In an effort to find yet another way to make its service sticky, Netflix is planning to roll out interactive features on shows including Black Mirror that will enable viewers to choose their own endings, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Citing unnamed sources, the report said projects will be released before the end of the year that follow the model of some kids shows already on Netflix, such as Puss in Book. The technology follows the pattern of videogames, and Netflix has videogame-based shows in the works, including a take on Minecraft due by the end of 2018.
HBO has already dipped a toe into interactive waters this year with Mosaic. The six-part Steven Soderbergh-directed mystery thriller aired on the linear network but was accompanied by an app featuring a range of different story threads that viewers could customize. Critics generally praised Soderbergh’s narrative architecture and the experience of the show.
Black Mirror is a prominent, Emmy-winning series for Netflix, whose themes lend themselves to high-tech experimentation. The fifth season of the Charlie Brooker-created show is expected to premiere in December.
In addition to Black Mirror, Netflix has closed a deal for one other live-action series and is in the final stages of other deals, according to Bloomberg.
While plenty of reality series have incorporated interactive elements for years now, the scripted realm faces hurdles to wider deployment of choose-your-own-ending storytelling. In addition to the technology requirements, it requires more extensive scripts and produced scenes. That can present budget and labor challenges for producers.