Austen approved

Pemberley digital and the transmedia commodification of Jane Austen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The web video production company Pemberley Digital is most notable for their YouTube adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the internet sensation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Pemberley Digital specialises in the creation of transmedia adaptations of texts, with content stretching across a variety of platforms. However, their 2013–2014 adaptation of Emma, Emma Approved, is, by Pemberley Digital's own admission, the company's boldest experiment with the commodification potential of Jane Austen's novels. Emma Approved played out over five platforms: video, blog posts, photographs, social media and music. After watching the videos, viewers are encouraged to click on links to purchase the clothes worn, or technological devices used by, the characters, incorporating product placement and advertorial into the text of Emma Approved. Pemberley Digital's unique transmedia adaptation is a distinctly twenty-first century manifestation of Jane Austen's afterlife: one that privileges a multi-dimensional, interactive “bite-sized” experience of texts, and one that seeks to transform the cultural capital associated with Austen into profit. The texts are rendered malleable to a transmedia storytelling mode across multiple digital platforms. The Pemberley Digital productions of Pride and Prejudice and Emma speak to the twenty- and twenty-first century's impulse to turn Jane Austen into a marketable, profitable commodity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-524
Number of pages13
JournalWomen's Writing
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Jane Austen
  • Pemberley Digital
  • Transmedia
  • Emma Approved
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

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