Is interactive storytelling a path for TV’s future?
Interactive storytelling is a form of storytelling based on interactivity, participation, and immersion. We know that there are many forms that follow these precepts, and video games are the most obvious. However, there has been a long time for experiments where the user is allowed to interfere in the middle and at the end of the narrative, such as the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ series books.
Now imagine doing it from the couch in your home, while you are in charge of your set-top box ... Ever wondered how you can decide what the characters in ‘The Stranger Things’ should do? Or change the path of Frank Underwood in ‘House of Cards’?
Well, that's exactly what we're talking about, and interestingly, the first big investment in this kind of narrative comes from Netflix.
Interactive is the new entertaining
The American company’s idea is to make entertainment more entertaining. Basically, it wants to create a family social experience, instead of encouraging the passivity of its viewers, where each family member sees their favourite series on a different screen.
By giving participants the opportunity to improve their levels of satisfaction and engagement by participating in a story, it also allows the company to get to know its user better and what type of movies or series it likes and how they should end.
Basically, Netflix tries with this type of narratives to innovate the television landscape, gather information about their viewers and also to attract new subscribers to its services.
Let’s start at the beginning, with children
Children deal with screens in a completely different way from adults. The gesture of touching and swiping on the screens, talking to them, is natural amongst this new generation. Why not create a line of communication with them? Why not allow children to respond actively to the problems of their favourite characters and define their future?
As Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, Netflix's director of product innovation, says "Kids are already talking to the screen. [...] They're touching every screen. They think everything is interactive ".
Children have had a lot of exposure to interactive stories through mobile and video game applications, so it's no wonder they expect the same from television. This is where Netflix comes in with interactive series like 'Puss in Books: Trapped in an Epic Tale' or 'Buddy Thunderstruck'.
In these series, viewers can choose which adventures Puss or Buddy have, through the remote or by touching the options that appear on the screen. It may seem simple now, but without a doubt, the goal will be to create complex narratives.
As an adult, will you be left out of this new type of living-room entertainment?