Online video giant YouTube is to develop its own choose-your-own-adventure-style interactive programming. The new content is likely intended to compete with Netflix shows like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Bear Grylls' You vs. Wild.
According to a spokesperson, interactive projects will be part of a new dedicated unit. This unit will exclusively oversee interactive content and live specials. YouTube Originals exec Ben Relles will be heading up this division and will take up the mantle of "head of innovation" for YouTube Originals. Susanne Daniels, head of original programming for the company, says Relles has an "intuitive and experienced understanding" of how YouTube can enhance content. YouTube is also planning to implement some of the features of its new interactive content into both scripted and unscripted Originals shows. We'll be hearing about the first of the planned new interactive shows soon.
This won't be the first time the Google-owned video colossus has dabbled with interactivity. To mark the release of the Resident Evil 2 remake, Capcom ran an interactive ad campaign. In the campaign, viewers could choose narrative paths in order to survive a zombie outbreak. Elsewhere, companies have created interactive advertisements for brands like BiC, Boursin, and Audi. The new YouTube Originals interactive division will, however, be the first time the company has experimented with narrative-focused interactive content.
This news comes as YouTube begins an operation to scale back it's scripted original programming. It's doing so in favor of unscripted reality shows and live content, both of which are less costly than scripted stuff. The company will continue to greenlight scripted content but is shifting its focus to better cater to a wider audience. We don't yet know whether the new interactive shows will mostly be scripted or unscripted. We'll bring you more news on this as we get it.
What kind of interactive shows would you like to see YouTube create? Let us know in the comments below!