Cross-Media Entertainment

This Blog shares Christy Dena’s research into cross-media entertainment. It is about storyworlds that are experienced over more than one medium and arts type. (Previously ‘crossmediastorytelling’)

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May 24, 2006

Quick Stats: Top 10 Social Networking Sites

by @ 3:31 pm. Filed under Stats

On May 11 Nielsen//NetRatings released their press release on the top social networking sites for the US [pdf].

“Social networking sites are the reality television of the Internet,” said Jon Gibs, senior director of media, Nielsen//NetRatings.

Top 10 Social Networking Sites for April 2006 (U.S., Home and Work)
1. MySpace
2. Blogger
3. Classmates Online
4. YouTube
5. MSN Groups
6. AOL Hometown
7. Yahoo! Groups
8. MSN Spaces
9. Six Apart TypePad

In summary, 45% of of web users are reached through these sites. Good summary of some relevant sites, but I wouldn’t call them all “social networking” sites. What isn’t social on the web? They’re a mix of sites that try to encourage socialising, sites that facilitate self-publication, sites that facilitate finding each other, sites that facilitate grouping according to interests…a big mix which I think is silly to bunch together. I guess the list is more for advertisers to reach consumers, it is about sites that have the greatest reach, sites that people gravitate too. Anyway, quick stat and quick rant over.

May 15, 2006

Reblog: What is Interactive Advertising?

by @ 5:45 am. Filed under Research, Industry, Audiences

Here is a great essay on Interactive Advertising that was published in the Convergence Newsletter (from Newsplex at the University of South Carolina, vol. III, No.11, May 9 2006), that I thought I’d reblog here:

What is Interactive Advertising?
By Cheryl Harris, associate professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of South Carolina

With varying degrees of permitted response and functionality, interactive advertising offers viewers the opportunity to interact with ads by requesting additional information, expressing opinions and/or making purchases. Interactive advertising must be sufficiently persuasive to generate a response from the viewer. Increasingly, it appears that effective advertising in the convergent media age is advertising that has been customized or personalized to fit the current preferences of the viewer. In general, advertisers have learned that “one size fits all” advertising generates much lower response rates than targeted ads. As the digital platforms for Interactive Television (ITV) or Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) come online, some advertisers are already experimenting with various types of customization and personalization that will be coupled with interactive response functions.


February 15, 2006

Audience Update: VOD, TV & Net

by @ 9:08 am. Filed under Industry, Stats, Audiences, Technology

Nielsen Media Research teamed their research with Comcast’s to establish data on audience usage of VOD. They tested 180 households in Philadelphia during June-August last year. The key finding, for me, is that audiences are still using VOD AND scheduled TV —I don’t like using “scheduled TV” as part of the TV experience, for me, is serendipity: how about SSTV? But, back to the point. Audiences are using BOTH, not one above the other. Why? Because each has it own affordances, its own unique traits. This is what cross-media is all about: a wider range of media that audiences CHOOSE according to their availability, access, desired experience, preference…not replacing fixed media with new media and having convergent devices (in the end there can only be one convergent device!) everywhere. Here are the results, and the full report with nifty charts is downloadable here.

“This study confirms that VOD complements the traditional TV viewing experience. In addition to watching programming not available on traditional TV, customers are using VOD to learn about shows they may not have seen before or ‘catch up’ on past episodes of series they’ve missed.”

  • 75% of households with access to VOD used it at least once during the three-month study, indicating a high VOD sampling rate. VOD users averaged 69 minutes of viewing per day.

  • Households that tuned to Comcast’s ON DEMAND service watched traditional television for an average of 723 minutes per day—9% higher than all digital cable households and 38% higher than all cable households.

  • The VOD audience is a younger audience. 18-34 year olds comprised 37% of all VOD minutes viewed compared to 20% of all traditional television minutes. Children age 2-11 accounted for 19% of all VOD minutes, but only 9% of all traditional television minutes. In contrast, viewers over age 54 accounted for only 3% of VOD minutes compared to 30% of all traditional television minutes.

  • Free VOD (including shows from ad-supported cable networks, a library of movies, music programming and more) was the most sampled VOD content, viewed by about 42% of VOD homes during the survey. However, subscription VOD content (from services like HBO, Showtime and Starz) accounted for the most minutes (54%) of viewing, with VOD homes watching an average of 670 minutes of this content over the three months.

And, not only are audiences watching VOD and SSTV, they’re online for an equal amount of time too!:

Juniper Research’s report, U.S. Entertainment and Media Consumer Survey, 2005, (released 30 Jan 06) details how the average audience member is using 14 hours of the Net, which is about equal, they say, to the time spent watching TV. Here are some other findings:

  • Even the most intensive users of newspapers and magazines spend less time reading these publications than they do online or watching TV

  • 37% of all online users report that they spend less time reading books because of their online activities

  • Intensive online users are the most likely demographic to use advanced Internet technology, such as streaming radio and RSS

January 14, 2006

Mobisode, Hollywood style

by @ 3:31 pm. Filed under Uncategorized, Industry, Repurposing

A new mobisode is out that looks like it was created using Hollywood production standards, as well as Hollywood stars. Flatland, a Ruddy Morgan Organization Production (the fellows who brought us Million Dollar Baby and The Godfather), was created for worldwide distribution through mobile and broadband. The mobile design & producer is Timothy Shey, who came by and alerted me about this show but the comment seems to have disappeared! Tim started a company, Proteus, in 1996, and has been working on wireless applications for a while, including mobisode versions of The Sopranos and Sex & the City. Tim’s latest creation, the Flatland mobisode, is described as “the first original action series produced for broadband, hand-held, PSP and mobile phonesâ€?.

The overall story is described as follows:

The year is 2010. The place is Shanghai. Three young Americans—Quentin Mitchell (PHYLLIP RHYS), JT Dunnit (BUMPER ROBINSON) and Amy Li (FRANCOISE YIP)—find themselves trapped in the mysterious web of a man known only by the name of Smith (DENNIS HOPPER). Smith’s world “Flatland” is terrifying, a place where the past and present exist at the same time, intersecting with deadly consequences. Where reality changes in a heartbeat. Where life and death hang on the blink of an eye.

It is Dennis Hopper’s first mobisode appearance. Previews of the series are available, as well as downloads for PSP and iPod.

An interview with Tim, conducted by Keren Flavell, is available for podcast. In the interview, Tim talks about writing and filming for the various devices. They re-edited the series for each media channel, according to their affordances. They have done short-form versions for the mobisodes: 2-3 minute episodes that focus on certain elements in the episodes, and long-form for iPods & broadband. The shots were tight, with some even cropped further for the mobisode. The content was created as a non-linear storyline, to be told from alot of different perspectives, and to work cross-culturally.The mobisode series is dialogue-driven whereas the major action scenes are in the broadband and downloadable versions. Now, this sounds like Tim knows what he is doing. Indeed, rather than repurposing exactly the same content, Tim is altering the work according to each device. This requires knowing each device, each audience for each device and then altering the story (what is told) & discourse (how it is told).

There aren’t that many resources for writing & shooting mobisodes. Here are some:

Holson, L.M. (2005) ‘Pocket-size screen’s new rules‘, International Herald Tribune

Mobile Filmmaking: Lessons

Nielsen, J. (1998) ‘Microcontent: How to Write Headlines, Page Titles, and Subject Lines’,

Tim plans to simultaneously release, like Forget the Rules, sometime this year worldwide. I’ll add it my list of mobisodes.

November 30, 2005

Latest Gamer and Mobile stats

by @ 8:31 pm. Filed under Uncategorized, Research, Industry, Stats, Audiences

The long awaited report by Nielsen Entertainment Video Game Benchmark Report
I’ve mentioned this report before, and discussed about some other stats. For those of us who don’t have a dream researcher budget, ACTeN provide some more stats:

  • Wait and See: Many active gamers appear to be in a holding pattern, before making a purchase decision on next-generation consoles, with nearly 50% of active gamers stating they will likely wait until both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 are released before making a final decision
  • Xbox 360 vs. PS3: While most are taking the wait and see approach, those that own and prefer Xbox are more likely to buy Xbox 360 than those that own and prefer PS2 are to buy the PS3
  • Moving Online: 57% of active gamers have played online with free casual online games the most used and a notable 21% having played MMO games
  • Women are Playing: While online-enabled console, MMO and gambling gamers are disproportionately male—76% vs. 24%—casual gamers who play free online games such as puzzles are just as likely to be women as men, 49% vs. 51% respectively
  • Good Scores on Mobile Gaming: 18% of active gamers have downloaded a game to their cell phone, with nearly two-thirds (63%) rating their experience from good to excellent
  • Jock Games Rule: Traditional Sports is the most preferred game genre followed by Role Playing and First-Person Shooter
  • Men of Opportunity Value: Males 25-34 and Hispanics represent the most valuable emerging market for video games with high entertainment budgets and higher potential than other segments for increased video game spending
  • Dominating Leisure Time: Nearly 25% of a gamer’s leisure time is spent playing video games, with males playing 12 hours per week on average.

There is also the Nielsen Entertainment’s Mobile Entertainment Consumer Benchmarking Study, which ACTeN have been generous in supplying the following:

* Turnover Equals Opportunity: 52% of mobile phone users will buy a new phone within the year with 37% claiming additional features will figure prominently in their decision making process

  • Mobile Atop Media: On average, active mobile phone consumers report spending 17 hours on their phones per week, 13 talking and 4 on data services, surpassing music, video games, movie going and home entertainment
  • Mobile Girls are over TVs: Young females are on their mobile phone 23.5 hours per week on average, more time than the 20.9 hours they report watching television
  • Following the Money: Topping all entertainment expenditures for share of wallet, mobile phone users spend $57.50 each month on their phone and related services
  • Mass Market, Mass Medium: 85% or 144 million 13-54 year-olds are mobile phone users
  • Cutting the Cord: One in seven mobile phone users have no home landline and 35% consider their mobile phone to be their primary phone
  • Nickels and Dimes: Of the mobile consumers polled, 60% said they pay for text messaging; 48% for custom ring tones; and 22% for games
  • Music Madness: One in five (21%) teens downloaded at least 10 ringtones in the last three months, including one in eight (12%) who downloaded 15 or more
  • Multiple Dominant Brands: Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and LG are cited as top hardware providers while Verizon, Cingular, Sprint Nextel and TMobile are cited as top service providers

Gamers Agree: Women and men share the preference to play board, card and puzzle games on their mobile phones.

October 8, 2005

Simultaneous, Concurrent & Meshing Usage

by @ 11:58 am. Filed under Uncategorized, Research, Industry, Stats, Audiences

Why is cross-media storytelling more than an artistic choice? People are crossing media already, using many types of media everyday and using more than one at a time. There has been plenty of industry research (particularly from the advertising industry) about media usage, but the following are significant. The latest one was released on the 26th September this year and is described as ‘the most comprehensive observational media use study ever undertaken’. The Ball State University study, Middletown Media Studies 2 (MMS2), followed about 400 ‘ordinary people’ in Muncie and Indianapolis, recording on a PDA every 15 secs what media they were using. they observed them from the time they woke up until the time they went to sleep, observing on average for 12.9 hours per day and ending up with over 5,000 hours of observation and 1.2 million pieces of data. Conducted by Mike Bloxham, Robert Papper, Mark Popovich and Michael Holmes, it found a high occurance of what they term concurrent media exposure: ‘exposure to content from multiple media simultaneously available through shared or shifting attention’. They found 120 possible different combinations of concurrent media exposure. That is 120 different possible stereo experiences and cross-media configurations.

Some Stats:
* 96.3 percent of the sample indulged in concurrent media usage 30.7 percent of the media day;
* The average person spends about nine hours a day using some type of media;
* 39 percent of the day was spent with media while involved in some other activity;
* 30 percent of all media time is spent exposed to more than one medium at a time;
* Levels of concurrent media exposure were higher among those 40 to 65 than people 18 to 39;
* Women spend more time multitasking with two or more types of media than men (we all knew that!);

Sources: Online Publishers Association, Media Week, MediaPost, Christian Science Monitor.

The other significant research I’m aware of is the research into simultaneous media usage. Some findings were published in the paper ‘Simultaneous media usage: A critical consumer orientation to media planning’ in Journal of Consumer Behaviour. The study looked at 12,322 respondents, ‘sampled via an online network’ and was published in 2004. A very cheerful American presenter will explain the BigResearch survey here. This survey is interesting because it delves further into the media combinations.

Some Stats:
* 70% of consumers, at one time or another, use media simultaneously;
* Going online top simultaneous medium for radio listeners;
* Newspapers best companion for television watchers;
* When listening to radio 57.3% simultaneously go online, 46.9% read newspaper and 17.7% watch TV;
* Newspapers are a TV watcher’s best friend;
* For those online whilst watching TV: they prefer documentaries on the background;
* Movies are the preferred programming for people who read newspapers and also watching TV (64.3%) followed by police detective shows (56%) and situation comedies (51.5%.);
* 52.4% of newspaper readers say they watch TV and 49.6% say they listen to the radio when reading the newspaper;
* More women (52.4%) than men (49.6%) prefer reading the newspaper and listening to the radio simultaneously;
* When online, 61.8% say they also watch TV, 52.1% listen to the radio and 20.2% are reading the newspaper.

What the report also stated was that the 18-34 year old television viewer was down 8.8% and 25-34 year olds were down 12.2%. ‘What are they doing instead of watching TV while online? They are playing video games.’ Now, the news that this age-group were playing video games is no news, but I’m wondering. In the context of CME/SIMM/MM, are video game players not multitasking?

In a Video Gaming Industry Benchmark Report on Emerging Markets, Spending, and Cross-Media Ownership for Interactive Entertainment conducted by Nielsen Entertainment (which still isn’t avialable) the question still isn’t answered. The report was conducted by a random digital dial frame (RDD) (is that a random phone call?) of over 1500 respondents during January and February 2005. The study looks at Gamer demographics; Penetration figures; Cross ownership; Purchase behavior along with rental and usage behavior; Purchase motivators; Attitudes towards next generation hardware. Although the cross ownership stats will be interesting, I’m hoping with will be coupled with information about usage behaviour and particularly tracking consumption within a franchise.

Some Stats
* There is a strong connection between DVD and game consumption to be exploited in marketing and cross-promotion;
* 40% of U.S. households own at least one of the following game systems for game play—PC, home console or handheld device.
* 23% of gamers own all three types of gaming devices—PC, console and handheld;
* Among those who own a gaming device, 89% own a console, 65% own a PC, 36% own
a handheld;
* Active gamers typically spend approximately 5.2 hours playing by themselves with a large proportion also being spent playing socially (3.07 hours per week with friends and family or online);
* Among females, the split between solo and social game play is even more equitable with younger females 13-17 tending to play more with friends or family (54% of the time) and women 25-34 playing almost as much socially as alone.
* Males and females 45 and older are markedly different, spending almost all their time (79%) playing alone.

Released on 27th Sept was an ‘in-depth study’ of 13-24 year olds in 11 countries: Truly, Madly, Deeply Engaged: Global Youth, Media and Technology. The report, by Yahoo!Inc. and OMDWorldwide, was qualitative and quantitative. The former had 16 focus groups and 15 in-home ethnographies in six countries (Chicago, Mexico City, London, Berlin, Seoul, and Shanghai) with participants representing teens, aged 15-18, and young adults, aged 20-22. The quantitative component was an online survey with over 5,334 respondents, aged 13-24 and was conducted in Julyand August this year. This generation, what they term the My Media Generation: who are ‘highly motivated by the need for community and self-expression’, ‘have developed an immense capacity to multitask’.

Some Stats:
* Can fit up to 44 hours of activities in just one day;
* Ability to perform up to three tasks simultaneously, using multiple technologies;
* On average the global My Media Generation performs approximately three to four other tasks while surfing the Internet and approximately two to three other tasks while watching television;
* Traditional media are often pushed to “background” status in the “media-meshing” hierarchy;
* Turning to the Internet for content;
* TV serves as a mechanism for escape and entertainment…

Source: Finanzen.

Simultaneous Media Usage: “multiple exposures to various media forms at a single point in time for the same media consumer” [source]
Concurrent Media Exposure: “exposure to content from multiple media simultaneously available through shared or shifting attention” [source]
Media Meshing: “is a behavioral phenomenon that occurs when people begin an experience in one medium, such as watching television, then shift to another, such as surfing the Internet, and maybe even a third, such as listening to music. The explanation for this behavior is the constant search for complementary information, different perspectives, and even emotional fulfillment.” [source]

Don’t let me let you astray you though. Cross-media storytelling isn’t just about using more than one media at once, and it isn’t just about media convergence (rebroadcasting the same content over multiple media). Cross-media storytellers recognise that messages are delivered in many forms, and can combine them in symphonic experiences: sometimes in stereo and sometimes one after another. Gary gives more info and an experienced analysis at his blog too.

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A cross-media creator is a conductor of an orchestra of media channels & arts types; an imagineer, constructing fictional worlds that cover the planet; a programmer, interpreting conversations between technology and nature; a sorcerer conjuring awesome events even they are surprised by; an audience member that wanted more, and so made a pact with The Creator to change the world.
— Christy Dena, 2005


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