Approaching Transmedia Creation through Audience

There is always a large interplay between the production of a story and the reception of a story. It has always been this way. But in many classical systems of production, it has been a one-way path of production, distribution and then reception. With online convergence media, these systems are constantly being challenged and played with, but to a great degree these systems still apply. Market research has always been integral in the success of commercial texts, but more and more niche markets are growing and are given a presence. This evolution of niche markets gives rise to a lot more diverse and targeted works; transmedia stories that don’t necessarily appeal to the masses, but rather to a specific audience. There are a few different meanings when we talk about approaching transmedia creation through audience. One is to research an audience or a fan-group and then create a work based on their needs. Another is to focus on developing the characters within your story, and make sure that those characters can be related to by your audience group. The third meaning is to create a work and develop that artifact continuously or ‘live’, in response to the audience’s feedback and feelings. A third meaning is to

Targeting Niche Markets
Many transmedia creators, a prime example being beActive’s Nuno Bernardo, approaches transmedia creation through audience and demographics. Before going into production, he would research the demographic(s) that would most likely be attracted to the style, genre or type of work, and then based on his findings he would create the story with the appropriate techniques, characters, narrative and methods to make it have a successful reception. One very recent example of this is with beActive’s upcoming sci-fi thriller Collider. It will start off as an Internet show and then go to television. The reason is, they want to build an online community because the target audience is 16-25, and once they have a good fan-base they will set off to television. (
In the mipTV video -
Transmedia Storytelling: How to achieve Creative Excellence? - Bernardo is featured as one of several ‘expert speakers’, representing beActive Entertainment. It is in this video that Bernardo explains his approach to production. He starts with demographics, the target audience, and poses the question: “who do we want to attract?”. It is a very practical place to start as it brings in funding and production capabilities, which a producer who does not understand his audience may not necessarily obtain. It is very important to note, also, that the notion of audience in transmedia and online convergence media is different to television, as the focus is on global niches as opposed to a wide mass audience. And due to the rise of social media, one can use this audience to interact with other people. Compared to online transmedia, Bernardo believes that television struggles to target specific audiences: “We live in a world that is quite fragmented… audiences are being fragmented… they are less and less in sync. When you create something you need to go for a specific niche, otherwise you will not connect.”
So, by understanding your niche and audience, you can hope to deliver what that group needs, relate to your audience better and have an overall more successful project.

Focus on Characters that relate to your audience group

Christopher Sandberg, CEO of The Company P, agrees that relating to the audience is central to the success of any media project. He argues that a good way to communicate with people from each sector (TV, New Media, Film etc.) is to focus on the characters rather than the storyline. This does not mean that the storyline should be ignored or demoted, it is of course important. But, by developing the people within the narrative and creating characters that relate to specific audience groups, you can really build your story among a strong audience and have valuable connections with that audience.