(Source: Google images)
’50 shades of media’ is just an exaggeration I’m using to showcase how the book trilogy ’50 Shades of Grey’ has considered the notion of Transmedia Narration but has made it become sort of a Transmedia Franchise. “Transmedia storytelling practices may expand the potential market for a property by creating different points of entry for different audience segments” (Henry Jenkins, 2007). I definitely agree with Jenkins here on this one. Why not take advantage of our rapidly evolving digital and social nature and release a story through multiple mediums? Now don’t get confused between Multimedia and Transmedia. As Ted explained in our lecture, Multimedia is simply the same story being told through different mediums, whereas Transmedia is multiple parts of a story shown through different mediums.
Now this self-recognised notion of Transmedia Franchising in ’50 shades of grey’ definitely screams out to me. The marketers definitely recognised their need to expand their book in different ways to keep it engaging. Most probably due to its 40 million copies being sold in its quite short existence. They couldnt however just take the Multimedia approach and just write the book in Chinese, Bulgarian and Polish, as this is not really anything innovative and exciting. The engagement with consumers of the book (mostly middle-aged women) through portals such as their Facebook page created excitement which then caused a launch of a an official board game! (oh great..) “The dirty minds behind mummy porn phenomenon 50 Shades Of Grey have come up with a board game based on the naughty novels. It offers an exciting new play pattern for our range of party games that allows everyone to finally reveal their Inner Goddess” (Garland, 2012). This brilliant yet saucy innovation was created in my opinion due to the great reception it had with female readers. The reader wanted to feel what it is like to be Anna (the main female character), so the dirty-minded makers of the game give the players a chance to ‘Reveal their Inner Goddess’ which will hopefully create a different reading experience once they move onto the sequels.
There is even speculation that they are going to release a perfume and lingerie line and a movie! Now before my female readers start running to the mall, understand that they have taken the concept of transmedia narration and applied it to a franchise sort of sense. The movie could possibly show a character’s perspective that wasnt shown in the book? This will definitely engage the fans further. At the end of the day, it is what brings them home (the makers) the bacon.
Jenkins sums it up quite nicely “A transmedia text does not simply disperse information: it provides a set of roles and goals which readers can assume as they enact aspects of the story through their everyday life.”