Netflix’s Bandersnatch has proven so popular with viewers that it may have now prompted Google to try out interactive TV, with plans reportedly underway to bring Choose Your Own Adventure style shows to the search giant's own streaming platform.
According to Bloomberg (opens in new tab), Google is setting up a new unit within YouTube to develop original interactive shows to compete with Netflix.
The unit will also work on producing live specials for the video platform, and will be headed by Ben Relles, who was formerly YouTube’s head of unscripted programming.
As recently as November 2018, the The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) revealed that YouTube intends to scale back on original scripted content starting in 2020. At the time, it was reported that the video platform’s head of original programming, Susanne Daniels, had already begun informing creative partners of the decision, which some claimed was due to "a serious budget reduction".
That decision seems to have been at least partly rescinded. "We now have amazing new tools and opportunities to create and tell multilayered and interactive stories," Daniels told Bloomberg. "Ben has an intuitive and experienced understanding of how the platform can enhance content, making him the perfect choice to develop this exciting new division."
According to Bloomberg, YouTube is still looking into developing original content, having bought projects from producers, and will announce a new slate of original shows at an event in New York next month.