On The “Fringe” of Transmedia Storytelling
Some of you may know of a previous TV show called Fringe. If you haven’t, basically the TV show was a sci-fi thriller/dystopia about alternate universes. The show aired in the U.S and quickly became a sensation from 2008-2013.
Fringe used transmedia storytelling before the term became more well-known, to invite people into their universe. For those of you who don’t know what transmedia storytelling is, it’s the idea that multiple media outlets are used in different ways to continue one storyline.
Asside from the TV series, Fringe had a website that became a mystery game for users to decipher. The website had its own language which revealed clues about the TV series. People who never looked at the website would still understand the show, but the website gave a deeper understanding and provided hidden messages that otherwise would have been looked over.
Personally, this was my favorite part of the show. After every episode I would try to figure out different meanings and stories from the website. In a way, the website provided its own universe for reality. The website also released posters available for purchase with hidden easter eggs.
Fringe used transmedia to its fullest because the company had complete control over all of it’s media outlets. Fringe used TV, internet, and paper outlets to complete its message. In return this brought revenue to the franchise because people wanted more. The more there was to learn, the more people wanted to know.
Fringe was a transmedia success because it sold the story of a mystery without users realizing this was all part of the plan. The mystery draws people in and keeps people interested. Fringe let users go as far as they wanted and discover as much as they wanted on their terms. If you only wanted to watch the show, that was ok. If you wanted to participate in the fringe online universe you could do that as well.
From my BCM112 media class lecture, I learned that connections breed interactions, which breed communities which breed excitement which eventually breed revenue. This is the model that fringe used to gain traction.
Soon there was an online community that everyone wanted to be a part of and participate in.
This whole idea of multiple channels delivering and selling one message is what transmedia storytelling is all about. As a Journalism major, it’s interesting to understand the kind of content that gets users hooked. Soon, transmedia storytelling may be the ONLY way to tell a story.
Fringe is not the first TV show to use transmnedia story telling, and it surely won’t be the last.
This article gives and interesting look into the future of transmedia storytelling: