An existential crisis is facing linear TV.

A mass migration of viewers to digital platforms has seen a range of new players enter the market. All of them are competing fiercely for audience loyalty.

“The real measurement will be time,” said Reid Hastings, CEO of Netflix in November. “How do viewers vote with their evenings?”

The streaming wars have catalysed innovation. Now, to keep pace, content providers must go beyond just streaming traditional content formats. The onus is on them to create more varied, interesting and complex content to stand out.

Netflix responded to this market shift by releasing a slate of interactive specials, including Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Its success was unprecedented.

By winning the Emmy for Outstanding TV movie, Bandersnatch thrust interactive stories into the mainstream. It also pricked the ears of writers and producers across the globe.

And aside from the film’s overwhelming popularity, there was a wider recognition of the unique potential of interactive stories. That potential, as one Guardian columnist put it, is to “upend everything we rely on for entertainment and sanity”.

Producing interactive stories

Following Bandersnatch, Netflix has produced a steady pipeline of interactive factual, comedy and animation projects with major producers like DreamWorks. Their new Captain Underpants: Choice-o-Rama movie, for example, launched this month.

But how did the platform and their partners execute this? And how can other players in the space reap the benefits of this emerging form of digital content?

The answer to both of these questions is: “with great difficulty”.

Brooker lamented that making Bandersnatch “was like doing a Rubik’s cube inside your brain. There aren’t any tools aimed at creatives who are used to writing scripts.”

It’s clearly not sustainable for content creation to be as complex as it was for Brooker. Yet within the current production toolset, a simple, streamlined process has not been possible.

Because so many platforms need content to be compliant with their technology and standards, interactive innovation is still restricted. Combined with a lack of compatibility with professional broadcast workflows, in many cases, it’s completely shut down.

A new type of interactive video making software

This is what makes Stornaway so unique.

Our software empowers creative producers to dream up complex ideas and produce compelling interactive stories quickly and easily, without coding. And it’s backed by decades of experience working in television, digital, film and theatre.

First and foremost, Stornaway lifts the creative burden currently imposed by interactive production. It offers an end-to-end workflow that allows producers and writers to visually map out, script, and test ideas collaboratively.

What’s more, production teams can easily see all choices and narrative paths in the scripts they’ll need to film. The same goes for post-production, where editors can quickly export playable, interactive cuts for review by commissioners. Finished playable films can then be simply exported for delivery anywhere.

Stornaway’s features remove the blockers that stand in the way of a huge new wave of content. It allows producers, broadcasters and streamers to plan, produce and publish their interactive stories at scale and without coding.

Amid this existential crisis, is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

See how you could unlock your interactive potential by filling out our contact form

Rupert Howe

Author Rupert Howe

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