Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsAs transmedia storytelling requires hybridity and cultural diversity, individuals are involved in the entire process of creation and consumption. Henry Jenkins, who explained the concept of transmedia storytelling in his book Convergence Culture (2006), defines transmedia storytelling as “integral elements of a fiction dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience.” In other words, it is a story told through multiple media platforms. When reviewing this explanation, the word “multiple” holds a great deal of importance. Once a story extends beyond a single medium, it is continued on in different media such as gaming platforms, movies, webtoons, novels, and performances.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 secondsPut simply, transmedia is a form of storytelling that has one worldview and one central story, but only when the story can be “handled through different media platforms” can hybridity be preserved. Moreover, a story can be categorized as transmedia when it is powerful enough that it can be told through different media platforms, maintaining its independence. It is a single story, and you can enjoy the film without necessarily having to know the game. When you play the game, you don’t need to have had read the novel? the content in each medium can stand on its own. Despite this, all incarnations of the content share a common story or a worldview, which Henry Jenkins defines as transmedia storytelling and links to media convergence.

Skip to 2 minutes and 27 secondsHe divides media convergence into four aspects. The first is technological convergence. This is a concept we’ve discussed in the context of media history, where different types of devices are used together. In the technology of film, there is music and art, among others, along with optical technology and other types of devices used to enhance the film. This is why technological convergence is a basic requirement of transmedia content. The second is social convergence. Consumers no longer seek out access a single medium to consume a single story, but rather sit in front of the computer and surf the web to collect a range of data. They use various devices to collect information they are looking for and mix and match the accumulated data.

Skip to 3 minutes and 41 secondsThis practice reflects a use of convergence by consumers and creators alike, something we call social convergence. Another important form of convergence is cultural, in which consumers equipped with technology become the agent of creation and production. In the past, there was a division between those who purchased content and those who sold it, but now consumers are also capable of selling. Any individual can create a website or an app to sell a product, or can distribute their own content to the world. This has all become possible thanks to the ease with which transmedia content can be distributed in this era.

Skip to 4 minutes and 52 secondsThrough cultural convergence, the creator is no longer confined to creating, and consumers become a part of the creative process while also getting involved in distribution. All of this is done while still fulfilling their roles as consumers. The final type is global convergence. Using the Internet, information can be shared simultaneously all across the world. The sharing and consumption of content naturally led to cultural hybridity, a phenomenon that surpasses genre, music, literature and arts to connect with different cultures. In the past, information transmission was a time-consuming process. For instance, if you wanted to learn about travelling you had to read travelogues. But now these things happen simultaneously. Jenkins diagnoses this phenomenon as moving beyond cultural multiplicity and crossing over to complexity.

Skip to 6 minutes and 24 secondsIn fact, we no longer need to fly to Europe or America to consume international content. Language barriers have been broken down to some degree with the help of interpreting devices, and since we now share a common language ?the language of film?youngsters around the world can communicate with ease and partake in the consumption of international content. The barrier between consumers and creators is being broken down, and cultural differences that once existed due to geographical distance are diminishing. The division that used to separate one medium from another is disappearing, leading to a closed convergence. As such, transmedia storytelling presents one core story that can be adapted to a different culture in various forms through different media, just like a wild plant.

Skip to 7 minutes and 40 secondsIt can also be duplicated and expanded in unexpected ways before returning to the original position at some point. For example, someone in a different country could adapt a story I started, and it might come back to me in a different medium, meaning that I am now the consumer of the story.

The sphere of transmedia storytelling (2)

The person who introduced the concept of transmedia storytelling to the masses was Henry Jenkins of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies department. In his book Convergence Culture (2006), he describes transmedia storytelling as various media platforms expressing what is understood by audience as a single story, as well as the experience of such a phenomenon. He provides the following explanation of transmedia storytelling:

A transmedia story unfolds across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole. In the ideal form of transmedia storytelling, each medium does what it does best—so that a story might be introduced in a film, expanded through television, novels, and comics. … Each franchise entry needs to be self-contained so you don’t need to have seen the film to enjoy the game, and vice versa.

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This video is from the free online course:

Transmedia Storytelling

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)