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Bandersnatch: The beginning of a new genre?

Technological progress within the film industry has brought new proposals that have totally changed the way we consume movies and series. Today we have Carla Pizano as a guest on our blog, a brand-building consultant who has a particular interest in understanding the connections that humans create with the objects/experiences they consume, to write about the new Netflix´s film Bandersnatch which has generated a big discussion.

While The Bird Box became a controversial success of presumably 45 million views in its first week, Netflix launched the new season of Black Mirror with the interactive episode Bandersnatch, a first glimpse of what could become a new streaming genre.

The Bird Box has just the perfect elements to be a hit: celebrities as the principal role and a great marketing campaign. The episode even generated its own #thebirdboxchallenge on social media that went out of control at that level that Netflix had to ask people to stop it. On the other hand, Bandersnatch just arrived as an exploration of interactive content in the Black Mirrors very well known, sarcastic, dark humor.

Even though the genre of “Choose your own ending” is not new, Bandersnatch is the first project of its kind among the streaming platforms and could be the beginning of a new genre to explore the edge between video games and series.

The chapter has 5 endings that depend on the decisions you make throughout the episode. However, the film is clearly not for everyone as critics have shown polarized opinions, from ones that didn’t understand the purpose or found it irrelevant to the ones that had too many expectations on it and the result felt short.

The concept of interaction tackles the passivity that conventional television brings, where one can just sit and enjoy (or dislike) a finalized piece with one single outcome. However, for many people, including the new generations, this new genre brings a creative, and an unusual proposition.

The complexity production of multiple outcomes is a challenge for budget and production times, a splurging for Netflix’s insatiable demand for content. However, the interactive proposition could offer new revenue opportunities for the giant that nowadays generates films mostly by monthly subscription.

The analysis of the information generated by the interaction would allow the development of more certain content and segmentation of an avid audience that devours complete series in a weekend. And, of course, our super personalized content feed would lead us to socialize even less. Far behind would be the pre-Netflix times in which we would organize Game of Thrones Sundays among friends accompanied by pizzas, theories, and laughs… the nostalgia of the millennials or at least the older ones.

But is not just about a more personalized content feed or assertive new productions, it would also attract creative advertising as a new business model for Netflix, such as when in Bandersnatch you have to decide whether the main character consumes one brand of cereal or another. All this beauty contributing to the big data sophistication and its use or abuse, or, thinking as in Black Mirror we could even be monitored according to our “happier” or “more violent” choices triggering alerts of high-risk profiles and his consequent hunt.

Or maybe we just expect a future where we will only view what “most people want to see” and end-less new stupid #____challenges to follow. Well, at least we could have a happy ending where we would go to the cinema in search of a scape from the personalized-couch-loneliness, seeking an already much-needed social interaction and human contact.

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