Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Digi-novelist" Anthony Zuiker erects "cyber-bridge” to mesh story across publishing, film and social networking.

What is a digi-novel? Digi-novelist Anthony Zuiker, who is also the creator of the hit TV show “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” described it to J.D. Biersdorfer, tech reporter at The New York Times, as “the best of publishing, motion picture and social communities all kind of meshed into one experience.”

Zuiker just published, “Dark Prophecy,” the second in his "Level 26″ crime thriller series, that is being marketed both as a printed novel and an e-book for iPad with Web links to a 52 minute-long film edited into 11 segments. There is free content on Level 26’s YouTube channel as well.

To promote “‘Dark Prophecy” Zuiker wrote a serial killer from the book into his Oct. 14 episode of CSI – the book’s release date. That’s a hefty publicity score considering CSI reaches nearly 15 million TV viewers each week.

Zuiker told Bloomberg’s Ronald Glover that disappointing sales of his first crime novel, “Level 26: Dark Origins,”  prompted his to engage “CSI” fans by creating a cyber-bridge” to link the story across publishing, film and social networking.  He said, “If I can just get 1 percent of the 15 million people who watch ‘CSI’ to buy this book I’ll have a bestseller on my hands.”  

Monday, October 18, 2010

U.S. Department of Education Awards HITN $30 Million for Ready to Learn Initiative using Transmedia Storytelling

The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has announced that the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc. (HITN), in partnership with Callaway Digital Arts and the Michael Cohen Group LLC (MCG), was awarded a $30 million Ready to Learn grant for Project LAMP (Learning Apps Media Partnership). The project is an early childhood media-based education initiative targeting next-generation learners including children from low-income groups.

The content will be largely available as an open educational resource and use a transmedia storytelling approach through books, iPAD/Touch Screen applications, mobile device and phone applications, console and hand held gaming applications, sing along DVDs and CDs, an interactive Website, and television. The USDE, in 2010, expanded the Ready to Learn grant program to include transmedia storytelling.

Hearst Digital debuts awesome ESQUIRE magazine for iPad!

Until now digital adaptations by popular magazines haven’t been all that exciting.  This month’s debut of ESQUIRE for iPad is truly an awesome editorial and technological achievement, however, and it offers a thrilling glimpse at where magazine publishing is headed. 

Developed by Hearst Digital and ScrollMotion, Esquire's iPad app makes each page a rich and dynamic experience. Take the October cover featuring actor Javier Bardem. He strolls right up to your screen and personally welcomes you to the issue as Esquire's masthead and interactive story call-outs fuse into rightful position. 

This video demo shows how the magazine goes very digital while still retaining its hallmark editorial design and quality. For example, photography in the fall style section can be rotated 360 degrees and viewed from various angles. The automotive review opens with a stunning still shot of an Audi roadster that turns cinematic when the driver revs up, roars away and then screeches back to give us a frontal view. Cool!  An article about the World Trade Center’s reconstruction is presented in layers of interactive text, high-resolution images and animation.

Josh Koppel, one of the co-founders of ScrollMotion, whose clients include Hearst, Random House, Houghton Mifflin, Simon and Schuster, and The Jim Henson Company, believes digital publishing should not be about putting a PDF version on an iPad; rather, he says digitization should be an additive process that makes each page a powerful multimedia platform.

No doubt magazines have much to gain by publishing digital editions. Consider that Esquire’s iPad app is sold at full price ($4.99) on a per-issue basis - no discounted subscriptions. (The iPhone edition costs $2.99 per issue.) As long as audiences keep coming back (how could they not given fantastic content?) it makes sense advertisers will be lining up, too. 

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