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Aug 05

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Harry Potter and the Transmedia Pot-of-More…

Just when you thought Harry Potter had taken his final bow, it turns out he's coming back on the screen–but not in a theater…on your computer!

A new website has been launched that offers another glimpse into the world of muggles and Death Eaters.  The website is called Pottermore, and in addition to offering visitors the only available e-book versions of the series, it will also give them access to several thousand words of previously unpublished material from this record breaking series.

Now, if this was the extent of J.K Rowlings plans, I wouldn't be writing about it.  But what makes this website news worthy, even groundbreaking, is its plans to incorporate transmedia.  I've written about transmedia before.  If you're still confused by the word, check out this post.

 

J.K. Rowling
Cover of J.K. Rowling

According to an interview by Michael Humphrey, in this article from Forbes Magazine, the CEO of Starlight, Jeff Gomez had this to say about transmedia:

 

“In today’s interconnected world, our attention flows from our computer screens to our mobile screens to our TV screens without our giving such activity a second thought. The problem has been that the stories we enjoy don’t do that; they don’t behave the way we’ve come to need them to behave. So what we get is repeated and repurposed content: Avatar on our iPhones, High School Musical on Ice. Transmedia storytelling is a technique rising into prominence in Hollywood and on Madison Avenue that allows for the development of robust “story worlds” that play out across multiple media platforms.“

“What Pottermore.com does is that, for the first time it brings the Harry Potter brand from its basis in being a repurposed or repeated story world, into being a true transmedia brand. Transmedia is signified by interactivity: the audience feeling not only an intense relationship with the storyteller (they already have this with J.K. Rowling), but a feeling that their input will have some kind of impact on the story world itself. That’s what I believe is happening with Pottermore. It is designed to be a two-way portal between all of us and the Harry Potter universe. It will promote participation by validating and celebrating community, dialog and user-generated content. It exists not just to sell ebooks, but to nurture and ultimately expand the canon of Harry Potter itself. That’s historic in many ways.“

 

This is one of the essential aspects of transmedia that is missing from what most major studios have called "transmedia," which is actually just multi-media advertising–using text messages, special websites, and Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) to grow their fan base instead of expanding the story world or plot.

I’m excited to see how this website develops, and I hope it will help usher in a new wave of interactive fiction, or perhaps original and “native” transmedia storytelling.

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Permanent link to this article: http://peterusagi.com/2011/08/05/harry-potter-and-the-transmedia-pot-of-more/

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  1. Transmedia Storytelling: The future of Marketing Communication | katelyn jackson

    […] Usagi (2011). Harry Potter and the Transmedia Pottermore. Retrieved from: The Rabbit Hole. Retrieved from: http://peterusagi.com/2011/08/05/harry-potter-and-the-transmedia-pot-of-more/ […]

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