Cross media communication is where the storyline invites the receiver to cross-over from one medium to the next.
It refers to the journey or linkages across devices and through forms and is most evident in B2C and B2B sales and marketing campaigns.
So, when making media, we look at the various forms of platform it will be carried on – web, presentations, soundtracks, print, displays … and conceive the most appropriate material that works on all and can easily be converted across the mediums. And how we work the links – pushing or pulling.
And it’s here that our maxim – ‘what’s the big idea?’ – comes into play. So often, it is the idea, the concept, which we write down – yes, write down – and then visualise.
There are four main areas of Cross Media which include ‘Pushed’, ‘Extras’, ‘Bridges’ (where our main focus is for B2B) and ‘Experiences’.
The main thing is that we understand how to use digital across all platforms.
Best use. Best practice. Best cost.
The same or minor variations of content placed or pushed onto different platforms in different forms. E.g.: A minor re-edit of the audio from a TV programme for a podcast or a script adapted for a website and in its simplest form exactly the same content delivered on multiple platforms such as mobile, TV and web. The user in this case could create their own cross-media linkages by watching half of the episode on mobile and the rest on broadband. This level does not have strong cross-media triggers but may promote the same content on another platform.
This is content produced alongside a main production and delivered on different platforms from the main production. This ‘extra’ cross-media content is naturally different from the main property and not necessarily dependent on it – temporally or editorially. For example it could be a mobile video-captured behind the scenes of a feature film, destined and delivered in segments on the mobile phone. It could be a flash game strongly based on a radio drama or a book back story delivered through posters in train stations. The most obvious incarnation is the ubiquitous ‘making of’ feature that may be delivered only via video web portals.
The truest form of cross-media where the story or service structure is specifically authored to drive the audience using strong Call-To-Actions, across media devices to continue the journey. The content placed on the other platform is critical to staying in touch with the experience and the narrative bridges tease you towards investigating or moving to another media form/platform. Obvious examples include a TV show that ends suddenly and gives you a URL to explore more. It may be an SMS that teases and points you towards a live concert in a city square which then leads you to a TV show, then to a podcast then to subscription emails. The trigger, or bridge, is the critical component of this in motivating the cross-media action.
An aggregation of the first three levels this is also where the content is distributed across many platforms in a non-linear way and is producer ‘hands-off’- in that they have created an environment, much like a game, that the participant/s ‘lives’ inside of, following their own path and therefore personalizing the experience. A cross-media 4.0 property is co-creative, collaborative play with the audience across many devices, which evolves and grows a life of its own. Story Environments are a key part of the mix in driving the inhabitants of the ‘experience’ across devices or around the narrative fragments (whether advertorial, entertainment or dramatic). Although likely to be heavily authored the cross-media triggers and invitations are part of the experience in terms of the audience creating their own bridges. Best known example – Second Life.