Last week, a rumor that Netflix was looking into interactive TV shows started spreading like wildfire thanks to a report from The Daily Mail. Turns out, Netflix is doing no such thing.
Netflix told the New York Times it didn’t have any plans on changing the formatting of its shows to include a “choose your own adventure” style of viewing. The company did confirm, however, that it was looking into new models of experimentation, specifically with children’s shows.
“The experiment was focused on children’s programming, more as a developmental learning tool than as some new twist on the modern media sphere’s rush to give you exactly what you want when you want it,” according to the New York Times.
Although Netflix isn’t developing an interactive TV show, there are other companies who are experimenting with interactive television. In February, Apple executives told the Los Angles Times they were interested in exploring ways to make their original series interactive. Planet of the Apps, one of Apple’s first original series created by NBC Entertainment Chairman Ben Silverman and executive producer will.i.am., will encourage viewers to have the corresponding app open while watching an episode for more information on the contestants.
“A show about apps doesn’t work unless you are partnering with Apple,” Silverman told the Times. “And it will also be an app, which is very meta and cool.”
Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, told the Times that Apple wanted to do unique things with television their company allowed them to.
“These shows bring something to customers that they haven’t seen before,” Cue said. “We are trying to do things that are unique and cultural.”
Along with giants like Apple and Netflix, big name directors want to get in on the new technological wave of television. In 2015, Steven Soderbergh said he wanted to make a choose-your-own-adventure show for HBO. As a result, the show was said to have multiple endings and viewers would get a specific one based on the decisions they made.
There’s no question that interactive TV series are an area that entertainment networks want to look into, and Netflix is poised to be the first to do it successfully if it wants. It has the financial backing, the right creatives and the technology to deliver it more so than a traditional network like HBO.
As it stands right now, however, there aren’t any interactive shows heading to Netflix. Looks like the rest of us are stuck with other forms of interactive entertainment like, say, video games.