10 things to keep in mind for producing cross-platform media

Interactive

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Last week we launched the interactive section of NFB.ca. A few of our projects, including Out My Window, have been getting a lot of good press and are generating some buzz.

Rob McLaughlin, head of our interactive team, has been speaking at conferences and festivals around the world about our new media endeavours. To complement his sessions, he and his team have put together a list of 10 things to remember when looking to produce cross-platform media. Here they are:

1. Pick your spot. Not every film/TV project needs an interactive game, original webisodes, extended interviews, director’s blog, a mobile app, mash-up tools, user-generated content, podcasts, online chats, screensavers. Avoid spreading yourself thinly across multiple platforms and play to the strengths of your project: one thing done very well is usually better for your audiences and your budget.

2. Involve the audience. Capitalize on the unique opportunity to engage audiences more deeply through forms of interactivity – non-linear narratives, customization of content, remixing and sharing tools, community-building features that increase dialogue and discussion.

3. People connect with people. Digital or otherwise, audiences connect with stories through people. The more you work to humanize and add emotion to digital programming, the more you’ll connect with audiences. Avoid over-focusing on the details of specific technologies at the expense injecting personality and creativity into your content. A blog is nothing without a blogger.

4. Distribution as destination. Let your audience put your content in front of other audiences. Make it pluckable, shareable, embeddable, likable and mobile. They will seed their networks with your stories, increase reach and impact, and in the end deliver even more people to your content.

5. The end is just the beginning. Notions of development, production and post-production do not accurately define the realities of digital production. Putting your content online or on a mobile device is only the beginning of your relationship with your audience, not the end. Where you take it from there is up to you, your audience and your budget. Just remember: in a world of bandwidth and moderation costs, success can be expensive.

6. Tailor production values to context. Do your business and your audience a favour: don’t apply film or TV production budgeting to digital programming. Think about the platform, the delivery device and the mind-set of the audience, and then take advantage of lower-cost digital production technologies.

7. Pay attention to marketers. The most innovative and engaging programming happening in the digital medium today is being led by marketers and interactive ad agencies. Their work has a lot to teach us about the possibilities for telling stories and growing audiences in the digital space.

8. Tell the whole story. Or at least a digital version of the whole story. You can’t assume people who visit your website or install your app have seen – or will ever see – your film or TV program. Don’t miss an opportunity to fully engage your audiences creatively, no matter when and where you find them.

9. Measure and report meticulously. The only way to improve on what you’re doing today is to know if your content is being used at all. Unique visitors, time on site, app installs and uninstalls: establish your measure for success before launch and be honest about reporting back results. It’s not necessarily how many people experience your story, it’s how many of the right people do.

10. Stay in the game. Avoid bleeding edge. Focus on content that you think can deliver value. And as you step outside a tried-and-true creative process, be willing to get i wrong a few times before you get it right.

For a full sampling of our interactive content, click here.