Transmedia storytelling as an outcome of the convergence culture was firstly put forward by Jenkins in 2003. It has been gradually applied to film and television industries in recent years, through which to complete and extend the story content itself and thereby to gain the economic profits through the multiple franchises.
According to Jenkins (2008:96), “in the ideal form of transmedia storytelling, each medium does what it does best…any given product is a point of entry into the franchise whole”. Therefore, the processes of telling the different part of a story across different media, for the audiences, is also a process of gradually understanding the whole story in different aspects, through which to foster audiences’ royalty to the story.
HBO as a subscription channel, it always used quality TV to present itself, which also used transmedia storytelling through social media as its branding strategy. One of the most subtle cases should be the promotion of the show Game of Thrones before its pilot aired on HBO. The story itself of the Game of Thrones could be categorized as fantasy genre, which might be difficult to for audience who did not read the novel to get into because sometimes it needs them to combine their imaginations with the specific plots. In order to attract the attention from more audience who have not read the original novels of the show, HBO produced a franchise based on human’s senses, such as smell, insight, sound and even taste. For example, in term of smell, HBO produced some perfumes which are on the basis of depiction about how different kingdoms smells like in Westeros within the novel and sent them to some influential bloggers in social media so that the fancy content of the novel could be concreted and perceived by more people. This franchise actually could be seen as a transmedia storytelling because it is an entry point through which more audience could learn about the context of the Game of Thrones story relatively more intuitive based on those bloggers’ expressions.
Therefore, this transmedia storytelling of HBO subtly provided a fantasy story context which blurred the boundary between the fiction and the reality in order to make it easier for more people to get into the complex and fancy story world.
Written by GE ZHAN
Henry Jenkins (2008) “Searching for the Origami Unicorn: The Matrix and Transmedia Storytelling” in: Convergence Culture: Where Old Media and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press, 93-130.