Transmedia Storytelling – World Wrestling Entertainment

Here’s an example of transmedia storytelling I posted on our course blog for New Media Narratives. You can find more details about transmedia storytelling from Dr. Henry Jenkins’ blog post.

Example 1: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

The WWE has utilized transmedia storytelling in the past to develop its characters and plots. It has been years since I watched wrestling but do remember the methods that were used in the eighties. Television was used for wrestling matches and to promote the good guy versus the bad guy drama. A Saturday morning cartoon was developed starring the wrestlers with stories that contributed to the franchises storylines. The opening itself for Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling was a blend of real-life and cartoon.

Today, the WWE uses weekly television shows along with Twitter to develop their storylines and characters. The television program is live and provides fans with two hours of time for several storylines to develop. Programming includes matches, highlights from previous weeks and promotions for upcoming pay-per-views and merchandise. The television is a valuable medium since wrestling and acting is a visual and audio display. Hearing two men grunt out a match on the radio just would not work out as effectively. Television content is also available online after the show has aired.

Twitter is a platform that allows for the continuation of the storyline before and after the television programming. Fans receive real-time updates regarding content but also stay in touch with the wrestlers who send messages to build up their matches and appearances. It suits the build up of the storylines since it fills the silence that exists between live programming. The storylines don’t always require a visual aid and can be communicated by text.

Jenkins, H. (2007, March 22). Transmedia Storytelling 101. Retrieved from http://www.henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html

Swallow, E. (2011, January 28). How WWE Conquered the Social Media Arena. Mashable.
Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/01/28/wwe-social-media/#

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