by: Idris Mootee

Every individual in this world shares one commonality which is we all have stories to tell. Some have very interesting ones and some are sad. It is like we all have a photo albums or a 60 minutes documentary that talks about our life. The older we get, the more repetitive these stories become. The true role of story and storytelling is much greater, older, and elemental than Hollywood.

The human animal is a narrative animal and we are made of stories. We tell them, understand them, remember them, and live them. In the canonical image of village people sitting around a fire at night, everybody is listening to the storyteller tell the tales of the day, the season or of the people themselves. The tales were about life itself - living it, surviving it and ending it; whether historically or metaphorically. And since stories are such an important part of our very nature, we have no choice but to apply this natural and powerful tool to entertainment as well as to the other parts of our lives, like business. MIT's Jenkins describes transmedia story telling as "Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story."

For many who are eager to share their stories. There is always a challenge of not finding the right audiences or enough audiences. Then came YouTube, almost like the answer to their prayers. It is more than just silly videos. The idea of finding new ways to tell them and actually taking the time out to "listen" can bring happiness and inspire people by recognizing relationships and likenesses on a human level, across every corner of the world. These stories capture our emotions, experiences and events. Advertising has always been telling story via a 30sec TV commercials and every scene is carefully designed to tell a brand story and to elicit emotive responses. In the interactivity world, creative folks use categorization, visual cues, and layered interactivity to tell stories within stories within stories --a digital/emotional experience that can live on the web forever. In an era of convergence, consumers are becoming explorers and gatherers pulling together information from multiple sources to form a new synthesis. Advertisers began to learn to embrace this powerful concept as a branding tool as they seek to leverage them across medium.

The democratization and bottom-up programming are slowing down anytime. It is a tough one for traditional media companies to  respond to because younger companies can take a lot of risk that more established companies cannot. Think about the risk YouTube took and it paid off. The problem with large companies is they're not doing strategic product development, which involves launch, listen and learn. Instead they're wasting six months doing strategic planning, Any planning can only be agile in this world. You need to act fast. Companies who put user needs and emerging behavior above all else will be better able to adjust to media's ever-changing environment.

Let me throw you a million dollar idea here, if these self-produced mini-clips can be used as powerful medium to carry a brand message, then opportunity exist for a company to broker marketers and ad agencies to sponsor them. With the continuous rise of YouTube as a distribution channel for consumer-generated videos, it makes sense even for consumer electronics manufacturers (cell phones, cameras etc) to incorporate YouTube functionality into their digital video cameras. By cutting down a few conversion steps, camera makers have eliminated a key hurdle between users' footage and their computers. Just upload directly from your video camera. There is no questions that the number of video content creators is likely to grow, (both amateur and professional and pro-amateur) and this is further validated by a Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates study commissioned by Hill & Knowlton. PSB found that 41% of adult consumers would like to use a personal computer for creating or editing video or audio. Below: Photo of SamSung YouTube phones.

So the question is, if I am an advertiser, I would find the top 100 consumer generated video clip that can increase my brand relevance to the market and offer to buy the rights for a product placement. If a company comes to me and tell me I can have my brand message appears in these 100 video clips for six months I will cut them a check. I will even consider signing them up to sponsor their next episode whatever. I think there's money to be made here. I can write this business plan for this in a few hours. If you can come up with another idea, ping me. I will write the plan for you if it is a good one.

Original Post: http://mootee.typepad.com/innovation_playground/2007/11/transmedia-stor.html

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