Weihan Huang explains how ‘New Netflix’ will work.
Have you ever watched a show that had a captivating story line, but was ruined by an infuriatingly weak ending? Well, Netflix will soon offer a solution to such a conundrum with its plans to introduce an interactive function that will allow subscribers to pick the ending of a Netflix original show using their remote control.
Netflix has already released interactive functions, albeit not to this extent. In April 2016, in order to unlock a collection of episodes from the kids’ show Kong: King of the Apes, viewers had to watch a certain number of episodes. This was possibly the beginning of their experimentation with interactive functions, as sources report that Netflix’s initial tests with this new feature will be on a children’s series later this year. Kids’ shows are the ideal avenue through which Netflix should experiment with this feature as they run on relatively low budgets and the quality of the shows is not intensely scrutinised by critics, reducing the potential fall out if this new feature is not well received.
Netflix issued a statement regarding this potential game-changer, stating that: “Netflix is constantly exploring ways to create a better experience for its members. We first introduced interactive elements to our kids’ series, Kong, in April 2016. We will continue to experiment in this format to learn more about what our members enjoy.”
Such a revolutionary feature would be the ultimate crowd pleaser, allowing subscribers to make decisions on behalf of the characters within the shows. The decisions made will not be trivial; instead they will allow subscribers to weave the entire story line of a show, effectively controlling the ending. For example, this technology could allow you to dictate whom Princess Margaret marries in the hugely popular Netflix original series, The Crown. Thus, the customisable nature of future shows will help maximise the satisfaction that viewers derive from them. Despite giving viewers unparalleled control, this interactive aspect will not stifle the creativity of the directors and producers, as users can simply opt to follow the original storyline planned out by the production team and creative parameters will be set so that producers can ensure that the final outcome will be in line with their creative perspective. If Netflix were to make such a function available, it would be regarded as an innovation within streaming services, providing an immersive experience that is unrivalled in terms of its viewer involvement.
In order for such a function to be made possible, the production team working on a show would have to film many different scenes that go according to the various storylines available for subscribers to select. As such, the production costs of Netflix original shows will undoubtedly increase, possibly leading to an increase in the subscription fee as well. However, this technology has the potential to allow Netflix to dominate the streaming industry, as traditional broadcasters would struggle to implement such customisability on a large scale, making this a feature exclusive to Netflix.
If Netflix were to successfully introduce this ground-breaking feature, our viewing habits would be permanently altered, marking a new era within the entertainment industry.