5 Reasons the Film Industry Should Be Using Interactive Videos

On the precipice of a golden age in interactive entertainment, it’s about time that the film industry took notice of this growing trend and began to fully utilise the potential it holds

On the precipice of a golden age in interactive entertainment, it’s about time that the film industry took notice of this growing trend and began to fully utilise the potential it holds. The film industry hasn’t really changed all that much since the introduction of moving pictures. It’s always the same, you sit there just staring at the screen while passively consuming content that may or may not entertain you.

 

 

The future of film lies in the hands of revolution, innovation, and change. As the human minds and human behaviour change, the entertainment industry must move along with it or be left behind as more interactive and engaging content is favoured over the classic approach. 

The idea of interactive video has been around for decades, but it’s only really picked up speed in the last few years or so. Lately, a handful of start-up companies have begun breathing a new lease of life into the old concept of interactivity with videos, with the hope that viewers of these types of videos will pay more attention and become much more invested in the content. 

 

Interactive videos turn a passive experience of watching a linear video into an active one. Improving attention, engagement and emotional investment in the content that a viewer is watching. It’s already a big thing in the marketing arena, with video adverts allowing customers to click on products within to be able to directly purchase, and the entertainment industry is using the trend to make breathtaking music videos. 

 

The interactive content within the entertainment industry has already surpassed the engagement and effectiveness of music and print and is beginning to knock at the film industry’s door. Since 2010, interactive video has been steadily growing at a rate of around 10% each year, constantly continuing to captivate global audiences. 

 

Bandersnatch, A Netflix movie from the Black Mirror series, became a worldwide phenomenon overnight, with people flocking en masse to watch and play. Its success in other areas of entertainment only support the use of interactive video in film. For instance, Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game, got over one billion downloads while League of Legends 2017 World Championship obtained more than 60 million viewers. These are just a few examples of how mainstream and popular the world of interactive video within the entertainment industry has become, with much more potential still left untapped and a future filled with possibilities.

 

 

Why Is Interactive Content So Successful in the Entertainment Industry?

The need to constantly work out how best to attract the attention of customers with increasingly fleeting attention spans is an issue that has plagued the marketing world for years. Marketers and brands flock to follow the latest trends that are said to be more engaging and more likely to hold viewer’s attention. Interactive content is fast outperforming all of the previous and current trends that can help to hold attention. The perfect blend of participation, authenticity and engagement give interactive content the perfect recipe for success when it comes to the millennial and generation Z generations. 


The ‘hard sell’ just doesn’t work anymore. Younger generations don’t respond to simply being told that something is great. They don’t respond to see-through attempts by brands o appear bigger and better. They don’t respond to almost any of the traditional marketing avenues that were utilised for years with previous generations. 

They need to feel valued, the need to feel as though the brand they are interacting with is good and just and adds value to society. No one cares about how great a product is anymore if they can’t relate to and engage with the brand on an authentic and personable level. They need to trust the brands they engage with, and they need everything to be fast. 

5 reasons to use interactive videos in the film industry

With Bandersnatch in mind, here are five simple reasons why interactive content works for the entertainment industry and how it can perform wonders for you too!

Increased Participation

Interactive videos within entertainment and film give viewers the power of choice. Did you watch Bandersnatch? Do you remember the power you felt while making the decisions that directly affected the narrative? That directly affected the character’s lives. That sense of authority and control is an incredible tool. 

People love to have control. They love to play an active role in the things that they’re consuming, purchases they’re making and the choices they make each and every day. It can’t just be about the transaction anymore, we’ve evolved way beyond the simplicity of a simple transaction to something more, so customer’s and viewers need more engagement to be able to engage with something meaningfully. 

Everything that you do with a consumer needs to be a conversation. It needs to be a two-way street. Striking up this conversation and allowing people more control over the content they watch could be the difference between the failure or success of a motion picture or TV show, as it is with many other industries at present. 

Listening to what people want and allowing them to become part of a narrative and conversation appeals to the instincts we’ve developed that make us want to be a part of something. We want to belong. We want to engage and actively participate in things to feel as though we have control and can make a difference to our surroundings. 

Interactive video does this beautifully. It fits into the need to participate because it allows people to become a part of the story. It lets them control what they see, feel and experience more than a linear video ever could. They feel more enriched and like they’ve achieved something while also being entertained. 

Increased Engagement

Even in 2016, there was an agreement throughout the marketing industry that interactive content was much more engaging than static content. In fact, it was over 80% of marketers in North America who agreed with this statement. They believed that the very nature on interactive content makes it more likely to hold a viewer’s attention and increase engagement. 

But what exactly is it that causes this increase in engagement? What makes people stand up and pay attention to what’s going on? Well, it’s the ability to directly interact with the content and essentially create interactive content themselves. The very act of choosing between two option in Bandersnatch allows viewers to create their own story. What happens next in the film depends on the actions that the viewer themselves take, meaning that they are creating their own narrative using the template of those who wrote the branching interactive video.  Being in control of a narrative makes people more inclined to remain engaged with the content. They watch for longer, pay more attention and enjoy it more. 

The engagement principle of interactive video was directly tested and proven by Honda in an interactive video campaign released for a new Civic R model car. In the video, viewers switched between two parallel realities depicted a father picking up his children or a man acting as a getaway driver. The video saw thousands of people stick around for whole duration, with some even watching more than once to experience the excitement again. Within the automotive industry, this was almost unheard of before the introduction of interactive videos such as the one from Honda. 

Missing out on the interactivity that videos can provide can mean that you miss the boat when it comes to attracting more viewers and engaging them enough to have them stick around for the duration, something that’s becoming more and more important as we see film running times increase on average each year. 

Increased Knowledge

Here’s another fact: Interactive content helps attain - and give - knowledge. You gain some invaluable insights into the user’s psyche and preferences while getting them acquainted with your product or service in a fun way.

There’s another reason to use interactive video that a lot of people outside of the marketing world may not think of. Interactive videos have the potential to provide you with a wealth of information about your customers and viewers. You can gain insight into how their minds work, how they think, what they like and what actions they take under certain circumstances. 

These insights can help you to build better, more engaging brands that appeal to more people in your target demographic. They can help you produce more and more content that will appeal to the people that you’re trying to reach. They can even help you to break into new avenues of genre-defying innovations and gain viewers of demographics you’d long given up on. 

The interactive content world offers marketers so much potential information about customers/ For instance, the Bandersnatch options included what music Stefan should listen to, which cereal he should eat and a whole host of other options that delve deep into the darkest corners into the viewers minds. 

These insights offer more potential than any other medium that came before them. No longer do you have to rely on Google analytics, track their movements around the web or simply have them fill out a form or take a questionnaire, all of which are known to never be all that accurate. You now have a sea of information waiting to be tapped into and used for the greater good of your brand. 

Increased Attention

Similar to the increase in engagement that interactive video offers, it also ensures that viewers actually pay attention for longer. It’s well known that most internet videos of a linear nature only get watched for a few seconds, with shows and films doing better than this but still suffering from an attention retention issue. 

Essentially, you only have a few minutes to pique a viewers interest, and with different people being into different things, an a whole host of reasons why they may be different moods or frames of mind during their attempt to watch you content, interactive video does it’s part to help solve the issue. 

Interactive video bridges the gap between the millennials and generation Z’s short attention span and the brands’ need to make them listen, watch or otherwise pay attention for long enough to enjoy something. It gives an immediate sense of anticipation because they know they’ll have to do something, so they’ll pay attention more closely and won’t be passively watching anymore. 

Increased Revenue

All of these things, from increased engagement to increased information, lead to an overall increase in revenue and profit for companies who employ interactive tactics. Getting more people involved for longer means you can sell more, and the better a piece of content is the more people will be willing to pay for it. 

Pirating is done primarily because people don’t see the content they’re downloading has having the monetary value attached to it, but by using interactive video brands can hope to increase the value that customers place on their content, meaning they’ll be more inclined to pay for it, and more inclined to continue spending money on the brand. 


With over 20 years passing since Bill Gate’s stated that “Content is King”, times have changed dramatically. Fast paced and with new trends overtaking others at an incredible pace means that there has never really been any one thing that’s stuck around for long enough to wear the content crown, until interactive video. 

With limitless possibilities and a whole host of evidence and anecdotal success already under its belt, interactive video is the most engaging way to reach people. It has so many aspects to it that make it better than linear video and almost any other kind of content combines. 

People want to have an active participation in their content. They want to feel like they’re a part of the story, that they can influence and have their say. They want things to be more personalised than ever before and attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. 

Interactive video is the outright king, queen, bishop and whole royal court of content, and the film industry should be utilising it to its fullest potential. 

Markets are saturated with content, so you need something special. Something that stands out. Something can be truly original. Something interactive. 

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