Interactive content is disrupting traditionally static content industries and the way content is consumed from all screen devices to cinema theaters, gaming, virtual reality. As well as marketing campaigns, advertising, data analytics, consumer expectations and experiences.
A long coming wave that started with the internet age has progressively brought a cultural shift in audiences that went from passively accepting what was on screen, to a more dynamic contribution. Social media is one example where every content consumer is also a data generating publisher, with followers. Dynamic audiences have also progressively risen to power via TV on Demand, Pay per View, Live Streaming and Netflix, disrupting the traditional top-to-bottom-only model, even impacting the Hollywood Industry.
Generations with shorter attention spans in a noisy world could now become even more engaged audiences as increased solicitations and choices are brought before their eyes. Long gone are the days where zapping from a dusty TV remote control was the only way for audiences to choose, and vote, in the process for their favorite show. Today, interactive content infuses users (no longer just viewers but ‘viewsers’) with a perceived feeling of responsibility, choice, control and suspense resulting in a unique experience. Here, the opportunities surge to legally gather much larger quantities of personalized user Data Feedback such as but not limited to: consumer viewing behavior, profile, personality type, conversion possibilities, rate and score.
Interactive Content enhances then predictive models of consumer behavior while shaping the choice spectrum (horizons spread in the box, yet it remains a ‘choice box’). With higher viewer retention-rates in a fast-paced, noisy digital world, the power to influence rises as personalized-targeting increases conversion when consumers are called to action. Successful projects integrating interactive content could then show increased returns on investment and multiple benefit types.
Data mining and ‘predicting the future’ is only one of them. Education and high-risk environments/ disciplines scenario training is another. Less obvious is the coming power of AI that could claim imagining scenarios for itself and then automatically suggesting them to consumers, even if the later scenario is unknown to the series Director himself, or if the ‘viewser’ is visiting the platform for the first time.
Science-fiction ? Not quite.
And the possible threats?
Interactive multidimensional content is perceived as more expensive than traditional linear content because increased resources driving up cost are needed in production: creative content for deriving stories, time, budget. On the other hand, increased risk of losses are to be taken into consideration if ‘viewsers’ do not bite and opt-in (the power of data analysis will help to hedge this risk). Audience’s native imagination could decrease as the temptation rises to stick with the variety of choices proposed.
The raw, original individual power to dream and fantasize an alternative reality could diminish, as some would settle for a reassuring comfortable multiple-choice narrative while having the illusion of being creative.
Static Mediums and knowledge vectors such as books could also appear less and less appealing to younger generations as even today millennials spend less time researching in libraries and reading books then baby-boomers.
Some of the possible repercussions of culturally integrating Interactive content in the mainstream would be related to social engineering as citizens/ ‘viewsers’ will get accustomed to Multiple Realities which would create Cultural Multiverses (more than one universe).
In the political world, this could drive tendencies to call for more participation and transparency, in the actual power structure models worldwide, including in the west. Especially, in a world where differentiating between facts and fiction is getting harder (news, fake-news and the rise to come of Deep-fakes). Opinion leaders in general, and in the digital world in particular, would be more easily identified; their influence measured not only in general but also per theme or campaign.
The cultural shift partly induced by the interactive content trend could also spread to the corporate world, and its power structures as well as disrupt the business of retail with the hyper-customization of products and automation of deliveries..
featured photo in color ‘the derviches’ sculptress May Rishani