Edelman DERT - Social Entertainment Trends (Oct '11)
THEEXPERIENCETHEBEHAVIOURTHEFRANCHISETHEPLATFORMTHESTRATEGY TRENDS SOCIALOctober 2011 ENTERTAINMENT
Once upon a time, playing a game was a social experience in its simplest form. Then technology got in the way so you didn‟t necessarily need your friends there too. Fast forward a bit and „social gaming‟ is the buzz-phrase of choice. But is social gaming actually very social? In many cases no, the games just might live on a social network. Things are about to come full circle again though with a new generation of games. The Sims Social is a soon to be launched Facebook version of the 100m selling game that lets players bringTHEEXPERIENCE their Facebook friends into the gameplay. So where other „social games‟ may let players share updates and content, Sims Social will leverage online relationships as part of the gaming experience. Marrying the „social‟ with gaming brings exciting opportunities; it also could bring a potential minefield of social faux pas as you bring your online friends into your virtual world. Meanwhile Flickr is beta-testing a new multiplayer social game, Glitch. Set in the minds of giants in a surreal world and tied directly into Facebook, friends work together to „solve the mystery of their environment‟. The trend for social gaming is about to get a whole lot more sociable.
Using social media for social good is on the rise. Recently in London we‟ve seen how hashtags on Twitter have been used to organise clean ups across London following the rioting. On Facebook, groups sprung up immediately to show support for communities and the emergency services. The organisation of large groups of people through twitter is nothing new, however the impact was more obvious than before. The resulting action by members of the public went as far to make the front page of the New York Post.THEBEHAVIOUR Twestival is one of the original uses of social media for social good, connecting communities offline on a single day to highlight a great cause and have a fun event. Since 2009, volunteers have raised $1.75 million for over 275 nonprofits. Currently in Beta testing, Blue Dot is another example of social media “doing good”. A citizen owned social currency, Blue Dot is a way of thanking people for their time, effort and money given to help others. In essence, you do something good (a donation or spending time with a charity) and you receive virtual blue dot which you can redeem for movies, books, games, virtual goods and money off vouchers to use for yourself.
When it comes to brand extensions, for every Pirates of the Caribbean (which started life as a theme park ride), there‟s a long list of failures. But a successful „extension‟ across formats or platforms can be a powerful thing. So although the term „transmedia storytelling‟ has been around since „03, it‟s now that we‟re starting to see the real examples of this as the true evolution of the brand extension. From the sublime: Pottermore.com is a creative community for Harry Potter fans, offering a direct relationship to theTHEFRANCHISE storyteller & a chance to participate & extend the story. Cleverly, it‟s also the only portal for purchasing Potter e- books. To the ridiculous: Having already announced a film, Angry Birds is now embarking on the launch of a cook book & collection of educational books. Taking the brand off on a total tangent that speaks more of extending revenues than narratives. So what makes a successful extension? Narrative & quality. There needs to be a good enough story to extend, & a quality & relevance of product which aligns with the starting point.
The bed time story has evolved and it‟s now all about the iPad. It‟s also about some rather beautiful visuals and an interactivity that causes excitement way beyond children. Morris Lessmore is a great example. A digital reinventionTHEPLATFORM of storytelling, the interactive book is the first by Moonbot Studios. Whether tumbling through a storm, playing the piano or flying through a magical world, the app lifts the story from the pages and puts the reader in the middle of it. Created by an ex-Pixar designer, it uses rich computer generated animation, music, games and innovative interactivity so well that it knocked Angry Birds off the top of the app chart. Offering interactivity of a different kind is the Infinite Adventure Machine by David Benqué. Developed as a Microsoft project, it‟s a computer program that generates crude outlines for an infinite number of children‟s stories where the reader fills in the blanks. It works by randomly aggregating 31 basic narrative elements. The synopsis is then spread over the virtual pages, each giving a basic plot alongside an illustration, the reader then fills in the details. A prototype at this stage, but an exciting start.
The traditional entertainment superpowers are facing a challenge from the new (but very well known) kids in town - Facebook and YouTube. The well established social brands are making strategic moves to become fully fledged entertainment providers, way beyond their founding remit. Having successfully launched in India, YouTube is now bringing its online film rental service to Britain. With more than 1,000 films available, the service offers a new and convenient platform for movie viewing, teamed with additional content including behind-the-scenes videos, cast interviews and parodies.THESTRATEGY Meanwhile, Facebook has locked down a variety of content partners to help it become the de facto global entertainment hub. Through partnerships with Spotify, Netflix and numerous other multimedia companies, Zuckerberg‟s baby has evolved to give its 800 million users a platform to consume and share music, films, games, news and everything inbetween. While the last five years have been about signing people up to the social network, it‟s now all about entertainment.