham? Find it here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jeff Gomez On Transmedia and Publishing from StoryWorld 2011

I'm looking back at the conferences I attended last year and compiling notes about the
presentations and comments that made me think or inspired me.

My #1 takeaway from the Storyworld Conference & Expo held in San Francisco, November 1, 2011 was from Jeff Gomez, CEO Starlight Runner Entertainment. 
No surprise there.
The first time I listened to Jeff talk about transmedia I was mesmerized by his personal honesty and generosity.

His presentation at Storyworld was equally inspiring for the same reasons.
This dude rocks.

I've worked in children's publishing for over 20 years so I was particularly interested in what he had to say about transmedia and publishing.

Excerpt from the Jeff Gomez Keynote: "World Building and Mythology".

"One of the problems that I’m seeing, especially in publishing endeavors as publishing moves towards the multi-platform or transmedia model, is that it’s decided somehow that the author is gonna go off and write a book, and then everybody else is gonna do the transmedia, and they don’t talk to each other much. There’s this disparity: “Well what does this have to do with that? How’s this laying the foundation for that?” Some projects are doing this well, but a lot of them unfold as if they’re two completely different experiences. The author, I believe, needs to be a participant in the grand design. Authors need to join with good producers, or editors with transmedia training, and a great support team on both the production and marketing sides in order to make it all gel.

Finally, we need an architecture for dialog. If you are doing something on multiple platforms that does not include a basis for communication back and forth, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Believe me, I’ve worked with the big studios, and this scares some of them. They don’t want to talk to people and it’s really frustrating. A lot of dollars, and a lot of good will, and a lot of franchise longevity is sacrificed, because they’re not looking into the eyes of the people experiencing their story. We need to do this, we need to go where they are, and reach out and dialog with them.

The age of broadcasting, these past hundred to one hundred-fifty years, is coming to an end. It’s no longer about be me saying, shut up and listen to my story for a half hour or hour or two hours in a movie theater or the length of a song or CD. That’s over…it’s over. Now, if you don’t give them at least a way to “like” you, you’re done for, because you’re refusing to give your audience validation. You’re not including them, and we are seeing a generation coming to power very shortly that won’t live without that feeling of being included, of being given the option to participate. As much as some broadcasters want to, as much as they’re hoping to be able to, they’ll never put that genie back in the bottle. So you’ve got to build that architecture into or around your narrative, and be open to it.

It could be as simple as a Facebook page, but I’m promoting richer and more complex ways for us to interact with one another in communal storytelling. I think this is going to be one of the next great frontiers in the conception and generation of our mythologies: the technique of taking from our audience, and in subtle or overt ways, weaving their will and their desire and their creativity into the narrative, weave them into the mythology." -Jeff Gomez, CEO, Starlight Runner Entertainment
The full speech is published here on Simon Pulman's blog, Transmythology.

Another favorite Jeff Gomez presentation from Tools Of Change 2010: "Storyworlds: The New Transmedia Business Paradigm"

10. More publishing companies will form in-house transmedia groups.
In April 2011, Random House launched Random House Worlds, a transmedia partnership with Los Angeles-based gaming software company THQ. Increasingly, publishing companies are looking at the intellectual property they own as extendable across more media platforms.
“All publishing companies will either have a transmedia group in-house or build that type of partnership with experts in the transmedia field,” said Reilly. - Jeremy Greenfield, @JDGsaid 

From the Ten Bold Predictions for Book Publishing in 2012, by Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World

Book Country, Penguin
Molly Barton, president of Book Country: How The Crowd Is Shaping The Future Of Storytelling
My Artist's Way ToolKit & App, based on Julia Cameron's book, THE ARTISIT'S WAY, Penguin Group
Random House & transmedia via Publishers Lunch
Tricia Pasternak, Senior Editor and Transmedia Producer, Random House 
A New Transmedia Initiative For Kids with Ruckus Media & Simon & Schuster
Ruckus Media and Scholastic Launch Transmedia Imprint
 Infinity Ring, A New Multi-Platform Series from Scholastic
Transmedia: A New World Of Opportunity For Authors and Publishers via Publishing Perspectives 
A New Breed Of Transmedia Companies-And 6 Factors For Success via Publishing Technology
Transmedia Talk #32: GoBZRK and The Future Of Publishing via WorkBook Project (gr8! "media deals not book deals")

What are you doing to optimize your IP using transmedia storytelling methods? 
Are you connected?