How do I know what to make for my Television Component’s companion Digital Media Component? Advice for TV Producers.

The first step to deciding on an appropriate digital media component is the best, most fun part.  PLAY WITH DIGITAL MEDIA CONTENT.  In some ways, it’s like buying real estate.  You have to know the current market, see which neighbourhoods work best, and see what you can get for the price you’re willing to pay.

Knowing what’s on the convergent content market will not only give you a great idea of current trends, but inspire your own innovation.

There’s so much online content / many mobile apps – where do I start?

Check out the Cross-Platform Gemini Award nominations (2010 nominees, 2011 nominees) and award winners for the past 2 years.  For more about interactive content itself, why not browse through the FITC Award nominees/winners? International Interactive Emmy® Awards?  FWA is also a great resource for finding beautiful and well-executed concepts.

How much research do I have to do? Won’t an interactive studio just do it all for me? 

This is where researching an interactive studio is most useful.  The majority of interactive studios prefer to collaborate with the client.  They know interactive experiences and content, and you know your IP.  However, while it is very important for you to get a sense as to what is possible, try not to detail out the concept so much so that you can’t be flexible to adjustments and new ideas from your interactive partners.

A business point to consider: if you expect the interactive studio to just “do it all” for you (and contribute their tax credits and only charge ‘at cost’), they will expect something in return. Consider your interactive partner’s potential ROI in the endeavour. For example, consider sharing rights and revenue to the interactive property to allow them some stake in what they are creating.

I already know what I want, I just need a developer to make it for me.

The reasons for looking to an interactive studio as a partner in concept development and not just telling them what you want?  Plenty.  For example:

  • If you are proposing a series of ‘whack-a-mole’ games for a female-targeted prime-time audience, a capable casual gaming studio may recommend different game play more appropriate for the audience.
  • Many assume the app market is the “holy grail” for revenue generation – doesn’t everyone have an iPhone?  An interactive studio with experience in the app market can help walk you through the realities of production for your creative idea.
  • If your budget is only $75K and you are proposing a World of Warcraft-like Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG, or MMO for short), the interactive studios will express their concern for your sanity.

It is a fine balance, between taking responsibility for the IP extension and looking to others for support to help strengthen your concept.  But give yourself a basis of knowledge to work from, so you have an idea of the opportunities that digital media components can offer your brand.  Then collaborate with experts on the selected platform to bring your digital media component to the next level, so that together, you can produce a successful, meaningful, rich and substantial digital media property.

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