One franchise that has recently (2013) started using transmedia techniques is PBS Kids. PBS Kids is one channel for children’s television programming, which has a high focus on education within their kids’ shows. One PBS Kids show in particular, Peg + Cat, is a math series aimed at preschool kids, and has lots of integrated online content that works alongside the show. One the Peg + Cat website, parents can find web-based games and learning tools, as well as character profiles and printable activities (shown below). The show also has a mobile app.
This transmedia form of storytelling allows PBS Kids to create a larger, more in depth mathematical world for its Peg + Cat viewers. Now, children can follow the adventures of their favorite characters without needing to stay in front of the TV. As Henry Jenkins observes with the Danny Bilson’s co-creation games, creating the shows and games simultaneously allows fans to participate in a deeper universe for more than just an hour a week. Bilson explains it like this: “I’ve just been introduced to the world in the film and I want to get there, explore it. You need that connection to the world to make participation exciting” (Jenkins 106).
To achieve this level of connection and immersion, the television producers for Peg + Cat teamed up with the developers from CloudKid, which is a “digital creative agency specializing in interactive and animation production” (“About Us”). They focus on transmedia storytelling across a variety of platforms, including apps, websites, webisodes, and network pilots. It is the CloudKid company which has made it possible for PBS Kids to use synergistic storytelling, where information is laid out in such as way as to keep people interested and working for it. Online bonus material allows kids to dive deeper into their relationships with the characters on screen without actually sitting chained to the TV all day (which would cause parents worry). PBS Kids has transmedia down to a science. After all, as Vivian mentions, the goal of such transmedia and synergistic storytelling is to “prevent closure from occurring too quickly.”
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“About Us.” CloudKid, 2014, cloudkid.com/company/.
Jenkins, Henry. Searching for the Origami Unicorn: The Matrix and Transmedia Storytelling, drive.google.com/file/d/1YyRvp3wvhMQ3st0BhpPim6edaTotciCz/view.