Between multimedia and transmedia, lies an extremely vast difference. By definition, according to Henry Jenkins,”A transmedia story unfolds across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole” (Jenkins 97). Jenkins goes on to further describe the multiple media platforms that transmedia stories can be introduced on, including but not limited to film, television, novels, comics, gameplay, or even through an amusement park attraction. The example that Jenkins uses to illustrate his definition is The Matrix. This is a prime example of a transmedia story because of its wide expansion among many media platforms, after The Matrix first came out on film, the producers quickly introduced a series of web comics, then an anime a computer game, then eventually an online game. Along with these multiple media platforms joined a video game as well as several fan-made fictions.
Multimedia, on the other hand, can be defined as using multiple occurrences of one form of media. The expansion of this is done using electronic technology that uses a combination of text, audio, video, and other graphics so that the user can have a vast experience of the product. An example of this can be seen looking at computer games that attempt to expand the spread of the story. Fringe, a television show that is famous for using extremely detailed text effects and graphics in its shows that describe the current setting that is taking place.
The NBA (National Basketball Association) is an example of a product that uses multiple platforms in an effort to expand the reach and experience to their audience. Along with live televised competitions, the NBA uses commentators that provide an audible account of not only what is currently going on in the game, but they also disclose large amounts of information such as the background and historical information on players and coaches. Apart from their televised events, the NBA also has mobile applications available to its fans that bring numerous amounts of information about what is going on in the league such as player statistics, news on individual teams and trades as well as the NBA as a whole. Also, the NBA uses social media to expand its reach by having a Facebook page and a Twitter account that also tweets news and information related to the league.
Using strategies such as those above, allow fans to participate and engage with the product. Not only can fans just read and consume the media they are receiving, but these innovative technologies have created interfaces that allow fans to interact directly with the product, while at the same time having the ability to interact with other fans as well. This is an enhancing experience and allows fans to become closer to the product, and also creates fan communities in which fans can get together and critique and interacts with the product, such as having engaging conversations on a Facebook page about a game that is currently being played.The use of various platforms can either benefit or harm the experience that its prospective audience can have. This can be seen in the example that Henry Jenkins uses in The Matrix. After The Matrix Reloaded earned “$134 million in revenues in its first four days of release. The video game sold more than a million copies in its first week on the market” (Jenkins 97). This is a clear benefit to the audience because it allows the users to engage the form of entertainment that they enjoy in an interactive way, and they can further grasp the storyline. It also allows audience members to become ultimate fans, ones that will go out of the way to enhance their experience with the product.
Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York UP, 2006. Print.