Online streaming service Netflix is launching two interactive children’s TV shows that allow viewers to determine what happens on-screen.
The animated programmes give youngsters the opportunity yo choose between two options at several points.
“They are used to pressing play on the remote, setting it down and then just leaning back on the couch and letting Netflix roll,” said Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, the director of product innovation at Netflix. “In this case, we actually need them to hold on to the remote. We don’t want it lost in the couch cushions. We need you to lean forward a little bit to engage with the choices.”
Although “branching narrative” tech is innovative, it has also been an expensive exercise for Netflix.
The project has been more than two years in the making.
“It was actually a little bit more than twice as much animation as a typical episode,” said Doug Langdale, executive producer of the Puss in Book series, which was made in conjunction with Dreamworks Studios.
“It was about 50 minutes [of footage] where it would normally be 22. Especially with computer animation, that’s tremendously more expensive. It’s not easy or cheap. But it’s the next thing, and we’ve got to try it,” he added.
Next year will bring an interactive episode of the superhero show “Stretch Armstrong,” the New York Times reported.
“As you can imagine, with two years of development, I’m really excited to see how our members engage with this,” Fisher said. “From there, we’ve built this tool set for our creators, and it’s ultimately about finding creators who want to tell complex stories in this way. We’ll see where things go.”
Netflix had about 100m subscribers in April.