The Consortium maintains a flexible and dynamic project of research activities. Working within a humanities framework, C3 applies qualitative research strategies to explore media change, the cultural factors influencing consumer behavior, and changing sites for audience experiences with media properties. In addition to our own research team, the Consortium draws on a diverse range of affiliated researchers and works with research groups within partner companies. Research findings are presented in white papers and case studies, both online and in hard copy. Regular updates on our own research and happenings in the field are provided through a weekly newsletter and on our blog. The Consortium holds an annual gathering of partner companies and researchers, and Consortium members regularly participate in academic and business conferences.

Year One

During the first year, C3 used a mix of interrogative, qualitative, and quantitative strategies to explore aspects of the changing landscape through which brands and media properties circulate. Specific activity included:

  • Analyzing efforts to integrate brands into entertainment content, looking specifically at advertising and branding opportunities in videogames
  • Examining the construction of brand cultures around products and services, specifically devising strategies for enabling and enhancing fan participation
  • Examining the implementation of Digital Rights Management, and proposing alternative responses to the threat of piracy of media content
  • Investigating the patterns of media consumption within dorm communities as a way of understanding the social dynamics that emerge around content and services
  • Conducting field based research on brand cultures and mobile media in China

The Consortium released foundational white papers based on this work:

In-Game Advertising: Vision Report 2010

Selling Creatively: Product Placement in the New Media

Fanning the Audience's Flames: Ten Ways to Embrace and Cultivate Fan Cultures

How to Turn Pirates into Loyalists: The Moral Economy and an Alternative Response to File Sharing

No Room for Pack Rats: Media Consumption and the College Dorm

This Is Not (Just) An Advertisement: Understanding ARGs

Year Two

In its second year, C3 continued to build on key areas of activity, exploring audience expression and engagement, investigating the development of new media technologies and forms, and working to understand the circulation of brand properties within specific communities. Specific activity included:

  • Investigating the potential applications of Alternate Reality Gaming for engaging audiences and prospective consumers through immersive, interactive narratives.
  • Exploring the emergence of social networking, looking at the opportunities for brand development, consciousness raising, and promotion. This work includes specific attention to the opportunities to develop social networking tools for particular demographics, including children.
  • Examining activity in Massively Multiplayer Online Games and Virtual Worlds, cataloging MMOG player types and exploring the potential application of these as a way to understand Virtual Worlds.
  • Continued study of fan communities and the process of proselytizing identified in the dorm study.
  • Devising effective strategies for developing content for mobile media platforms.

The Consortium built on the research from the first year to produce a series of white papers exploring specific instances of convergence. These included:

This Is Not (Just) An Advertisement: Understanding ARGs - this was followed up by Deconstructing the Lost Experience, a close reading of major 2006 ARG The Lost Experience.

Moving Stories: Aesthetics and Production in Mobile Media

Playing in Other Worlds: Modeling Player Motivations

Fandemonium: A Tag Team Approach to Enabling and Mobilizing Fans

In addition to the partner's meeting, the Consortium also hosted Futures of Entertainment a major public conference drawing together industry and academic thought leaders to consider the future of the entertainment industries. Audio and video of the sessions are available from the Program page on the 2006 conference site. The C3 team's live-blog of the conference is available in our weblog's archive, and photographs of the event are available at Flickr.

Year Three

In its third year, the Consortium is launching the 'Spreadable Media Project', a series of research projects looking at what happens as convergence reaches a state of ubiquity. This project is motivated by an understanding that the propensity to spread, through official and unofficial channels, is becoming fundamental to the experience of media products within convergence culture.