Matthew Freeman

Those drawn to all things media branding, convergence, transmedia and indeed Batman may be interested in one of my articles about such topics. For a special edition of Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA-PGN titled ‘Branding TV: Transmedia to the Rescue’ (Vol. 7 No. 1), I contributed an article titled ‘Transmediating Tim Burton’s Gotham City: Brand Convergence, Child Audiences, and Batman: The Animated Series‘.

The edition itself, guest edited by Benjamin Derhy Kurtz, examines a salient trend in the television industry right now – notably, the turn towards channel and product branding as well as attempts to extend such television products far beyond the television screen itself and across into other media platforms. In my article, I go back to the early 1990s and explore such trends via Batman. At that time, Batman was an ever-expanding phenomenon, a highly valued franchise entity, what with Tim Burton’s lucrative Batman blockbuster having reinvigorated the property in 1989.

The article then examines the subsequent six-year period of the Batman franchise’s production, exploring the ways in which distinct versions of this fictional character – each constructed under different creative contexts with differing artistic sensibilities, aimed at varying groups of audiences across different media – became the combined products of a somewhat messy brand convergence strategy across cinema, television and video games. I show how this messy concept of ‘brand convergence’ – diluting authorship, borrowing imagery and music, etc. – was in fact crucial to the successful transmediality of Batman at this time, both as a commercial brand and as a fictional storyworld.

The full article can be read here.

Birmingham Centre For Media And Cultural Research

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