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Web Series, Transmedia and Experimentation – The Legacy of Dr. Horrible

Web Series, Transmedia and Experimentation – The Legacy of Dr. Horrible

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Published by John K. Wie
With the advent of the Internet, media convergence has brought conglomerates and users to a central point of conflict. Companies have spread across fragmented channels while users create new paradigms to produce and share information. This clash has also brought opportunities for both to work together, creating unique scenarios such as 'Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog', a web miniseries.

The research utilizes the theoretical framework of convergence, produsage, fandom and transmedia, and seeks to answer the following questions: How has the web series paradigm affected produsage and convergence? How has this model worked as a model for transmedia? And what is the legacy of 'Dr. Horrible' in transmedia and its effect on cult fandom?

This paper explores the background of 'Dr. Horrible' to understand these questions and focuses on both fan and producer responses through semi-structured interviews. The findings show that this web series paradigm has potential as an open medium, giving producers free reign to express their creative vision and letting viewers engage with the content although not without it’s own set of risks. This research concludes that the produsage-like model is viable for financial and viewership success while empowering fans and producers to be cultural citizens although hampered by the lack of gatekeepers and top-down clashes.
With the advent of the Internet, media convergence has brought conglomerates and users to a central point of conflict. Companies have spread across fragmented channels while users create new paradigms to produce and share information. This clash has also brought opportunities for both to work together, creating unique scenarios such as 'Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog', a web miniseries.

The research utilizes the theoretical framework of convergence, produsage, fandom and transmedia, and seeks to answer the following questions: How has the web series paradigm affected produsage and convergence? How has this model worked as a model for transmedia? And what is the legacy of 'Dr. Horrible' in transmedia and its effect on cult fandom?

This paper explores the background of 'Dr. Horrible' to understand these questions and focuses on both fan and producer responses through semi-structured interviews. The findings show that this web series paradigm has potential as an open medium, giving producers free reign to express their creative vision and letting viewers engage with the content although not without it’s own set of risks. This research concludes that the produsage-like model is viable for financial and viewership success while empowering fans and producers to be cultural citizens although hampered by the lack of gatekeepers and top-down clashes.

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Published by: John K. Wie on Feb 15, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/13/2014

 
Web Series, Transmedia and Experimentation – The Legacy of 
 Dr. Horrible
 
 Abstract 
With the advent of the Internet, media convergence has brought conglomerates and usersto a central point of conflict. Companies have spread across fragmented channels while userscreate new paradigms to produce and share information. This clash has also broughtopportunities for both to work together, creating unique scenarios such as
 Dr. Horrible’s Sing- Along Blog 
, a web miniseries.The research utilizes the theoretical framework of convergence, produsage, fandom andtransmedia, and seeks to answer the following questions: How has the web series paradigmaffected produsage and convergence? How has this model worked as a model for transmedia?And what is the legacy of 
 Dr. Horrible
in transmedia and its effect on cult fandom?This paper explores the background of 
 Dr. Horrible
to understand these questions andfocuses on both fan and producer responses through semi-structured interviews. The findingsshow that this web series paradigm has potential as an open medium, giving producers free reignto express their creative vision and letting viewers engage with the content although not withoutit’s own set of risks. This research concludes that the produsage-like model is viable for financial and viewership success while empowering fans and producers to be cultural citizensalthough hampered by the lack of gatekeepers and top-down clashes.
Suggested Keywords
 produsage, web series, cult fandom, convergence, transmedia, conglomerates, Joss Whedon,
 Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog  
2
 
1. Introduction
[1.1] The changing flow of technology has created an unstable landscape for mediaconglomerates and consumers. Both struggle to obtain control over content distribution andconsumption. These conflicts lead to the creation of media convergence: the intersection of theconglomerates’ digital strategies and consumers’ underground media tactics.[1.2] In this transition period, conglomerates are experimenting with new contentdistribution and creation methods while the audience grapples with a constantly changing medialandscape. How will these experiments affect the audience, and will they change power dynamics between the two sides? Have new opportunities arisen that can pave the way for future producers and audience members? The promises and realities of new, innovative prospects have begun to shine light onto these inquiries.[1.3] This study undertakes an analysis of a web video miniseries called
 Dr. Horrible’sSing-Along Blog 
. Considered by critics as an Internet phenomenon,
 Dr. Horrible
created a directcommunication channel between the producers and their viewers and is a relevant and timelycase study. This research will bring a modern insight into digital innovation and reveal a pushfor media convergence cooperation. 
2. A Top-Down Conglomerate System to Media Convergence
[2.1] Mass media systems used to control the information within their technologicalchannels until media convergence allowed individuals to disrupt this information stream.Historically, media conglomerates created and distributed content through legacy mediums,viewed by a mass audience (Rose 2011, 86). Scholars argued about the imbalance of information and mediation in these channels. However, individuals eventually adopted new3

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