With digital video becoming more of an accepted media across both desktop and mobile devices, a number of companies are trying new ideas to keep audiences hooked and that includes interactive videos, where viewers can make choices and see how they unfold with the push of a button. A number of start-ups are exploring the format, trying to get users more involved with its content as a result.
Some folks believe that it could play a big role in the future of entertainment. It s not going to be very long before the expectation will be that the video you are watching on your smartphone, the Web or smart TV should be interactive, says Erika Trautman, founder and CEO of startup Rapt Media to Variety. We are fundamentally rethinking how video is presented.
That’s not to say everyone is quickly adopting to it, however. “The jury is still out on that,” said Jon Liebman, CEO of talent management/production company Brillstein Entertainment Partners. “Things have to be super-easy for a generation that is intuitively digital. It has to be like turning on the light.”
A number of companies, including Rapt, are involved, such as Cinematique, HapYak, Wirewax and TouchCast, among others, dabbling in formats and seeing what they can do when it comes to video projects.
Some believe that interactive video is a hook that will stand out from a growing field of content. It s a way to cut through the clutter, says Julie Greenwald, chairman and COO of Atlantic Records Group. Anyone with an iPhone can make a music video. This presents a new creative tool. A number of Atlantic artists are using Interlude’s system to producer interactive videos for viewers to mess around with, including Coldplay and Wiz Khalifa.
One big audience that could play a part in interactive video’s success is millennials, according to Interlude executive chairman Nancy Tellem. “I’m not saying linear experiences are over,” she said. “But this is a technology that lets people relate very differently to video.”
One such format that shows the popularity of interactivity is DVR functionality, which enables users to record and watch their shows however they please. But creators of interactive video want to go a step beyond that with interaction and without the annoying ads getting in the way. “There’s nothing worse than getting pop-ups over video,” said Cinematique CEO Randy Ross. “It disrupts the experience.”
It can also play a part in marketing as well. MTV recently debuted a special Choose Your Own Murder series to tie in with its Scream show, where users can select their fate with a few button presses. It’s been a moderate success, with viewers spending an average of seven minutes and 23 seconds interacting more than three times the length of the total video content in the segment. If you make something interactive, people will watch it longer — and they ll rewatch it, says Matt McDonough, MTV s director of digital marketing.