According to Henry Jenkins, “Transmedia storytelling represents 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”.
As we are constantly surrounded by an “ocean of content, products and leisure opportunities”, we as the consumers now prefer transmedia stories to be delivered across multiple media channels. Not only does this allow us as the audience to follow the story as it progresses, but it also allows us to connect and further immerse ourselves into the narrative’s world. Each medium or channel essentially makes its own contribution to the development of the story, therefore creating a much more unified entertainment experience for the audience.
What started a series of books, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter has not only evolved into a global phenomenon, but its franchise has turned into a multi-billion dollar empire. The development of Transmedia storytelling has allowed the Harry Potter franchise to expand in a way that gave the fans the opportunity to actively participate with the story as it progressed. A total of 7 movies, video games, board games, toys, figurines, online forums, websites (including Pottermore), fan fiction, theme parks and much more have been developed since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In particular, the “bold, new online venture” (Jenkins 2011) Pottermore is a further extension of the Harry Potter narrative as it allows fans to interact with the story and build an exciting online experience.
Without thinking twice, our attention flows from our computer screens, to our mobile phones and our television screens. Emerging media channels (such as the internet, social media, interactive TV and smartphones) has encouraged the entertainment industry to branch out and expand their franchise across as many different platforms as possible (Jenkins 2007). By doing this, audiences have the ability to further engage with the franchise as they are provided with both exclusive content and an insight into the character’s world. In particular, the emergence of high-speed internet has become one of the most powerful delivery channel for transmedia content. Audiences from all over the world can instantly access, view and share movies, television shows, video games, comics and animations.