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STANISLAV V. MILOVIDOV
TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLING AS A WAY TO TURN FAN PRACTICES INTO A CULTURAL INDUSTRY
Abstract. There are numerous empirical sociological researches of transmedia storytelling media consumption. However, they mainly record either the practices of media consumption of specific media formats included in the structure of a transmedia project or the producers’ ways for constructing a narrative that creates transitions between media platforms. Often, researchers pay little attention to the circumstances of users’ interaction with the fictional world and their social relationships that form around a transmedia project. This study consists of a series of in-depth interviews and observations on the media consumption practices of users and fans of the fictional world which has formed around a series of fantasy works under the general name The Witcher. This transmedia project is interesting because, unlike specially created transmedia franchises with the expansion structures carefully planned by media companies, it forms itself spontaneously, as a result of the activities of different institutions and user participation, does not have a single development strategy, and is shaped by “grass-root” practices. The observation of media consumption practices of transmedia storytelling allows us to conceptualize construction’s peculiarities, such as narrative structures. Based on this data, it is possible to construct a network of interactions formed by the user migration between media platforms and compare such practices with the audience’s everyday practices. Since modern people form their understanding of the world based on their own experience and by using mediatized communication, transmedia storytelling represents a special kind of virtual reality or its particular case, which can be supplemented with the help of VR-technologies.
Keywords: transmedia storytelling, audience, participatory culture, media consumption, user experience, fictional world, fans, network