YouTube is in the process of creating its own choose-your-own-adventure model as it looks to increase viewership (as if it should need to do that) and sales in the not-too-distant future.
Since streaming service giant Netflix has already delved into the production of interactive videos, the Google-owned company is aiming to follow suit and bring its own brand of the same to viewers, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Ben Relles, who has been working at YouTube for the past eight years, is poised to head up a new unit, which will be overseeing the development of interactive programming and live specials. Relles is said to be "still exploring the best ways for YouTube viewers to participate in stories."
The choose-your-own-adventure style has actually been around for at least a few decades but was mostly restricted to books. Producers have been exploring the possibilities of bringing the concept to video for some time, but technological constraints are only now being slackened since the world's largest media companies needed to be convinced it was worthwhile.
“We now have amazing new tools and opportunities to create and tell multilayered and interactive stories,” YouTube’s head of original programming, Susanne Daniels, says in a statement. “Ben has an intuitive and experienced understanding of how the platform can enhance content, making him the perfect choice to develop this exciting new division.”
Meanwhile, Netflix has put together a few interactive shows for children and, back in December, it released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, its first interactive show for adults. Walmart is also making forays therein, having invested the sum of $250 million into a joint venture with interactive series producers Eko.
It hasn't been all smooth sailing for Netflix, however. Chooseco LLC, a publisher of children's books that owns the "Choose Your Own Adventure" trademark, has sued the streaming company for $25 million. Netflix, in turn, has asked for the suit to be dismissed on the grounds that “The idea of a narrative storytelling device in which readers or viewers make their own choices is not protected by trademark law.”
With competition from YouTube now looming, things could get a bit more difficult where the model is concerned. The world's largest video website has already experimented with interactive advertisements. However, interactive programming will demand a larger investment.