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Designing, Implementing and Producing for Participation: Media Convergence in Practice

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Abstract

In today’s hybrid media landscape the previously distinct borders between production and consumption blur. Convergence may be created intentionally by media companies, or happen as a bottom-up social process initiated by media users searching entertainment experiences. This chapter presents the study of one such hybrid production, Sanningen om Marika (Eng. The Truth About Marika). A Swedish public service provider and a pervasive games startup company combined their expertise in broadcasting and games development to craft this ‘participation drama’. It offered the audience rich possibilities to interact and participate, or just to watch or lurk on the various platforms. With an ethnographic approach the design, implementation and production phases were studied and analyzed. The many types of appearing convergences—industrial, technical, cultural and social—and the various difficulties they created in the (blurred) processes of production and consumption are dealt with in this chapter.

Keywords

  • Media convergence
  • Media production processes
  • Television
  • Pervasive games
  • Internet
  • Transmedia storytelling

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This is how the company spelled its name at the time.

  2. 2.

    IPerG was a European Union-funded project (FP6—004457) run between 2004 and 2008. The aim was to create entirely new game experiences, tightly interwoven with everyday life through objects, devices and people that surround people and places. Through an exploratory approach several showcase games were created called “pervasive games”. New technologies and methods were explored for the creation of novel and compelling forms of content. http://iperg.sics.se/index.php Accessed 28th Jan 2013.

  3. 3.

    As Montola et al. state this new family of games has been called many names like ‘adaptronic games, alternate reality games, ambient games, appropriative games, augmented reality games, brink games, context aware games, crossmedia games, geogames, hybrid games, immersive games, invasive games, location-based games, locative games, massive games, mixed reality games, mobile games, pervasive games, reality games, supergames, total games, transreality games, ubiquitous games, urban games, and so on’ (2009: xix–xx).

  4. 4.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/pervasive, accessed on 6th February 2013.

  5. 5.

    The reader who wants to dig deeper into my analysis will find it in Pretend it is real!: Convergence culture in practice (Denward, 2011).

  6. 6.

    See www.thecompanyp.se

  7. 7.

    Interviews P producer, CEO and Creative Director, May 2007.

  8. 8.

    The ReGenisis ARG was produced by The Movie Network.

  9. 9.

    Nordgren, A. (unpublished work) Tools for Runtime Game Mastering of Large-Scale Pervasive Games. Stories and Lessons from The Truth of Marika.

  10. 10.

    It was aired on five consecutive Sundays evenings on channel SVT2, starting end of October 2007. Each 45-min-long sequence was followed by a 15-min debate show.

  11. 11.

    This was carried out with two research institutes, the Swedish Institute of Computer Science and The Interactive Institute.

  12. 12.

    This game mastering tool, called Games Creator, was part of the mentioned IPERG research project.

  13. 13.

    This was expressed in several interviews by different team members.

  14. 14.

    Several SVT team workers confirmed this during interviews.

  15. 15.

    Interviews with SVT management.

  16. 16.

    Interviews with P workers.

  17. 17.

    This could be compared with the common reach of 600,000 viewers for similar SVT drama productions. Interview with SVT production manager, December 2007.

  18. 18.

    SVT did not carry our regular measuring until January 2009, then viewed as a stable activity. To compare, in 2011 a viewing rate of 10 % was considered high. Interview M Sterner, SVT Analyst, 6th February 2011.

  19. 19.

    The average time on site was around 5 min where 31 % visited 3 pages or more, and less than 3 % visited 15 pages or more. Sandberg, C (unpublished work) Truly a lot of lies.

  20. 20.

    Dena (2009: 241) describes how 10 % of the audience of the TV drama visited the website and 10 % of these visitors signed up for accompanying game, and that 10 % of these players became hardcore players.

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Correspondence to Marie Denward .

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Denward, M. (2016). Designing, Implementing and Producing for Participation: Media Convergence in Practice. In: Lugmayr, A., Dal Zotto, C. (eds) Media Convergence Handbook - Vol. 2. Media Business and Innovation. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-54487-3_6

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