The Expanded Story From Transmedia as a Business Model: The Case of Stranger Things

The Expanded Story From Transmedia as a Business Model: The Case of Stranger Things

Virginia Guarinos (University of Seville, Spain) and Sergio Cobo Durán (University of Seville, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3119-8.ch025

Abstract

It is the creation of transmedia stories is that drives the business model and not the business model that drives the stories. In other words, the transmedia narrative is the means and not the end; it is the essential step for transmedia marketing. This chapter is centred on the study of the Netflix series Stranger Things (2016-) as an example of the redefinition of a transmedia strategy without a truly transmedia story. The recent Netflix campaigns have managed to make the beginning of the second season of the show into a viral campaign in Spain, thanks to its connection to Spanish pop-culture personalities. The series relies on an obvious aesthetic; themes and narratives from the nineteen-eighties. This makes an intertextual analysis of the story interesting. In this chapter, we propose an analysis of marketing strategies as an expansion of the diegetic universe using various supports.
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Background

While there is still a lack of consensus regarding terminology in this field, we consider transmedia to designate a narrative universe that cannot be completed without drawing together the fragments scattered over a range of platforms that audiences interact with in a preconceived, directed manner. In this sense, there are many audiovisual products that are not transmedia phenomena from the outset. Many scholars believe that transmediality should not be measured in terms of plans but results; in other words, it may come into existence due to unforeseen circumstances. There are therefore “two ways to bring transmediality to a piece: the strategic modality - following a temporal and spatial expansion strategy that is planned in advance; or the tactical modality - working progressively, without a pre-prepared strategy, sometimes on the basis of the external inputs the producer receives” (Ivars-Nicolás & Zaragoza-Fuster, 2018, p. 259).

Whichever of these circumstances applies, there is a strategic process of organising or reorganising the consumption experience of the resulting product. All transmedia architecture includes a main product and multiple derivative or secondary products. It should be noted that there are also subcategories of derivative textual products, “text” not being all that it may seem. This is not only because their narrative content breaks free from the parental canon, but because their function is primarily that of a bridge between the main and secondary texts or between the secondary texts, their purpose being more “behavioural” and promotional than simply narrative. As Gray explains, there are texts containing a central narrative and paratexts where promotional value adds to and overshadows their potential narrative contributions, serving to facilitate audiences’ access to the desired text (entryway paratexts) or to guide their exit out of it (in media res paratexts) (2018, p. 35).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Transmedia Business: A business model envisaging that a complete product will only be distributed, sold and consumed over several platforms, rather than just one.

Transmedia Branding: A transmedia product that becomes a solid, continuous and successful form can be considered a brand in itself.

Stranger Things: Fictional series, produced by Netflix (2016-)

Transmedia Storytelling: Storytelling that involves the design of fiction, non-fiction, advertising and entertainment universes, which are produced in different formats and media.

TV Series: An audiovisual format characterised by its fragmentation, in that it is composed of various episodes of distinct lengths and genres.

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