There is a strategic, cultural logic behind blockbusters, whether it be popular films or popular, binge-able Netflix shows like, “13 Reasons Why.” This strategy is transmedia storytelling or marketing and it’s essential in getting a point across to an audience and reaching all target markets through utilisation of different mediums. For example, 13 Reasons Why is a Netflix show that has reached insane levels of popularity due to it’s orchestrated narrative both before and after it’s initial release – this is done by creating a mystery around a passion project and makes the audience feel special by sending snippets of this story through different mediums.
An important aspect of transmedia storytelling is the role of the audience in it’s success. Each medium this television show has been displayed on develops a different part of the story. Tumblr users are very much involved in the fandom and canon part of the story and are able to share their own experiences of the story i.e. fan fictions (fandom), edits/graphics of the story that has been shown already (canon) and general responses to the show which can create viral and word of mouth marketing. Why has 13 Reasons Why been so popular?
It’s not as simple as it being a good show, it’s the viral marketing and experiences people have shared on several mediums and social media outlets that have prompted people to become an audience in this story – some also becoming an active audience by also sharing their subjective points of view on this same story. The spreadability of blockbuster television shows like this is essential and goes hand in hand with social media in order to penetrate the target audience; also known as ‘drivability’ in it’s ability to ‘drive’ it’s story into an audience’s subconscious through different media to the point where they can decide if they would like to become an active or passive audience.