YouTube is looking to expand the types of original content it produces to include choose-your-own-adventure style programs. According to a Bloomberg report, the Google-owned company will develop interactive content similar to Netflix’s hit under the leadership of Ben Relles. Previously the head of unscripted programming, Relles has been with YouTube for eight years but has just begun in his new role.
Since the plan is in its infancy, there’s no word on what types of interactive content we could see from YouTube yet. The company has experimented with interactive advertising but has yet to introduce viewer choice into its original programming. It could be a while before we see a choose-your-own-adventure creation from YouTube because this type of content, with multiple different options and endings, takes more time, effort, and money to produce than regular original programming.
Reportedly, YouTube’s looking to bolster its original content offerings and increase ad sales by making interactive content. It’s also hoping to get on the same playing field as some of its competition. Netflix’s event , which launched at the end of 2018, was such a huge success that the company plans on developing more interactive TV series. Walmart may even get into the mix soon, as it has invested $250 million in a “joint venture” with Eko, a company that makes interactive content.
YouTube has been struggling in the SVOD space in comparison to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and other competitors. Most of its original content lies behind YouTube Premium’s $11.99-per-month paywall, which provides an ad-free viewing experience across the entirety of YouTube’s site, access to YouTube Music and original content, as well as some other perks. But aside from the generally successful series, YouTube’s hasn’t produced a hit movie or series akin to Netflix’s , Hulu’s , or Amazon’s .
YouTube has even cancelled a couple of its original shows as of late. However, the company has publicly squashed rumors that it will abandon scripted content in general. At the end of last year, reports suggested that YouTube may eventually make its originals ad-supported for non-Premium users. The company is trying to figure out the right balance of paid and free programming, and it’s considering where and how to offer such content to its customers.
YouTube is expected to announce new content at its annual spring event next month.