Transmedia: 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 quoted by Henry Jenkins.
In smaller, simpler words that I myself can understand, transmedia is essentially the use of multiple media platforms to tell multiple stories to form a cohesive whole. The medium truly is the message in this case. And this case is marketing in the entertainment industry.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Prometheus (it’s as disgusting as the word itself), you will know that it is a ginormous blockbuster spin-off/prequel of the film franchise Alien. But what you may not know is that before Prometheus was released, a massive marketing campaign was undertaken by the film makers.
This campaign is a prime example of transmedia marketing.
It was carried out through a fully functioning company website, which included a 2023 TED talk, a Weyland Industry site, business cards, training centre, David 8 (after fans and influencers unlocked it via socially-released codes), and virtual experiences such as Project Genesis, an employee ID creator, and Discover New Worlds, where you could explore hundreds of colonies and star systems to unlock exclusive concept art.
Through its use of transmedia marketing, the film ensured that it wasn’t going to be a flop, with its audience being able to fully engage and immerse themselves within the Prometheus experience.
Transmedia also allows audiences to create their own content, which is where our fan theories and conspiracy theories originate. Transmedia is clever like this. It lets people become produsers and therefore create an even larger audience. Check out this example from Comic Book Girl 19 below. (Side note: even though Ridley Scott’s genius was shown in Blade Runner with the origami unicorn, you can’t really say the same for Prometheus’ “space jesus”).
If you’re like me though, Prometheus not only scared the shit out of me, but it completely turned me off getting pregnant EVER. And I mean never ever, thank you.
So, here I’ll leave you with a couple of Ridley memes to get those sci-fi cogs in your head turning.