I recently attended the MeCCSA (Media, Communication, Cultural Studies Association) annual conference, this year held in Newcastle at the University of Northumbria. Many of the themes we discuss on the course were explored in papers ranging from children’s media, to digital culture and democracy, multi platform media to the future of public service broadcasting.
Of particular interest to me were – Claire Burdfield’s Managing the Accidental Audience: Navigating the Relationship between Hasbro and. Bronies. A PHD project looking at the way Hasbro have embraced the audience of men who like the My Little Pony franchise, aimed initially at a target audience of 3 to 11 year old girls. Rather than opposing the appropriation of the My Little Ponies Hasbro instead embraced the Bronie community, including characters to appeal to this new audience and special collectable toys in their merchandise and thereby extended their audience without compromising their original output.
On a similar theme Catherine Johnson’s paper, Cinema-going and the Digital Infrastructure of Blockbuster Promotion: the case of The Hunger Games franchise looked at the use of multiplatform media to engage the audience. This was a presentation based on a chapter of the book to be published in April this year, Promotional Screen Industries, by Paul Grainge and Catherine Johnson.
In a panel on the fantasy genre the concept of fantasy itself was in question – Has it become a popular genre that narratives are aligned to for commercial gain rather than as genuine fantasy narratives. The popularity of this very commercially successful genre was explored and the research project – worldhobbitproject.org was promoted – interesting research that looks at this international phenomena.
A presentation about David Miller’s Sherwood Rise, an augmented reality project, which can be seen at: https://vimeo.com/65450877 showed a project that expanded a printed story with augmented reality on mobile devices – expanding the narrative – well worth having a look at.