As part of my ongoing research on Netflix, I wrote a paper looking at the relationship between Netflix’s transmedia shows and marketing to niche audiences. My paper, “Appealing to Niche Markets: A Typology of Transmedia Storytelling for Digital Television” was accepted to the 2017 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in Chicago August 9-12. After developing the paper a little more after the conference, I will be submitting the paper for publication. I’ll have a summary of the major points of the article posted to my site after publication. For now, here’s the abstract:
Traditional television networks have a limited amount of time available to broadcast content, so programming decisions are based on maximizing potential market reach instead of in appealing to small markets. Digital television’s broadcast time is solely limited by server space and regulation of broadband data transference, so their technological infrastructure affords more opportunities to appeal to smaller markets. These affordances can be seen through the types of programming digital television services produce. This paper proposes a typology of transmedia stories used by digital television services like Netflix and Hulu to appeal to niche markets to grow their business. Five types of transmedia stories were theorized to appeal to varying levels of niche markets: serialized continuations, augmented continuations, world building universes, cross-platform personalities, and adaptations. This typology provides a better understanding of the production practices of digital television networks, an area of research that has received little attention to date.