Henry Jenkins and Josh Green Opening Remarks

An opening introduction to the conference.

  • Tex Avery 1953 The TV of Tomorrow – started off by showing the start of the cartoon.
  • the film shows some of the things that are still relevant today – simplifying the TV, specialised devices, disruption to social life, gaming systems,
  • the conference is ‘Futures’ as there can be multiple futures
  • one of the things that seems to be lacking with TV is the ability to get really involved.  But one of the things that has been happening is the move of the content from the TV out to other channels, eg Simpsons sponsorship. Quik-e-mart was an extreme – pushed the TV world out to the real world, into peoples lives
  • TV text has gone into virtual worlds, eg CSI in Second Life
  • The notion of expanding what the TV does is demonstrated by the Wii remote – it changes the mode of interactivity
  • NBC newsbreaker game was an attempt to make news an interactive experience – may not the most compelling but is playfulness with the content.  They did live events with it.
  • Halo 3 has broken records for a game and challenged movies.   It may not be as narratively complex as Bioshock, but has pushed the envelope for marketing – the ad campaign, with the diorama.  It tours as a museum piece.
  • Heroes could be seen as the TV text at the moment that fully realises what is happening, a large scale narrative across multiple channels.  Eg 9th Wonder comic, in the show, a website and now a book as well.   It provides more content than can be put on the air
  • this is part of a larger trend where comics and tv are working together, eg Buffy Season 8.  BSG, Supernatural, all having comics to supplement
  • Extension also extends to branding, eg Geico Caveman.  Characters can migrate across the converged mediascape
  • In advertising, personalisation is looming large.   We are startig to get to that level of granularity; we are targeting smaller and smaller audiences.  It challenges how the audience is understood.  Facebook is at the forefront of personalised advertising, selling campaigns based on profiles.  This can be seen as inappropriate – the data is out in the public but expectation is that it is not necessarily aggregated.
  • Widgets are some of the growth points, it can be better to do a widget than a microsite.  But then you have to approach the audience in a different way
  • Writers Strike: showed the ‘Why We Fight’ video.   One of the striking things is that YT is being used to connect with the public by the WGA; an example of how YT is an alternative comms channel.
  • But YT is emblematic of some of the contradictions of the new world.   Look at how Colbert uses the site and the stuff that gets put on there. 
  • The same media channel is becoming central to the political campaigns,
  • The same distribution allows independent film makers to send their stuff out, connect with fans to see the film…ie Four Eyed Monsters
  • Soulja Boy using the web to drive his rise to fame – the web support meant that when he released songs he got sales
  • see 300Vogue from Luminosity for a great example of a mashed up film.
  • The contradictions of the implicit social contract between fans and ‘content’ companies are coming to the fore this year, eg FanLib.  This was a Hollywood company, but did not respect the fans, they assumed they could co-opt the work not co-operate.   There was a massive response, using LiveJournal to push back.  Although there is an agreement that we are moving towards a more participatory culture, but the terms of this are been ‘negotiated’ at the moment
  • Look at Harry Potter – a huge mass market hit.   Mass media is not dead yet, but we are having a lot of focus on niche content and fandoms.   With HP you got a lot of tension by people putting stuff online, spoilers, people trying to avoid it.   JK Rowling outed Dunbledore, outside of the book.  Fan created media and groups, such as Wizard Rock, HP fan podcasts, HP Alliance taking the books as a starting point for music, political activation.
  • Comic Con is a meeting point of fans and entertainment world  IS the place where companies goes to meet the increasingly influential audience.

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