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New On Netflix: Pick And Choose Your Own Storyline

Interactive storytelling heralds multiple possible paths for a show.

21/06/2017 4:04 PM IST | Updated 23/06/2017 10:29 AM IST
Thomas Trutschel via Getty Images

Well-known for its strong technical prowess when it comes to distributing content, of late, Netflix has also gained a following for Netflix Originals — shows that are produced and distributed exclusively by the company. Today, Netflix is unveiling another pioneering feature globally that would let users choose alternative storylines in a show.

The interactive storytelling feature will ask users to make choices at certain points in the show, based on which the story will unfold. Interactive content will be available on many newer devices, including smart TVs, streaming media players, game consoles, and iOS devices running the latest version of the Netflix app.

Currently, Netflix is only releasing the title Puss In Boots under the new feature. Only two more shows lined up — Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile will be available in July, while Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout will be available in 2018.

"We've done extensive research and talked to lots of kids and parents, collecting qualitative data to better understand if this is something viewers will like," Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix, said in an emailed statement. "While we've gotten positive feedback (for example, parents like the fact their child has the ability to make decisions and take a seat in the director's chair, if you will), we're eager to learn how our members will engage with the experience. Which choices or storylines will be the most popular? Will the mean bears or the friendly bears be more popular? Are members more compelled to re-watch and uncover all of the different storylines?"

Netflix has put in a fair amount of effort, working with the content makers as well as an engineering team, to tweak the experience. In terms of the user interface, from creating the choices menu to the scrub bar, everything was refreshed. Content creators had to put in some thought to the story flows, as there were multiple alternatives on the cards now. Netflix has worked with Ryan Wiesbrock for Buddy Thunderstruck.

In terms of content and spread, this is a small roll-out. But testing the waters in children's territory can be a great move as they like to see their favourite shows over and over again. Giving that a new dimension can work wonders for Netflix.

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