One thing I enjoy more than consuming media is to analyze them. Recently, we've seen an influx of these entertainment franchises that was intended for one audience, but a completely different demographic seems to have taken a strong interest in it. Or despite all the failings in the entertainment in the traditional sense, it still garners a large fanbase and wide acclaim. I don't think it's at all what critics claim to be “adult-child” or “special snowflakes”. Franchises such as Minecraft, Kemono Friends, Undertale, Friday Night at Freddy's, My Little Pony, and Spooky's House of Jumpscares all seem to have hardcore, diehard fans and often the centre of ridicule to majority of the outsiders.
At first, I too thought the adult-males' infatuation to girls' multimedia franchise with an endless slew of multi-coloured ponies slightly disturbing. However, this type of fanbase, I soon learned, wasn't that uncommon. In fact, after treading with my head closer to the ground, I found that it's actually extremely common. One of the oldest internet example would be the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It garnered a large following on deviantArt and hundreds of original characters were created based on the franchise. What exactly about some sneaker-wearing blue marsupial gathered such a wide crowd? My guess is that it's an example of an Easy to Consume Media. A very basic plot (if any), and a very exploitable art style with semi-interesting characters made Sonic the Hedgehog the perfect series for young artists and writers to latch onto. In this vein, Pokémon and most video game franchises also met with this sort of popularity. On the contrary, movies and comics such as Marvel and DC had slightly harder time with these sort of folks. These type of media are often too complex or too well drawn for the audience to draw inspirations to create their original contents.
This phenomenon is not only limited to the West. In East Asia, especially Japan, series such as Touhou, and Kemono Friends also seem to follow a similar trend. Lacklustre story, shoddy graphics and a large collection of interesting albeit laughable characters allow for much interpretation for the creative audience.
Perhaps this is one of the most important aspect of Easy to Consume Media, the fact that there is room for artistic reinterpretation and the basic storyline allows for more creativity to flow. Thus, inadvertently (read: not designed or intended by stakeholders) increasing the size of the community through fan art and fan fiction.
This is a topic that could be interesting to pursue, and may be a great tool to forecast the popularity of a franchise by the captive audience-channels to better predict the next trendy or viral franchise. In the meantime, here is a simple chart on what could make a good multimedia franchise with lots of enthusiastic fans.
In the meantime, enjoy this three coal diamond chart I whipped up in 5 minutes: