Building a universe worthy of devotion

Went to hear Brent Friedman from Electric Farm Entertainment. He went through some case studies of the transmedia he has created and shared the lessons he’s learned in the process.

He defined the transmedia experience as a shattered mirror – each piece is part of the whole, but unique.

It’s not re-purposing the same piece of content for different platforms.

Transmedia promises an immersive experience.  Advertisers love it. They want more than exposure. They want engagement. The audience has choice and lots of content to choose from.

For a universe to be truly worthy of devotion, Friedman maintains that there has to be a deep mythology, archetypal characters and binding principles like The Force in Star Wars.

He cites Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and the Matrix as worlds where fans want to go deeper and deeper.

Valemont is the latest world he created with MTV and Verizon.

 

The  premise of Valemont is that a young woman’s brother has gone missing from Valemont University. Little does she know, it’s Hogwarts for vampires.  The 2 minute episodes ran on MTV during the commercial breaks. Verizon sponsored the series.

Friedman maintains Valemont hit a lot of transmedia buttons. It had an intuitive hub – a watering hole or a place where people could go and talk about their experiences on the site; it had a partner for cross-marketing to assist in the promotion of the series as well as its brand; it had good internal sign posts so that the site was easy to maneuver like a ride at Disneyland and it had a mystery as the core story, a common feature in transmedia properties.

There was a Rush Week at Valemont where people could join one of five houses. This created a social game where people were jumping through hoops to become a pledge. A “puppetmaster” was employed 24/7 for the Facebook presence and to send twitter feeds for the 6 main characters.  One of the characters became so popular, she had her own blog.

Valemont exceeded all estimates of success.  Viewership more than doubled.  Verizon experienced an increase in conversion rates to its service.

Electric Farm had the rights to mobile, online and TV content. From the episodes, they created a 2 hour movie. All of the Valemont components were sold either individually or as a package internationally.

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