Stan World is a virtual realm full of virtual resorts. Stars and brands can own and operate resorts, and users have the freedom to experience those platforms, including concerts, malls, and theme parks. Virtual resorts are essentially Stan World’s definition of how media franchises expand through digital platforms.
This is the 3rd article of an ongoing series of analyses of stars and brands that went through major changes into the digital age, to achieve greater success: Fanthropology — The Study of Fans and IP’s (Stars and Brands).
The Wizarding World (Harry Potter) is a prime example of a mega-successful multiplatform media brand. Following the fame of the original books came the film series, games, spinoff series, and theme parks. Valued at over $31 billion in total revenue since its creation in 1997, Harry Potter is living proof of brand power and franchise evolution.
Given the impact of the series on pop culture, not all iterations of this beloved IP can be considered a success. Let’s focus on what forms of Harry Potter media came at the right time, and what didn’t.
The Magic of Movies: Think Fast
J.K. Rowling’s series of novels had a strong IP value to begin with. The franchise boasts magic, a large cast of characters with diverse personalities, romance, and an amazing central plot that kept the readers waiting for the next installment.
Rowling’s debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, became an instant hit. Meanwhile, David Heyman, the principal producer of the film series, was looking for a children’s book series that could be adapted into a film series.
What’s noteworthy about this particular film adaptation is the hasteful manner of the deal. Rowling sold the rights to the first 4 books to Warner Bros. in 1999 for $1 million, and the first film was released in 2001. The early 2000s marked great progress in the film industry: technology could now accurately translate the “wizardry and magic” into CGI (computer-generated imagery), and the Harry Potter film series led the charge — the timing could not have been better.
Rowling knew the ending of the book series from the beginning, and she played it very smart. When asked questions regarding the plot of future books, such as “Is Harry going to die?” or “Is Snape good or bad?” — she never answered these questions, BUT always stated that she knew what was going to happen. This exploited the curiosity of her readers, and intrigue led to theorization, speculation, and most importantly — hype.
Viral marketing was also a crucial part of the success of the books and films. Instead of actively promoting future releases, Rowling and Warner Bros. basically let the fans take over their job because they understood the power of social media and “word-of-mouth,” and rightfully so: Harry Potter is always a trending topic on Facebook and Twitter.
Harry Potter Multimedia: The Good and the Mediocre
In recent years 2 major forms of entertainment arose from the world of Harry Potter: theme parks (Universal Studios) and mobile games. Theme parks are a massive success: Universal Studios’ attendance rose 80% to 47.4 million from its inception in 2010 to 2016.
On the other hand, Harry Potter’s mobile games did not fare as well in comparison. Wizards Unite, Niantic’s new IP-based AR game, made $12 million in the first month, whereas Pokemon Go generated a whopping $300 million in its first month (read more about Pokemon Go’s success in my previous article). Why? Again, the timing. Back in 2016, the market of AR mobile games was a blue ocean — something consumers never really experienced before. But now in 2019, this formula isn’t as exciting as it used to be, thus resulting in a weaker potential for monetization.
Timing is Everything
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is available for virtually any form of media imaginable and shows how far beyond expectations a brand or IP can achieve. On top of that valuable asset, however, there exists something that cannot be ignored: time. The Harry Potter film series managed to step up in the film industry at the right time when a new technology could capture the magic of the series for cinema via computer graphics. Wizards Unite, in opposition, was a few years late to the hype surrounding AR mobile games.
How does this play into Stan World? We are the next-gen virtual platform for stars and brands, powered by blockchain technology, and our emergence in the market is perfect timing. The direction of today’s technology is clearly geared towards the digital/virtual realm, where there’s an infinite potential for media franchises to branch out their valued IP’s even further.
Stan World is a great opportunity for brands to translate their existing assets into a completely new format, for both franchise development and digital monetization. We are building virtual resorts for stars and brands, much like a digital theme park like the Wizarding World at Universal Studios. Consider this: timing is critical especially in the world of technology, and everything depends on how fast you are in the game.