Transmedia is essentially MULTIPLE stories told over MULTILPE platforms. These different plots come together and form a SINGLE pervasive storyline, allowing the audience to have greater depth into the narrative. Henry Jenkins explains the purpose as “creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience.” The ability to spread a story across as many mediums as possible expands an audience market thus promoting and economically aiding the development of a story.
MTV has recently expanded its popular television series ‘Teen Wolf’ , into a transmedia narrative. Launching ‘Teen Wolf: The Hunt’, this social TV experience offers fans the opportunity to interact and ‘friend’ the characters via Facebook and mobile to solve and online, interactive mystery.
Tina Exarhos, EVP of Marketing and Multiplatform Creation at MTV, MTV2, mtvU, and MTV.com explains the motive behind the development was to allow viewers to feel as though they are “part of the show” in a natural way. It also rewards the dedicated fans that want more from the show. The fans are sent emails, audio and video messages from the characters asking them to help find a missing character that disappeared in the season two finale. Players then can share, discuss and analyse clues through social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
Although The Hunt follows the series, it is not limited to regular viewers. The plot diverges, still tying into the show but allowing players to experience the characters in a different way with the mystery unfolding, depending on the choices you make. This encourages non-viewers to perhaps become viewers to expand the experience of The Hunt even more.
Including social media into its strategies, MTV’s online fan base has dramatically increased with 100 million Facebook likes for its network and show pages earlier this year. With a year long break between season one and two of Teen Wolf, the use of transmedia has allowed the series to retain its fans and add more in the social sphere. In ensuring the show remained active whilst not on air, resulted in the number of supporters growing by 50% noted by the increase of Teen Wolf Facebook fans to 1.5 million at the end of season two.
By removing the traditional confines of a story, transmedia narratives allow audiences to engage across all platforms during, between and after a show. This ability to create these interactive storytelling vehicles and spreading them across different channels inspires the prosperity of media.