Opening up a World of Storytelling Possibilities on Netflix

Just over a year ago, we first dipped our toe into interactive storytelling with the launch of Kong, introducing “unlockables” (gamification). This summer – after 2 years in the making – we will launch our first branching narratives with Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale. Netflix is  continuing to push the bounds of storytelling with an entirely new type of offering where viewers can engage with the story in a way that literally puts the control in the hands of the viewers, giving them the ability to influence the trajectory of the narrative.

Think Choose Your Own Adventure books in video form. Note that Netflix is not the first company to tackle branching narrative in video form. Game developers have come out with these types of interactive media.

Netflix is the first to do interactive content at this scale. Being a leading software based tech company means that the company is in a race other companies can’t even compete in. They are also  working with quality content creators – like Dreamworks, American Greetings/Stoopid Buddy Stoodios – to design these stories with interactivity in mind from the onset.

  • Innovation at scale. Part Hollywood and part Silicon Valley, Netflix is uniquely positioned to bring this dynamic format to multiple device types and millions of members across the world. With the virtues of being software-based, Netflix is the first to deliver this type of format at this scale.
  • Pushing the bounds of storytelling*. Netflix is an artist friendly studio, and creatives have a desire to tell non-linear stories, expanding the possibilities of how stories are told and how viewers engage. Having two choices can open a world of storytelling possibilities. Just like  doing talk shows and competition series, this is another example of Netflix  breaking the traditional format model and trying new things to bring more variety and value to our members.
  • Experimentation and learning. They test everything at Netflix to make the experience better for its members, and this is no exception. Experimenting enables us to learn, and delivering branching narratives will inform how members engage with these types of stories, acting as foundational building blocks to inform how we explore future opportunities.
  • Consumer control. Netflix is all about consumer control – watching anywhere, anytime on any device, and interactive storytelling unlocks a new element of this — the ability to choose the direction of a story.

For more information, here’s the Netflix Blog on the Interactive storytelling innovation. It also includes the demo trailer.

The Interactive content is available on many newer devices, including smart TVs, streaming media players, game consoles, and iOS devices running the latest version of the Netflix app.