As technology becomes more advanced and more accessible across multiple platforms, it’s only natural for consumers to expect increasingly higher standards of creativity and engagement from content creators. However, with social media, apps, tablets, smartphones, websites, TV, etc. all part of the audience’s viewing habit, learning how stories should be evolving and how to make narratives work across platforms is a complicated matter. A new study offers some perspectives on what audiences may be looking for in their stories.
Research consultancy Latitude recently released phase one of a two-part study titled "The Future of Storytelling" that looks to uncover trends and audience attitudes about content. Overall, the study revealed that audiences are looking for a blurring of barriers between content and reality in a layered yet cohesive execution. The company asked "early adopters" around the world how they wanted to experience stories and asked them to reinvent some of today’s well-known stories accordingly (according to the company, early adopters are "people in over 10 countries who are more likely to own smartphones, tablets or both; who are already more likely to seek out content through multiple avenues; and who are more likely to be aware of the possibilities that the Internet and emerging technologies present").
Based on participants’ responses the study zeroes in on "four I’s" that will continue to shape storytelling:
Immersion: Delving deeper into the story through supplementary context and sensory experiences.
Interactivity: Allowing consumers to become part of the narrative and possibly influence its outcome.
Integration: Having a seamless connection among all platforms being used and going beyond just replicating content on different devices.
Impact: Inspiring consumers to take action of some kind, e.g. purchase a product, sign up for a service, support a cause, etc.
Other findings from the study:
"Transmedia is more than media shifting:" 82% wanted complementary, not duplicating, mobile apps for their TV watching experience.
"The real world is a platform:" 52% consider the real world as another platform in which 3-D technology, augmented reality, and the like are expected to link the digital and physical.
Control: 79% expressed the desire to become part of a story, interacting with its main characters.
"So far, one of the biggest insights for us is that the emergence of new technologies means there’s a largely untapped opportunity to allow people to tie stories directly into their own lives—bringing narratives 'out of the screen,' so to speak, often through meaningful connections with characters," says Neela Sakaria, EVP/Managing Director at Latitude. "We’ve distilled our findings down into a few key principles, and our hope is that content creators begin to embrace the idea that the desire for interesting cross-platform experiences isn’t as niche as some might think. Innovative storytelling isn’t just for fantasy fiction, and there are exciting new opportunities for news creators and even retailers to use storytelling principles to engage people more deeply."
"The Future of Storytelling: Phase 2" is slated for release this fall, but Latitude’s current study is online in full.