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How interactive video is changing the way people watch content

In the 1980’s, a book series called “Choose your own Adventure” was wildly successful among children (I was one of them). It allowed you to choose the path as the protagonist in each story which determined the plot outcome. The book series brought a level of interaction unlike any other before it. No wonder it sold 250 million copies worldwide.

It seems as if Netflix modernized this approach.

The streaming platform recently launched a “Black Mirror” film called “Bandersnatch“, which allows the viewer to choose a story line. They basically took the popular “Choose your own Adventure” books and made a movie out of it. Smart move Netflix. 

The question remains, can this level of interaction be as popular as the books once were? Well one thing is for sure, Netflix has a loyal userbase; their recent original film “Birdbox” claims to have had at least 43 million viewers in just a few days (not counting shared accounts which could be drastically more).

Interacting with content has been slowly trickling into marketing methods. Instead of someone watching a video ad, now you can interact with that same video ad. This shows the brand that you are interested in the content or the product, as well as what part of it you’re interested in. It’s hyper-specific advertising.

With video ads already showing interactive content, and now Netflix entering the space, who might follow suit in the coming years? It’s obvious that social media is getting saturated and people are growing tired of being shown ads. So companies have to step up their game, adapt to a changing market, and offer something new that they can engage with.

Videos have to become more than a click and watch format to keep people interested.

Popular app Tik Tok allows viewers to “React” to a video or perform a “Duet” with a content creator. This is a step up from the click and watch mentality. In the future, maybe when Tony Hawk posts a video Tik Tok, instead of showing off his tricks right away, he might film a variety of tricks, and then let the viewer decide which trick they want to see.

Where do you think interactive content is headed? We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below!


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