First-Of Its-Kind “Building Universes” Handbook
Exposes Challenges And Opportunities For The Entertainment Industry.
Released By Marketing/Development Agency Fanthropology
This Comprehensive Look At How Successful Entertainment Universes Function Is For Stakeholders Of Every Stripe
(Los Angeles, CA – January 31, 2022) Fanthropology’s goal in releasing this handbook is to help to create a common language and shared understanding around entertainment universes in the industry. While every universe has its own strengths, quirks, and architecture worthy of individual study and illumination, this 18-month study outlines the basic building blocks and how they can be utilized.
“While it’s just in recent years that the importance of having an entertainment universe in the portfolio has been widely acknowledged, these universes have been growing in importance and impact for over a decade, to where the serious study of pop culture and consumer behavior is now able to yield significant understanding of how, precisely, these universes work,” said Kristen Longfield (Head of Research). “When a universe is executed well, it creates a continuously evolving connection with audiences that drives business across many mediums – which is key to the future of the entertainment industry.”
Among the findings generated by the study, which was published today and can be viewed in its entirety on the Fanthropology website, are:
- A universe differs from a franchise: Franchises have greater need for consistency and direct story continuity, with the audience primarily connecting to a character, group of characters, or theme. Universes have more flexibility in the aesthetics and story structure that audiences accept, because the audience’s primary connection is to the world of the story.
- A universe is defined by a singular continuity through many stories. A multiverse is several universes formed around an initial core story, where there is different canon.
- Stories within a Universe: Standalone, crossover, spin-off, and untold stories have different architecture and functions within a universe. Understanding what a certain type of story is best able to accomplish makes it possible to intentionally utilize those strengths.
- A universe is extremely dependent on the audience’s ability to recall a huge amount of story information. There are two key ways of organizing information to help audiences remember it: Narrative Structure and Character Relationships.
“Audiences connect with a well-constructed property for a variety of reasons – conscious and subconscious – and understanding these factors is essential to earning and retaining their loyalty and interest as it evolves,” said founder Kristie Kershaw (Head of Creative Marketing). “This impacts the industry on a broad scale because it is such a collaborative effort to foster that connection. Creating a universe is first the work of writers and storytellers, but it also requires knowledge, enthusiasm and support from companies, executives, and creative stakeholders at every level.”
Established in 2013, Fanthropology is a research, strategy, and creative agency supporting clients in both development and marketing. They have a proven track record of providing insights and executions that truly move the needle among audiences, for both original and branded titles. They are constantly studying audiences and comparable titles across a vast range of properties – both film and television, in every genre – as well as trends and influencing factors in the broader zeitgeist. Fanthropology delivers revelatory insights, inspiring strategies, and powerful creative thinking.