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It’s all about “transmedia” — the convergence of media and the spread of content across platforms — says the panel of experts made up by Jesse Alexander, Writer and Producer, Heroes; Bill Gannon, Director of Online Operations, Lucasfilm; Jeff Gomez, CEO Starlight Runner Entertainment; and Greg Goodfried, Co-Founder, President and COO, EQAL. The metrics are experimental right now, though if companies are buying ads it’s a good sign, says the panel. But be careful — it can all go horribly wrong! And remember the geeks that consume your digital transmedia bits are powerful and will be the torch bearers of your brands.
How Important Is Transmedia?: Lucasfilm’s Gannon says the key to managing transmedia well is to have everyone on staff think the same way. Lucasfilm has a phenomenal licensing division that explores the transmedia universe, he says. Heroes’ Alexander warns that care needs to be taken in order to avoid missteps. EQAL’s Goodfried’s agrees and says you need to establish trust with the user, by using open dialogue and communication. Starlight Runner’s Gomez says the trend of converging media brought the new president into the White House and it will do the same with online video. Our own Chris calls it the equivalent of unicorns and puppy dogs!
The Metrics of Transmedia: Alexander says Hollywood isn’t necessarily designed to show a profit. It doesn’t have a clear metric for success, he says. On the web it’s easy to track how successful something is. At Heroes, he says, they do well with online content, but, “I can’t wait to see what metric we come up with to measure success.” Alexander says one metric is: Are advertisers buying into this? Advertisers are coming to NBC and requesting a massive stake in digital space, he says. But ultimately the groups (studios) are not designed to play well together, he says.
How to Make Transmedia Work?: Gomez says have visionary execs there to point out the strengths and weaknesses of which media platform is best for certain aspects of your content. Alexander says (half-jokingly) that everything he’s done successfully he’s ripped off from Star Wars. It also has to be organic and compartmentalized — be very careful of forcing the audience to consume all parts of the media experience to understand the story, says Alexander. Goodfried says there needs to be a value-add for their time spent for every bit of content delivered.
Gomez says that while what they do might be seen as enormously geeky, the people who care the most are the torch bearers and will speak on behalf of your intellectual property. That kid in the living room who points to the show and talks about it — that kid has power; he is the gatekeeper of information. That is the most important aspect of transmedia and will make your content evergreen. Alexander reminds us that transmedia is not just for geeks, it’s for mainstream audiences, too.