What Audiences Want: Study Uncovers Possible Futures for StorytellingBy Kim Gaskins August 15, 2012
Earlier this year, Latitude set out to understand audiences’ evolving expectations around their everyday content experiences—with TV shows, movies, books, plot-driven video games, news, and even advertising. We began by speaking with leaders in the emerging “transmedia” space to investigate the challenges and the opportunities that today’s storytellers are encountering.
Then we asked 158 early adopters from across the world how they’d like to experience stories in the future. During the course of a generative, online survey, participants were asked to play the role of producer; they chose a narrative (a book, movie, TV show, plot-driven video games, news story, etc.) that they know well and re-invented how audiences might experience that story. Some of the ideas participants suggested are possible today even if they don’t exist yet—while others require technologies that are still several years coming.
Illustrations by Latitude*, (cc) some rights reserved.
You can also view the illustrations on Flickr.
By analyzing our participants’ responses and the storytelling concepts they generated, we were able to uncover four elements—the “4 I’s”—that will continue to play a significant role in our experiences with narrative-based media. Immersion and interactivity primarily help an audience to go deeper into a story, while integration and impact are about bringing a story of out of the screen, into our actual lives.
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Infographic created by Latitude, (cc) some rights reserved.
Some key findings from the study include:
- Transmedia is more than media-shifting. Eighty-two percent of participants wanted more mobile apps that would complement, not just replicate, their TV viewing experiences.
- The real world is a platform, too. When asked to develop a new way of interacting with stories, 52% of participants treated the real world as another “platform,” incorporating networked real-world objects, augmented reality, 3D projected environments, and other technologies that bridge the divide between digital and physical.
- Audiences crave more control. Seventy-nine percent suggested interactions that would allow them to alter a storyline by influencing a character’s decisions or by becoming a character themselves.
- Traditional notions of authorship are changing. The real-time, connected culture of the Web is converting storytelling to a more participatory art; 93% of participants expressed interest in submitting possible story ideas to producers, and a whopping 2/3 said they’d be willing to help fund stories they’re interested in (e.g., on a platform like Kickstarter)
To explore more insights and opportunities, download the full study report for The Future of Storytelling: Phase 1.
We’re currently conducting research for The Future of Storytelling: Phase 2, a large-scale international exploration focused on quantifying storytelling trends and opportunities, and understanding key audiences for multi-platform and transmedia experiences. Phase 2 will be published in Summer 2013. Sign up to be notified by e-mail when findings are available.
Jessica Reinis, Senior Research Analyst
Victoria McComiskey, Research Analyst
*Illustrations by Gregory Hartman for Latitude.
Latitude is an international research consultancy helping clients create engaging content, software and technology that harness the possibilities of the Web. To learn more about working with Latitude, fill out this form or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.