Transmedia Storytelling: An Entrepreneurial Approach


The concept of transmedia production, as both a creative template and business model, is by no means a novel one. Cinema pioneers began to experience a cross-media approach to storytelling 100 years ago, but today’s audiences are in a position to choose the content they want, when they want and on the device of their choice. In other words, the expectation contemporary audiences presume you’ll meet is; any content, anywhere. In the context of a shrinking market populated by increasingly fragmented audiences, transmedia storytelling provides a viable alternative to the conventional TV and Film production business.

To become a part of this digital revolution, entertainment producers will need to learn new skills in development, marketing and distribution, therefore the multitude of platforms and formats available to you as a transmedia or cross-media producer can be exhilarating and overwhelming. Throughout the initial phase of a project’s development, it’s nearly always prohibitively expensive to create and launch every transmedial element simultaneously.

Transmedia Storytelling Expert

As a result of this expense, the first challenge you’ll face is seeding capital to develop and launch the initial elements of your property. Typically, these projects extend across several platforms and most financiers will only consider funding a project on a platform-by-platform basis. Even though the transmedial approach is increasingly platform agnostic, the commissioning process continues to be device orientated, therefore cross-media producers must learn how to best utilize a business model specific to his approach.

This is not to say that you need to single-handedly develop a transmedial business model, but you do need to be disposed to working within an industry that, by and large, is set up for platform-by-platform funding. Break down your overall transmedia funding model into specific platforms, and when you approach a film funder, only pitch the film element of your project. When you go to a games developer or broadcaster, be sure that the central part of your pitch is your game or series.

At beActive, we’ve developed a funding strategy, which divides our production model into stages specific to platform so that potential funders will know how to respond to our pitch. We design three to four different pitches for every property we produce, one for each distinct platform. Each pitch highlights that aspect of the overall project, which aligns with the goals and expectations of a particular funder. Think of your transmedial plan as a staircase and to ensure that you don’t loose focus during any one of your pitches, break down each element of the ‘big picture’ into platform specific steps. That way you can approach radio and television broadcasters, publishers and games companies with a clear and focused pitch.

If you pitch all of the elements in your plan simultaneously, you imply that each platform is equally important. As exciting as your overall plan may be, pitching the ‘big picture’ to a broadcaster, will probably succeed only in making your potential backers uncomfortable. They’ve never produced anything to the scale you’re proposing and are unsure of how to make it work. Rather than trying to seduce them with the full spread of your plan, organize your pitch so that it synchronizes with your funders’ expectations. Then gain their trust by showing your production credits within their format. Your goal is to demonstrate this one element of your ‘big picture’ property in the best light that you can.

Even though there is no rigid framework for the standard product-for-finance exchange in transmedia, there is industry precedence for transmedial funding. Put simply, this business model is geared to generate direct streams of revenue from your advertisers and your audience. This is by no means a novel business strategy; it has been the go-to method of traditional broadcasters for years.

Keep in mind that this strategy requires a long-term investment and, probably, it will not yield immediate cash returns. It will, however, ensure that, in the long term, your projects will work for you by generating sustained, independent profits. Bear in mind that the pioneers of cinema were trying to create a new format that few believed in. When the form was in its infancy, critics did not take it seriously. Cinema was considered a faddish offshoot of vaudeville, while one hundred years later, producers are now exploring new digital platforms online. Like the Hollywood studio moguls of the twentieth century, the pioneers of new media have the opportunity to bring digital art to the mainstream.

Nuno Bernardo is the founder and CEO of TV, film and digital production company beActive. He is also an Emmy nominated writer-producer and the author of “The Producer’s Guide to Transmedia and the upcoming “Transmedia 2.0” books. Find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Transmedia Storytelling: What is Transmedia?

It’s all about Transmedia Storytelling, Marketing, Participatory Media and Convergence. Every producer aspires to design an entertainment brand that can grow into a pop icon, a brand whose storyworld or hero has enough creative potential to power spin-offs and reboots, theme park rides and acres of merchandise. So how can independents achieve this degree of success if they don’t have a hundred million dollars to spend on a marketing campaign or the time to gamble on a viral video or game?

In “Transmedia 2.0: How to Create an Entertainment Brand Using a Transmedial Approach To Storytelling“, Nuno Bernardo will show readers storytelling examples and how to use the transmedia universe approach to build an entertainment brand that can conquer global audiences, readers and users in a myriad of platforms. “Transmedia 2.0” is the follow up to the 2011 bestseller “The Producers Guide to Transmedia” and draws on Nuno Bernardo’s experience of multi-platform storytelling and production.


The Girl in the Spider’s Web: Millennium Series

Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist return
She is the girl with the dragon tattoo—a genius hacker and uncompromising misfit. He is a crusading journalist whose championing of the truth often brings him to the brink of prosecution.
Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from a source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female superhacker—a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering. Blomkvist, in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, turns to Salander for help. She, as usual, has her own agenda. The secret they are both chasing is at the center of a tangled web of spies, cybercriminals, and governments around the world, and someone is prepared to kill to protect it . . .
The duo who captivated millions of readers in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest join forces again in this adrenaline-charged, uniquely of-the-moment thriller.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series

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Transmedia Storytelling Books Now Available

Every producer aspires to design an entertainment brand that can grow into a pop icon, a brand whose storyworld or hero has enough creative potential to power spin-offs and reboots, theme park rides and acres of merchandise. But, how can independents achieve this degree of success if they don’t have one hundred million dollars to spend on a marketing campaign or the time to gamble on a one in a million viral video or game? One of the answers is to use Transmedia Storytelling to build an entertainment brand that can conquer audiences, readers and users around the globe and in a myriad of platforms.

Through his own experience producing transmedia with beActive, Nuno Bernardo developed a step-by-step approach to building long-running Multiplatform Entertainment brands and loyal viewing communities. Now he wants to share his knowledge with filmmakers, television, games, and digital content producers, marketers and brand managers, audiovisual and media students who want to learn a trick or two about how to use stories and a transmedial approach to marketing, advertising and communication to attract audiences and users to their stories and products.

Nuno Bernardo’s Transmedia franchises have been adapted all across the globe, from the UK to China, conquering tens of millions of loyal fans and featuring in the world’s greatest film and television festivals along the way. Nuno has been nominated for three EMMY awards, two Rose d’ Or awards and won two Kidscreen Awards. Based on his experiences, recently he published “Transmedia 2.0”, the follow up to his 2011 best selling book “The Producers Guide to Transmedia”. Find out more about Transmedia Storytelling here.

Beyond Books

What’s out there beyond books? Tons of marketing, publishers, book reviewers, infinite ways of selling them, a huge industry.

But what better way to honor book stories than having a nice place to carefully display them on a shelf ? Some still love buying books from bookstores. You can check the most beautiful of them all around the world.

Borders Books and Music

Borders Group is dead and buried for some years now. Advantages from it’s death had the sellers who anticipated in the perfect moment the growth of online sales. But people are still talking about that nice atmosphere: “a booklover’s dream.” The full story can be remembered reading this article.

Books, thousands of them. Endless shelves of books – fresh books, old books, every possible kind of book. Soft chairs to sit in and soft-selling staff people who knew books, loved books, could talk about books. So the question is still out there: should Borders Books & Music be resurrected?

Books Borders

When Borders opened its first store in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the book industry was a different place. But for years, Borders acted like it wasn’t.

What was it that forced Borders to write its final chapter?

Check out the main 5 reasons why Borders went out of business and what will take is place here.

Borders Books Austin

I have always enjoyed coming to this store because it was a fun place to browse. They usually had just about everything I was looking for. And if you couldn’t find it, an employee was happy to help look it up for you and order it if possible. They also had computerised kiosks throughout the store to find information on their listed and available items with directions to where it was displayed in the store and on the shelf.

They always had lots of discounted books on the sale tables as you first walk into the store. I always had to stop there first and sometimes found some great deals on something I was interested in. (…)” – Ida H. – Sacramento, CA

Check out some other reviews of Borders Books Austin here.

Books and Borders

Borders Group, Inc. (former NYSE ticker symbol BGP) was an international book and music retailer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The company employed approximately 19,500 throughout the U.S., primarily in its Borders and Waldenbooks stores.

As of January 30, 2010, the company operated 511 Borders superstores in the US. The company also operated 175 stores in the Waldenbooks Specialty Retail segment, including Waldenbooks, Borders Express, Borders airport stores, and Borders Outlet stores.

Read more here.