After Bird Box, Netflix’s next-most-buzzworthy movie was Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, a choose-your-own-adventure-style thriller that follows the main character, Stefan, as he attempts to design a video game of the same title. Meta, right?
But beyond the novelty of the gimmick itself is a massive marketing opportunity for Netflix to discover its users’ real-life preferences beyond their most “recently watched.”
‘Because you chose Frosties…’
The Verge points out that this seemingly inconsequential cereal choice at the beginning of Bandersnatch presents a massive opportunity: Programmatic product placement.
That’s right, the days of clunky Coca-Cola plugs may soon be replaced with clunky [INSERT BEVERAGE OF CHOICE] plugs — and earn Netflix valuable advertising insight that it could offer brands prior to production.
It also paves the way for tailor-made content
Netflix has already mastered the “microgenre,” and now user choices in interactive narratives could reveal viewer preferences and guide future productions (maybe 18-25-year-olds prefer more bloodshed, maybe baby boomers want romance, etc.).
It’s like a screen test on steroids: Asking viewers what they want to watch (be it a slasher or a romcom) and delivering their choice in real time. As TV enters uncharted territory, Netflix will determine which direction interactive content goes.