Interested in China? Register for StoryDrive China, May 29-31

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Interview with Holger Volland, Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurt Book Fair takes its cross-media StoryDrive conference to Beijing, May 29-30.

Today, a story can be a book, a computer game, a film, a graphic novel… an entire world. And that world can interact with our own through social reading communities and interactive e-books that allow readers to exert their own influence on the way the plot develops. And the media world has changed, and with it, so too have consumers.

Yes, there are hundreds of possible ways to create a story world – and just as many open questions.

So, what new opportunities are being created by the convergence of the publishing, film, and gaming industries? How do you foster cooperation between them? What do the media users want and how will their tastes change in the future?

Starting in 2010 the Frankfurt Book Fair’s all-media platform, StoryDrive, began answering those questions. The event brings together games developers, publishers, agents and film producers to analyse the latest trends, discuss new business models, and develop strategies for future success.

On May 29-30th, StoryDrive will make its debut appearance in China. Holger Volland, VP Media Industries for The Frankfurt Book Fair discusses what attendees can expect in Beijing next month:

What is StoryDrive?

Holger Volland: In Frankfurt we were very quick to identify potential areas of interaction with other creative industries – in 2003 we launched the Film & TV Forum, connecting the film and publishing industries and to establish durable links and create real added value for both sides.

In 2010, the Forum developed into an all-media platform with the name Frankfurt StoryDrive. The concept is the same. We continue to build bridges, but we have expanded beyond just the film and book industries. StoryDrive examines the “360-degree view” of storytelling and content, which includes video games adaptations and cross platform utilization, as well as all-media concepts that serve different channels at the same time.

What is the objective of this conference? What’s special about it?

StoryDrive doesn’t just provide a window onto all the current trends or speculate on the future of the media business; it actually gets things to happen. We organize matchmaking and pitching sessions, bringing our participants together with potential business partners and co-producers from other media industries. We push the trade in rights and licenses, and offer space for cooperation and coproduction deals. StoryDrive is much more than a conference. It’s a cross-media marketplace for material and projects.

What can participants of StoryDrive China expect?

The cross-media business is still in its infancy. That’s as true in China as it is anywhere else in the world. With StoryDrive China, we will demonstrate the existing opportunities for cooperation between the industries; we’ll discuss different avenues for multimedia utilization and ways to achieve added (financial) value. Apart from that, we’ll be re-evaluating some familiar business models.

We’ve invited media experts from around the world to take part. There will be case studies too. One example is Nils-Holger Henning from Bigpoint. With 230 million registered players and 800 employees, Bigpoint is one of the largest developers of browser-based games in the world. Henning will present the “Game of Thrones” project. This new massively multiplayer online role-playing game for browsers is based on the HBO series of the same name, which is itself based on the fantasy saga The Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin. It’s therefore a good example of how the value chain has been exploited to the full. As part of StoryDrive, we’ll discuss the extent to which this successful concept might be transferable to other projects, and what partners would be required for such an undertaking.

The all-media platform StoryDrive China Conference and Exhibition takes place May 29-30 at the China National Convention Centre in Beijing. Discount for early booking up to 30 March 2012: € 280,- for 2 single-day tickets (regular price: € 400). Register online at

StoryDrive China is a part of the China International Fair for Trade in Services (IFTIS)

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.