The Future of Storytelling – (2014/15)

The research project focused on the future of digital storytelling and new forms of creative industry and disruptive digital labor practices. Through extensive research, ethnographic fieldwork, and discussions with industry practitioners, DIT identified and examined some of the key cultural-industrial developments that will shape the future of storytelling over the coming years, including the rise of virtual reality, the impact of big data, the role of niche online programming, the influence of social media stars, and the value of back catalogues.

New Entertainment Formats in Mobile by James Feury

Digital production and distribution technologies have radically redefined the content landscape. In this increasingly dense and oversaturated environment, new entertainment formats are capturing the attention of the audience, challenging the monopoly of traditional content providers. From short-form interactive video to alternate reality games and high-tech experiences in virtual reality, the industry is experimenting with innovative strategies to respond to evolving consumption patterns. Film studios and television networks are working on finding ways to re-define and move beyond traditional formats, such as the feature length film and the one-hour TV drama. To this end, they have launched a variety of new initiatives: partnerships with experts, including multi-channel networks, startups, and brands; incubator labs that develop new storytelling techniques for popular formats, including DreamWorks DreamLab and Warner Bros. Blue Ribbon Content; innovation programs that fund promising talent, including Disney’s Accelerator Program. The success of the media industry will largely depend on how it integrates new content formats in its traditional portfolio, moving from experimentation to implementation.

The Value of Niche Programming in the Online Distribution Space by Bryan Wuest

Streaming media has changed how audiences can access content, and necessarily affected how media producers create and manage content. Besides forcing changes in existing media production, SVOD platforms have offered new spaces/accessibility for independent media producers and further begun producing original content. Audiences have new expectations for how they should be able to engage with media.




Talent Management and Franchise Development by Katherine Marpe

Talent is the key to success in the media industry. As consumers become producers and disrupt the entertainment space through innovative DIY content strategies, particularly on YouTube, established talent increasingly leverages social media to grow and manage their brands. Talent works on and off the screen, in front of and behind the camera, and their professional service and experience is highly sought-after in an ever-growing content market. Media companies and brands are increasingly invested in acquiring and retaining talent to ensure long-term cultural and economic capital. In the online video space, YouTubers, Snapchatters, and Instagramers are drawing millions of views from millennials as Hollywood stars are taking to social media to promote their films and television shows. For media companies, talent signifies access to ad revenue and an opportunity to engage and retain audiences across multiple channels.

Leveraging/Monetizing Content Catalogues in the Digital Age by Andrew DeWaard

Relentless technological change and evolving consumption patterns continue to reshape the content industries, though new entrants into the film, television and music industries are struggling to compete on one fundamental measure: extensive, diversified content catalogues. The music industry was an early example of how digital technology dramatically — but temporarily — disrupted the industry, only to later stabilize among the incumbent copyright owners (e.g., Universal Music Group, Warner and Sony). This re-entrenchment is symbolic of the value and reliability of the content catalogue in the digital age.




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