Bowing and Begging: Resisting Industry Failure Through Fan Loyalty
The Japanese popular culture industry, especially for anime and manga, is an interesting case study for global fandom, but also for global industry. The comics, television, and film industry for animated popular culture in Japan has its own history, structure, and approaches, but over the past five decades, as it has reached millions of new, international viewers, new industries have risen to cater to these fans. Still, with the rise of the Internet and the economic troubles that most industries have gone through over the past decade, both the domestic and international manga and anime industries have been hurting for money, even with a surfeit of fans.
The anime and manga industry is especially volatile, because its domestic and international audiences have utilized the Internet to spread and consume the media at the expense of industrial and commercial models that cannot keep up with the audiences' changing tastes, modes of consumption, and cultural behaviors of media consumption (sharing with friends, international online distribution, the culture of collectors versus mere viewers, etc.). The industries, both in Japan and elsewhere, must change: however, the success that anime and manga brought a decade ago have influenced the producers of these media to stick with old models that are no longer fully applicable to the current fan cultures that drive the markets.
Today, I want to discuss two very recent issues of the manga and anime industries -- in Japan and in America -- publicizing comments to fans in a way that might be seen by many as "giving up": without adapting to technological, cultural, and commercial changes, the industries representatives have voiced concerns to fans by pleading with them to stop behaving as they current are -- mostly by using the Internet to circumvent commercial models for their media consumption -- and to think ethically about how these behaviors are affecting the respective industries.
Transmedia Entertainment keeps getting more and more buzz these days -- and so over the next handful of installments, I am going to be sharing with you a range of different perspectives on the concept.
Today, I am running the first of two installments showcasing the work of Marguerite de Bourgoing, one of the USC students who took my transmedia entertainment class last fall. de Bourgoing has been developing a grassroots media franchise, LAstereo.tv, which deploys YouTube and social network sites to showcase the Los Angeles hip hop scene. de Bourgoing represents the Trojan spirit at its best -- a social and cultural entrepreneur who is taking what she's learned as a media maker and deploying it to serve her larger community. de Bourgoing shared some of this work with us during the class and I've wanted her to talk about it for my blog since. In this account which follows, she both shares some of the videos she's been producing and also talks about the way LA Hip Hop artists are using new media to expand the community around their live performances. It's a perspective on transmedia we don't hear very often here and further helps us think about the impact of media convergence on our culture.
A convenient announcement from the West Coast to follow up after yesterday's video post:
The panel videos from the TRANSMEDIA, HOLLYWOOD: S/Telling the Story conference are now available. Find them here or watch them embedded after the jump! You can also check out our previous post containing all of the tweets from the Transmedia, Hollywood event here.
Since we're spending the end of this week helping to organize the CMS 10th Anniversary, I figured that I'd write up a short article highlighting some relevant videos with which Consortium blog readers could relax during the weekend.
The above video was presented at DICE (Design Innovate Communicate Entertain) 2010, by Carnegie Mellon University Professor, Jesse Schell, as the "Design Outside the Box" keynote lecture. Although the video was posted and I saw this back in February, I feel like Schell's talk, Beyond Facebook, is still extremely pertinent and engaging (in fact, I heard it mentioned at both the MIT Business in Gaming conference as well as BarCamp Boston 5 this past weekend). Schell discusses the future of gaming beyond social games (that is, games taking advantage and facilitated across social networks, like Farmville or Mafia Wars on Facebook), when game elements will become integrated into the tiny facets of our daily lives.
The second video in today's post was present at TEDxEdmonton by Sean Stewart, who has led companies such as 42 Entertainment and Fourth Wall Studios and has helped produced major alternate reality games (ARGs) such as I Love Bees (an ARG for Halo 2). In Bard 5.0: The Evolution of Storytelling, Stewart explains the steps in which storytelling has changed in terms of interactivity and sociability. He illustrates modern examples of interactive storytelling through transmedia properties, drawing particular attention to how the form and function of each media platform affects the consumption of the story by the audience.
By now, hopefully, you have read Peter Ludlow's account of recent events in Second Life and perhaps have also followed along with the comments and disputes that have surrounded this post. By now, hopefully, you've started to form your own opinion about what happened, why it happened, what it all means, and perhaps, what constitutes the borders between griefing and anti-griefing in this context. The following set of comments were crafted between Ludlow and myself as we reflected on these events and what they may tell us about the interplay between fantasy and politics in virtual worlds. We hope it will provide a springboard for further discussion both on this blog and elsewhere.
Today, I'm sitting at Microsoft NERD attending the MIT Business in Games conference. This morning, I attended a presentation called Hollywood, Music, & Games (which skewed toward just "Hollywood & Games"). The panel included:
Chris Weaver (MIT & Consulting Researcher for C3)
Mike Dornbrook (Harmonix)
Paul Neurath (Floodgate Entertainment)
Mark Blecher (Hasbro Digital Media & Gaming)
Ian Davis (Rockstar Games)
The panel talked about cross-platform narratives, how franchises span games and movies, and the problems that game creators have faced dealing with Hollywood executives and movie producers (as well as the implications that these problems have had on "good games").
Come celebrate the Comparative Media Studies 10th Anniversary!
Next week on Thursday 22 April and Friday 23 April, the Comparative Media Studies department will be hosting a two-day symposium in celebration of the program's tenth anniversary. These events are free and open to the public.
On Thursday at 5:00 pm, Program Director William Uricchio will host a session with former director Henry Jenkins, where Henry will deliver a final address looking back at the history and mission of the CMS program. The forum will take place in Bartos Theater in the basement of the MIT Media Lab.
On Friday, there will be a full day of panel sessions featuring CMS masters program graduates on the 6th floor of the new Media Lab. The sessions are as follows:
Friday, April 23 (Room E14-633)
10:00am Introductory remarks
Dean Deborah Fitzgerald and CMS Director William Uricchio
10:15am Applied Humanities: Transforming Humanities Education
Moderated by William Uricchio
Panelists: Pete Donaldson, Kurt Fendt, Neeti Gupta, Scot Osterweil, Rekha Murthy
11:45am Creativity and Collaboration in the Digital Age
Moderated by Jim Paradis
Panelists: Beth Coleman, Philip Tan, Ivan Askwith, Sam Ford, Clara Fernández-Vara
2:30pm Participatory Culture: The Culture of Democracy and Education in a Hypermediated Society
Moderated by Henry Jenkins
Panelists: Erin Reilly, Karen Schrier, Sangita Shresthova, Pilar Lacasa, and Mitch Resnick
4:15pm International Media Flows: Global Media and Culture
Moderated by Ian Condry
Panelists: Aswin Punathambekar, Xiaochang Li, Ana Domb, Orit Kuritsky, Jing Wang
5:30pm Closing Remarks
6:00pm Media exhibition featuring works by CMS alumni
Below are the final five research reports from the Convergence Culture Consortium's conception in 2006. I hope that you have been able to browse through all of our releases to see what kind of research we've been up to over the years, but also to see how relevant our ideas and analysis continue to be.
Fanning the Audience's Flames: Ten Ways to Embrace and Cultivate Fan Communities
by Sam Ford with Dr. Henry Jenkins and Dr. Grant McCracken, Parmesh Shahani, Ivan Askwith, Geoffrey Long and Ilya Vedrashko
In keeping with the push toward openness, this is yet another blog post linking to our research reports, this time from 2007 and 2006. I included two years in two parts because 2007 comprised two papers while 2006 included seven.
So, for today, I have linked four papers below, and tomorrow I will release the final five!
Fandemonium: A Tag Team Approach to Enabling and Mobilizing Fans
by Sam Ford
with Dr. Henry Jenkins and Dr. Joshua Green
Watching the Watchers: Power and Politics in Second Life
In early 2007, I ran an interview on this blog with Peter Ludlow, who teaches in the Philosophy Department at Northwestern University, and who has emerged as a key observer of how people are interacting within virtual worlds, such as The Sims Online and Second Life. Ludlow, along with his coauthor, Mark Wallace, wrote a book for MIT Press, The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid Which Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse, which I am planning to teach as part of a course I am developing this fall for the USC Journalism school on civic media.
Ludlow emailed me recently with news of some fascinating new developments in Second Life. It was a story which raised such fascinating issues about fantasy and play, about the shifting borders between pro-social and anti-social behavior, about rights and responsibilities, and about the governance of virtual worlds that I felt like I had to share it now. Over the next two installments, I will be sharing Ludlow's account of what's been happening in Second Life, an account which places it in the context of the larger history of virtual worlds. Afterwords, I will share a joint statement which emerged from our conversations together about what this all means.
Still Catching Them All: Determining the Social Impact of Pokemon
Back in 1998, I was the first student in my middle school to buy Pokemon, the hit video game starring a young boy on a quest to collect and fight 151 animalistic creatures. Twelve years later, my passion -- and the passion of millions of Pokemon fans, both young and old -- is holding steadfast.
Today, I want to discuss the social aspects of Pokemon and video game culture, but specifically some current developments in the industry (from Nintendo) that have largely impacted how Pokemon gamers interact. First, I want to talk about my recent experiences at Penny Arcade Expo East and Anime Boston, two fan conventions that have become sites of media participation particularly around a new Pokemon technology called the Pokewalker. And second, I will look at an incident of fan suppression, when Nintendo sent a cease-and-desist to a team of fans creating and coding a Pokemon MMO (massively-multiplayer online game).
Convergence Culture Consortium 2008 White Papers Released
A number of weeks back, I announced that the older research papers produced by the Convergence Culture Consortium would be made available to the public. Today, I would like to present the two papers published in 2008, If It Doesn't Spread, It's Dead: Creating Value in a Spreadable Marketplace, by Henry Jenkins, Xiaochang Li, and Ana Domb
with Joshua Green, and YouTube: Online Video and Co-Created Value, by Joshua Green with Jean Burgess (Queensland University of Technology). The links to the papers are below.
If It Doesn't Spread, It's Dead: Creating Value in a Spreadable Marketplace
By: Henry Jenkins, Xiaochang Li, and Ana Domb
With: Joshua Green
Video on the Internet briefly promised us a cultural future of decentralized production and daring changes in form--even beyond dancing kittens and laughing babies. Yet recent developments on sites like YouTube, Hulu, and Fancast as well as research about how audiences watch online video both suggest a retrenchment of structures from the old "mass media" system rather than anything daring. In this talk I'll argue that choices about the distribution infrastructure for video will determine whether all our future screens will be the same.
Christian argued that online video is more and more resembling old models of television networks, and he talked about everything from the YouTube redesign to a new approach to Chris Anderson's "long tail" model of distribution. He delivered some engaging thoughts on bandwidth monetization and asked critical research questions into how television and online video researchers can go about tackling issues of network algorithms. My liveblogged notes provide some textual takeaways from his talk, but the full lecture will eventually be available on the Berkman website here.
Christian Sandvig is a Fellow of the Berkman Center and Associate Professor in Communication, Media, and at Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds the Ph.D. in communication from Stanford University. In 2006 he received the Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation in the area of Human-Centered Computing. He blogs at multicast.
Participatory culture is a global phenomenon. Young people all over the world are embracing the expressive and distribution resources of the computer to create and share their own cultural materials with each other. In countries all over the planet, they are mixing together local traditions of folk culture with the now globally accessible forms of digital expression in ways which could not have been imagined by previous generations. And as they do so, educators and parents are starting to recognize these creative communities as sites of informal learning which are transforming the ways these teens see themselves and the world. In every country, it is different. In every country, it is the same.
I was delighted to hear recently from a young scholar, Felipe G. Gil, from Sevilla, Spain, who shared with me some of his thoughts about new media literacy and education. In particular, he wanted me to read this account of his young cousin, whose filmmaking activities he had come to understand in relation to some of my writings. I am delighted to reproduce this blog post, originally written in Spanish, here for my readers in hopes that it may spark other international reactions around these important topics. Gil is justly proud of the range of different kinds of media productions this young man engages with in the course of his everyday life, and has sought ways to place them in a larger context.