Twitch wants to combine two things it does best—influencers and audience participation. Twitch COO Kevin Lin said that the company is interested in streaming original, “Choose Your Own Adventure” content, as in a TV show viewers control. The idea is that audiences would directly impact a show’s writing and production along the way, although any other details are purely speculative.
“We’d want to identify really progressive studios that are willing to take a gamble and not release something in a big dump like most [premium] digital platforms these days,” Lin explained in an interview with Recode. “[Someone who] will work with us and say, ‘week to week, we’re going to change this thing. We’re going to somehow make it a little more interactive.’”
Twitch is already an industry leader for hosting and/or producing live, interactive entertainment, especially with influence marketers. In addition to the 14.2 billion chat messages on Twitch in 2016, the site has found great success streaming games that put control into the viewers’ hands. While the platform is known best for its gaming content, the site also plays host to a number of channels that produce art, music, comedy and TV show marathons.
Could a Choose Your Own Adventure TV show work? Quite possibly yes, as it has been done on a smaller scale. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Twitch creators to invite feedback and guidance from their viewers on whatever they’re working on, so a TV show could work in much the same way, either live or through feedback after each episode.
The concept works great for brands, too. To promote Stranger Things, Netflix partnered for “Twitch Plays Haunted Basement.” A team of influencers played various games in a 1980s-themed basement set while votes in the chat room determined how they would be tormented—flying books, flickering lights, doors that would creak open to reveal sinister, singing, dead-eyed dolls, etc.
Twitch isn’t the only one playing around with the idea, either. Neflix is working on a technology that allows viewers to make plot decisions and HBO’s upcoming TV movie Mosaic will let viewers pick the ending.
Interactive entertainment has been at play for some time now from music videos to film and of course, video games which are now being developed from the ground-up with audience interaction in mind. Now that film and TV sets can be rendered in real-time, it may not be long before Choose Your Own Adventure becomes commonplace for both scripted and unscripted programs.