Cross-Media Forum – Part 2: Paul Tyler and Wayne Fletcher on how to engage transmedia audiences.

The Cross-Media Forum Conference 2012 explores how media organisations and formats are engaging with audiences across multiple platforms. The second session explored how technology is changing the role and expectations of audiences. 

Paul Tyler runs creative consultancy Handling Ideas and kicked off the second session by discussed how technology is changing social norms and how we need to respond to that as storytellers. New technology creates new habits and new social norms, and thus new needs and expectations. He comments that a major problem in cross-media production is that content makers are obsessed with delivering to platforms, rather than delivering to users. In creating transmedia content journeys, producers need to understand that they are funnelling audiences and think like designers. The user journey will pivot around: awareness -> understanding -> sign-up -> use -> completion -> advocacy. Tyler is convinced that to innovate new formats, we should not think about technology but rather think about users, user experiences and how audiences respond to technology.

Next up was Wayne Fletcher, Innovation Partner at McCann Erickson, talking about audience attitudes, needs and behaviours – “the social science of 21st century ideas”. Fletcher shared the DVF New York Fashion Week video shot using only Google Glass as an example of storytelling at the intersection of new technologies. He then discussed how understanding the motivations of users to consume content can allow producers to create even more powerful, engaging and shareable experiences. Drivers to consume include enlightenment, escape, belonging and social riches.

A study conducted by the New York Times earlier this year found that key motivations to use social media included to grow and nourish relationships (78%), and to define ourselves to others (68%). Understanding this, utilising social media in narrative experiences can not just be about distribution, but must become about connection and identity. Rather than thinking “channels first” (twitter, facebook, youtube etc), Fletcher encouraged producers to think “motivations first”. In terms of technology, he believes producers must not to think about producing stories for unique platforms, but focus on media collisions and how storytelling methods interact and flow across diverse platforms. Tyler concluded with what he believes it takes to create dynamic storytelling: integrated, impactful, immersive, interactive and, most importantly, human experiences.

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