Emerging Dynamics in Audiences' Consumption of Trans-media Products

Emerging Dynamics in Audiences' Consumption of Trans-media Products

The Cases of Mad Men and Game of Thrones as a Comparative Study between Italy and New Zealand

By Carmen Spano

Anthem Series on Television Studies

The book investigates the new forms of agency possessed by national audiences with reference to two television texts: Mad Men (AMC, 2007–2015) and Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011–2019). Structured as a comparative study between two countries, Italy and New Zealand, the research aims to provide insights into the culturally specific similarities and differences that distinct audiences disclose in consuming the same texts.

PDF, 162 Pages


November 2020

£25.00, $40.00

EPUB, 162 Pages


November 2020

£25.00, $40.00

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About This Book

Television as a traditional medium has been changing for a number of years due to the development of a complex scenario characterized by the growing proliferation of platforms across which multiple forms of media are deeply interconnected. In this multi-modal environment, traditional and modern media platforms have started to combine, revolutionizing both the technology and the manner in which audiences engage with media content of interest. Indeed, the progressive digitization of media content and the fragmentation of television delivery and reception have been affecting the ways in which media are accessed and consumed to the point that the construction of textual boundaries has shifted from producers to media consumers.

The research in the book is structured as a comparative study between two distinct countries: Italy and New Zealand. These two countries have been chosen as reference contexts for the investigation of audiences’ consumption behaviors because they represent non-dominant media markets, both Anglophone and non-Anglophone, that remain to be properly studied and explored. Although they tend to be conflated in generic audience studies, national audiences represent strategic markets for the circulation of international fiction. In investigating the consumption modes that characterize the distribution of American television programs in these cultural contexts, the aim is to provide insights into the culturally specific similarities and differences that distinct audiences disclose in consuming the same texts. 

Game of Thrones and Mad Men have been selected as case studies because they are substantial examples of trans-media narratives that tell multiple stories over multiple platforms that together tell one big pervasive story, attracting audience engagement. The methods employed for gathering useful data for the comparative analysis were both quantitative and qualitative. The first phase of data collection consisted in the production of four online surveys: two in English for Game of Thrones and Mad Men, respectively, and two in Italian. The second phase of data production consisted of the organization of the focus group sessions in, respectively, the city of Milan (Italy) and city of Auckland (New Zealand).


Combining transmedia studies with fan studies, Carmen Spano uses a range of qualitative and quantitative audience data to make a sophisticated case for the ongoing importance of primary textual structures at a time of transmedia storytelling/extensions. This book sets out a compelling contrast between Mad Men and Game of Thrones, as well as assessing national contexts of consumption, and evaluating the roles of ‘casual’ or ‘hardcore’ fandom. We’ve long known audiences are active; this study expertly teases out exactly how its contemporary audiences encounter transmedia TV. — Professor Matt Hills, author of Fan Cultures

Author Information

Carmen Spanò holds a PhD in media, film and television from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her academic research interests lie in media representations and convergence, audience research, media reception and consumption.


Anthem Series on Television Studies

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Rethinking Audiences in a Trans-Media, Transnational Age; 3. National Audiences and Consumption Trends in Nondominant Media Markets; 4. The Peculiarities of Mad Men and Game of Thrones in the Trans-Media Ecosystem; 5. Trans- Media Storytelling and Fans’ Modes of Engagement: An Overview; Appendix I: Survey Questions; Appendix II: Focus Group Topics; Bibliography; Index.


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