The Hustle

‘Sugar Puffs or Frosties?’ How Netflix’s bet on interactive TV could pay off

Beyond the novelty of gimmick itself is massive marketing potential for Netflix to discover its users’ real-life preferences beyond their most “recently watched.”


January 3, 2019

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.

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