6 June 2014

No killer content for multiple devices - yet

Businesses have to be open to try anything to engage their target audiences. The jury, for example, is still out on killer content for an audience under 34, says award-winning author Maureen McHugh in a talk on writing for transmedia at the Asian Festival of Children's Content 2014 in Singapore.

"The generation under 34 gets most of their content from the Internet. They don't watch commercials, they don't listen to radio, they don't read magazines so they don't see the ads, you need to build a story to pull them to you," she observed. 

"New artforms arise out of new technologies. Eighty percent of people who watch TV, watch TV with a smartphone or a laptop or a tablet with them. The moment a commercial comes on, they chat, they text, they look stuff up." 

McHugh has worked on alternate reality games and providing second-screen content to supplement what's showing on TV but said that nothing had quite captured the interest of the generation under 34 as yet. Behind-the-scenes bloopers, quizzes, and content sent to viewers that is not yet shared with TV characters have not received widespread interest, she said, inviting listeners to visit Rides.tv to experience some of the second-screen experiments. 

"If you want to work in this medium you'd better be OK at everything than great at something. If you can write passably in almost everything, that's really important. Write anything. Be willing to try everything. Be a good mimic, you're going to be writing for all those platforms," she said, listing mobile app content, websites, audio scripts, video scripts, and scripted conversations for cars as part of her repertoire. "Write fast, do solid first drafts."

"Somewhere out there, someone is going to figure this out, find the thing that people are excited about, and want to do. If you're a writer, think about different technologies out there. It's a whole new language. We think there are rules. There are none," she added.