"Transmedia storytelling" is not a new phenomenon, and is perhaps the oldest technique we have for spreading information. Like Socrates already wrote "Once a thing is put in writing, the composition, whatever it may be, drifts all over the place, getting into the hands not only of those who understand it, but equally of those who have no business with it."
Nowadays Transmedia Storytelling is part of our culture and the consequence of the most complex and exciting expression of our culture. The idea can be defined as a story that unfolds across multiple media outlets and platforms, and in which a portion of the end users take an active role in the process of expansion.
Transmedia Storytelling tends to be mistaken for Cross Media, which can be defined as one story – rather than different ones pertaining to the same narrative universe – narrated through different media channels. Although, nowadays the two terms are used almost as if they were synonyms.
From a production standpoint, it involves creating content that engages an audience using various techniques to permeate their daily lives. In order to achieve this engagement, a transmedia production will develop stories across multiple forms of media in order to deliver unique pieces of content in each channel. Importantly, these pieces of content are not only linked together (overtly or subtly), but are in narrative synchronization with each other.
Now linking this to Social TV is an obvious evolution. Social TV will no longer be seen as a branch of the existing TV Experience. It will be equivalent to watching TV. The second screen, sharing with others as you watch, interactivity – the “social” part of TV will all be part and parcel of the regular TV experience.
Multi-platform storytelling will be commonplace, as will fan content co-creation based on the TV watching experience. You’ll be able to enjoy programmes as standalones, or branch off to go deeper into specific storylines created by the producers… or fans.
Social TV will allow for a totally new way to market shows. The old ways of promoting a show – out of home billboards, expensive promotional ad buys – will be gone and replace by much more social and targeted opportunities since data will allow for much more focused targeting of audiences.
Transmedia Storytelling is a very powerful and immersive persuasion tool, a fans-generating machine, because it creates a strong emotional connection with the audience. It is profitable because it redefines and increases ROI, increases impact over media, and can cause exceptional sources of income.
Transmedia Storytelling, finally, is the best and most effective way to connect (especially) with the new generations of consumers and build a sustainable audience around a brand, as Red Bull demonstrated.