Today, technology is as critical as it has ever been in offering distribution channels for transmedia narratives. According to Henry Jenkins (2007) transmedia storytelling is described as “a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience”. Each of these elements makes their own individual contribution to the unfolding storyline, which increases the details of the virtual world and extends the drama beyond the original plot line.
As said by Jenkins, ‘a media company has an incentive to spread its brand or expand its franchises across as many different media platforms as possible.’ Check out Spiderman. It was a comic based on a fictional character initially although now in a cinema you can watch the movie, on the Xbox game you can play the game and sometimes view newer versions of comic extracts on internet or buy from stores. The character of the comic is now posted in stickers of certain daily usable items like water bottles or bags, and through the figurine toys you can construct your own stories. These disperse of storytelling on multiple platforms ‘invite us to immerse ourselves in the world of the fiction.’ (Jenkins 2007)
Although Viber does not allow the user to experience its version of a movie, a game, comics or figurines, it offers licensed stickers of most well-known transmedia narratives like Star Trek, Garfield, The powerpuff girls, DreamWorks’s Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Shrek and many more. Also Viber’s usage of social media networks to promote the application and to give all the updates about new stickers and forthcoming features, has achieved high ratings for the application. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook with their official accounts having fans from 300,000 to 3 million and multiple unofficial accounts plays a dynamic role in transmedia narrating of the application. Users actively posts via twitter, tweeting a hash tag #viber, which generated more social awareness among the users about the application’s status and all when re-tweeted or seen by followers.
Despite all the benefits of transmedia storytelling, some criticize it as well. Fans are able to go deeper into the world of their favorite movie, game etc. But the question is, can all these be the real official source? With a growing prosumer based society today, it is impossible to identify whether the spin-offs of something is truly authorized by the media company. This may not be a problem for the consumer, but will impact more on producers of original content as other people generate revenue of their work or content.
Jenkins, H. (2007) ‘Transmedia Storytelling 101’